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Web-Based Learning Management Systems Deployed in Customer Support Settings

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By David Boggs, CEO of SyberWorks

In many respects, e-learning has matured as a technology and industry. Today we will look at how web-based learning management systems can and are being used as part of the customer support function in a company or organization.

What is a learning management system?

Learning management systems (LMSs) are web-based software application platforms used to plan, implement, and assess learning processes related to online and offline training administration and performance management. LMSs provide an instructor a way in which to create and deliver content, monitor learners' participation, and assess student performance. They also provide learners with the ability to use interactive features such as threaded discussions, web conferencing, discussion forums, and other methods of communication.

Where and why are learning management systems being used in customer support settings?

LMSs are being used in business-to-business, high process, value added, and technology-oriented business environments in industries like telecommunications, advanced electronic technology, semiconductor manufacturing, insurance, banking, medical products manufacturing, and others. Learning management systems are being used in customer support settings because they can be a cost-effective solution to providing customer and performance support for a company's products and services.

Why is it cost-effective to use an LMS for your company's customer support operation?

Learning management systems can be used to create a library of custom online courses that demonstrate how to use your company's products and services. The course can be updated at will, so you're not paying every three months to print new product guides and support manuals.

LMSs can be used to track and monitor your customers, instead of using a bunch of spreadsheets. This is very effective in scenarios where customers must be certified in order to use your products and services. The learning management system can be set up to notify a user when their certification is set to expire using an email tickler so they can recertify on your product.

What other features in learning management systems can be used for the customer support function?

A good LMS comes with a help desk feature that can be used for 24/7 customer support. Learning management systems can have integrated web conferencing technology which can be used in a number of ways to support customers such as synchronous training used in product implementation; a web conference on a new feature set that can be archived for later viewing; actual, on-the-spot tech-support using the “share your desktop” feature so your tech can go in and fix any problems necessary; and more.

LMSs can have a built in survey tool that allows you to query your customers with the results stored in the learning management systems database for later use. Learning management systems can have a single sign-on/e-commerce registration feature that can be used to sell add-on features. They also may have events management/seminar logistics add-on application that can help you manage both your off-site and onsite customer support training, and much more.

A company can realize effective resource planning and substantial cost savings by using learning management systems in customer support settings. Even greater gains in productivity and cost savings can be achieved using a learning management system in hosted business model environment. The virtual customer support campus is created to have the same look and feel as the company's web site. Since the customer support campus is hosted and maintained on the learning management systems providers' servers, the company only pays for set-up, its level of desired functionality, and usage. In conclusion, web-based learning management systems can be a very useful, cost effective way to manage a company's customer support function.

About the Author:

Dave Boggs is the founder and CEO of SyberWorks, Inc (www.syberworks.com). He has been involved with computer-based and web-based training for more than twelve years. Before founding SyberWorks, Dave was the VP of Sales and Business Development for Relational Courseware. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Union College in Schenectady, NY, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.

The Boggs e-Learning Chronicle Blog & The Online Training Content Journal

Dave Boggs writes two web blogs: the Boggs e-Learning Chronicle RSS feed about Trends, Observations, and Information in e-Learning, which reports on trends, provides observations, and information about e-Learning and web-based training; and the Online Training Content Journal RSS feed about Trends, Observations, and Information in e-Learning which looks at best practices, techniques, and trends in online training development and e-Learning instructional design..

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