Increasing Service Value and Customer Reliance with Custom Training

Part 4 in the blog series “The Business Case for MSPs Offering Employee Training and Enablement”

As your customers grow and begin needing to provide training to their employees, an unexpected opportunity arises that may give entrée to a whole other aspect of your services.

Throughout the entire time an employee works at any company there is a continual need to train employees. From the day they arrive, your customers want to ensure their employees have everything they need to be successful—and that often includes training specific to the company. Some common examples of where training is used are the following:

  • Employee Onboarding – This includes everything from initial orientation (which can revolve around company history and culture), to HR issues (e.g., payroll, time off, etc.), to their role and team members, and to what their future can look like within the organization.
  • Compliance Training – This can include both company policies (e.g., code of conduct, acceptable computer use, social media, etc.) and external regulations (e.g., industry-specific laws, GDPR, etc.) that employees need to adhere to. 
  • OTJ Training – This includes specific processes (that may change over time) to help the employee understand how to be most productive in their role. 
  • Application-Specific Training – This includes any training on applications, systems, and platforms, the employee is expected to use as part of their role. This training can come in the form of both initial training, as well as contextual “how to” instruction to address a specific need. 
  • Reskilling & Upskilling – This includes any training designed to expand their current skill set or teach them skills not currently held, usually as part of preparing for or in response to growing their role within the organization. 

It’s logical that your customers who are intent on building out an employee experience through ongoing training have a need for a training platform that allows them to create, deliver, and track custom employee training. Since you’re in charge of all your customer’s technology, the opportunity exists to actually offer this service rather than just be responsible to maintain a third-party solution. 

You Do(n’t) Want to Be in the Custom Training Business

It’s a reasonable assumption that MSPs aren’t wanting to be responsible for training, but the right training platform with the needed features can allow you to make a Custom Training service offering as self-service by the customer as you want. The right platform should the following core capabilities:

  • MSP-Centric Design – As with any solution you use, this should be a multi-tenant solution with an ability to allow either the MSP or the customer to manage the custom content. 
  • Channels of Learning – Designed to align with the specific needs of an employee based on whether they’ve just started, their role in the organization, etc., these channels help to organize segments of learning that may or may not apply to a given employee. 
  • Multiple Media Support – Just like you, your customers aren’t training masters either. The right platform supports training that comes in expected forms your customer is familiar with such as slide presentations, Word documents, PDFs, video, and even links to existing training elsewhere on the web.
  • Delegation – You want to be able to give, say, the head of HR the ability to take over every aspect of that customer’s training. That way, the ongoing management of the content is all self-service by the customer. 
  • Assignment – Not every employee needs to take (nor see) every bit of training available.  Being able to assign training to specific employees ensures each one only has what they need to be successful.
  • Reporting – Your customer will want to know who has taken training, where they are in the courses, whether they’ve passed any quizzes, etc. in order to assess how successful the training is. 

When you consider having a platform with these features, it becomes evident that you don’t need to be in the business of training day in and day out. 

Will Your Customers Want This Kind of Service Offering?

Even your smallest customers could benefit from some form of custom training; take the example of just a 10-person company.  If nothing else, they could build out courses that are merely links to how-to videos from the websites of the applications they most rely on so that everyone impacted within the company has easy and fast access to related training.

Your larger customers who are thinking more about HR issues will want onboarding. They’ll also be concerned about employee retention—93% of them already are, according to LinkedIn’s 2023 Workplace Learning Report—something, at least in part, addressed through employees learning and growing within their company. Employees themselves rank “opportunities to learn and develop new skills” and “opportunities for career growth in the company” as two of the five most important factors when considering a new job. 

As each of these companies grow, having the ability to create or curate training easily will become a toolset that is embedded within the business’s daily operations. 

How Does This Benefit the MSP?

There are a few apparent ways offering Custom Training to your customers benefits your business as well. These include:

It Can Be Completely Self-Service

Leveraging delegation and support for common types of content to build out training can be a service offering that is largely hands-off for the MSP.

It Can Generate Project-Based Revenue

If you’re wanting to, there’s also an opportunity where customers want you to help create, curate, and organize their training.

Can Decrease Your Costs

There are a number of ways you can implement custom training to more cost-effectively help your customers. For example, you also create your own onboarding training for customers to help set expectations, explain how reporting and reviews work, etc. You can build out training on how to engage with the helpdesk, open tickets, check the status, etc. And, there’s nothing that says you can’t create your own training to help customer employees avoid or address the most common issues, thereby lowering the number of calls to the helpdesk. In general, if there’s some sort of education that needs to take place time and time again, it’s probably worth creating custom training so that you make a single investment of time and reap the benefits of using the training over and over again, which lowers your cost of onboarding and supporting customers. 

Increases Customer Reliance

This is one of the most important benefits. When the customer has built out training for their employees and an established process that every employee follows, the platform on which the training is built is something the customer won’t easily be able to change out. Since you’re the one providing and managing the platform, there’s an implied reliance on your business, which helps improve your “stickiness” with the customer. 

Goes Beyond Just Custom Training

If the discussion was whether to only offer Custom Training or not, it’s probably a very likely “no thanks.” But when considered as part of a larger service offering that uses an Employee Training and Enablement platform that includes other types of training (such as Security Awareness Training or Microsoft 365 User Training), the idea of offering multiple kinds of training—of which includes custom training—it becomes clearer how training becomes a necessary part of your business.

In the next blog in this series, “The Business Case for MSPs Offering Employee Training and Enablement,” we’ll focus on how offering Compliance and Policy Management will further increase your customers’ reliance on your business while assisting them in centralizing the communication and attestation of internal and externally based policies.

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