Why Your Employees Need Less Product Training, Not More
As a corporate trainer, I hear this story all the time.
If you have ever been involved in a SaaS purchase and implementation, you can probably recall this scenario with perfect clarity. Throughout the sales journey, your salesperson repeatedly described how “user friendly” and intuitive the product is for the end-user. Then you are presented with the implementation plan…and boom…there it is: 30 hours of product training to get your employees up to speed on the new software. The vendor’s implementations team is probably puffing up their chest, proud of the fact they are providing this many hours of training. You may have even felt this was comforting, I mean how can you not know everything after 30 hours?
You signed the deal, and then informed your team – your employees, the actual users of the software, who were most likely not involved in the purchasing decision. You see the frustration in their faces when you tell them they need 30 hours of product training to get up to speed. They know that they aren’t getting a break from their full time job while you test and learn the new software. That training needs to happen while work processes continue uninterrupted. Your “user friendly” product just cost your company a full week of productivity, a lot of money, and your team that isn’t happy with the change.
You’re probably wondering why it takes so long to complete product training for user-friendly software. The key to this problem lies in the word “user.” User Experience (UX) is a crucial part of any product development. Products that are truly user friendly have product features and designs/layouts are created to help make the product better, easier, faster and more intuitive for real customers who will use it in real-world situations. Most products, however, only claim to have a great user experience, and in reality, are designed by engineers who have no real-world experience. They don’t speak to customers, they don’t see how the products are used in the field, and they design features where looks matter more than functionality.
As a training guy, I would love to put all the credit for an effective training process on the shoulders of our customer training team, but I can’t. My team and I have been training our customers’ employees for more than 5 years here at Billtrust and one thing that reduces the training time of our Billtrust products, aside from the fact that our training team is effective and well-versed, is the quality of work our UX team infuses into each product. When our UX team designs and builds any product, they have you, the end user, in mind. This frame of mind helps to make our products easier to use, resulting in less time required for implementation training.
When your UX team is top notch, the training team’s job becomes much easier. That 30 hours of product training, which covers every head scratching piece of functionality, can be cut down to a few hours. Now our trainers can focus on using the software to help solve your specific needs and drive user adoption. The implementation time should be spent with your project manager on how your new tools integrate with your current software and processes; not on training every piece of functionality that you may never use. Software needs to be intuitive if you really want your team to embrace it. Think about it – when you signed up for Facebook or LinkedIn, did you read the user guide to make your first post? Did you have to take a training class before you sent your first tweet on Twitter?
I share this story to help every decision-maker at any organization make smarter choices in the future. As a corporate trainer, I can tell you that from a business standpoint, less training means you’re actually getting a better quality product.
Mike Wolset | Manager, Training and Talent Development