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Training Impact on support costs in software companies

In your company, nowadays the business requires update or create software(s). Moreover, the business expects the support (internal or external) to help them. And that is a cost that most companies usually do not take into account: it is part of their IT department or to the vendor’s package.

Once the changes have been implemented, different factors reveal the support as a must. That is where the costly useless nightmare generally starts.

–       First, how does the support, usually dedicated to hardware, help the business?

–       Second, are the teams willing to change their habits to finally use 100% of the ‘new’ software capabilities?

We all have experienced a short deadline and something going wrong, out of our control, and calling for hours the support…. for no satisfying reply. As the Murphy’s law works, it is Friday and the report has to be sent yesterday! How many times have you called the helpdesk, to be answered by the good willing support staff doesn’t have any clue, or will come back to you in a couple of hours. Most of the companies have resolved the problem by providing a very complete user guide and help online. Done once and for all. But usually not updated. Even more, the company you’re working in has paid and organised a training six months before you have been hired. What a shame, the training was also done once and for all. Now, your turn to come through the situation.

This last aspect is reinforced by the high Singapore turnover of staff. What does happened to the new comer? She/He will have to read the 100 pages manual stored on the common drive in *.pdf …. hiding her/his joy! Good luck to understand it.

The second issue, the lack of willing to change, is usually solved by the fact that the idea comes from the business. However,  what about the acceptance of the changes and the efficient usage? We, in Simple + Smart, think that training, user guides and learning processes have to be sold to the teams! We believe that learning is a marketing process: we show and convince the teams how to use the new software at its full capacity.

So to resume the whole support cost situation, we should all consider that to measure it, and most of the time to lower it, is to tailor a user friendly specific user guide.  Often austere, too technical and old fashioned, user guides can be design and though to be part of the global strategy to make the team accept the changes. More important, is that by providing a good experience, the users are not reluctant to open the so called manual. We haven’t discuss the interactive and multi-media support that is provided, but that is another subject. We just want to show you how simply a company can easily lower their support cost and ensure a win-win situation.

What do you think? Share your comments and points of view.

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