LMS Support: Has the vendor got your back?

LMS Support: Has the vendor got your back?

Support and services form the backbone of any good LMS implementation and help in delivering continuous customer satisfaction. Customer support is especially important where quality is not optional but a must. The lack of good support (includes the personnel, processes, product know-how etc.) leads to stalled training programs and untrained learners and in the end, dissatisfied customers.

To ensure that the LMS support received is second to none, exclusive customer support, where the LMS vendor's support representatives work with you side-by-side to help you get the most out of the LMS, is crucial.

Below are some key areas that form a part of a robust LMS Support and Services system:

1. 24X7 Support

Learning is not bound by time. So shouldn't support. The primary purpose of an LMS is to allow learners to learn anytime from any place at their own pace. With organizations having users  dispersed across the globe; each working and accessing the LMS at different times in a day, in different time zones and different work days of the week, it is important to have an LMS support team that is always available to answer their queries and ensure uninterrupted learning.

2. End User Support – Email and Phone

The LMS vendor, being the owner of the Learning Management System, has better knowledge and technical skills to resolve the end user queries as compared to the client side’s administrator. A Level 1 or Level 2 support (which includes providing support to a single point of contact at the client side and that person, in turn, providing support to the end user) is important for improving the turnaround time and ensuring timely resolution of queries or issues.

Another advantage of having end user support is that the client doesn’t need to invest in a dedicated person to manage the LMS.

3. Dedicated and Onsite Support for the Client

Technology can be tricky; sometimes calling for onsite help rather than a remote one. Other times it's the sensitive nature of the client's processes/data that requires the LMS team to be based at the client side. Having a co-located team reduces the communication barriers and increases the level of confidence in the client.

Even if onsite assistance is not needed, a dedicated support team lends better control to clients enabling them to set priorities and sequence tickets as per their requirement.

4. Administration Services

For organizations without a dedicated L&D team, performing the day-to-day LMS activities like user enrollment, content creation and distribution based on some rules, sending out regular customized reports, conducting surveys, monitoring the usage of the system, etc. can be cumbersome. Administration Services offered by the LMS vendor help in reducing the client's involvement in these activities thereby allowing them to focus on their core business.

5. Strong Escalation Matrix and SLAs

Service Level Agreement (SLA) ensures that the client receives the quality that has been agreed upon along with uninterrupted services. SLAs outline each party's responsibilities in the event of a problem and defines how the vendor classifies and resolves it. Either party should be flexible enough to amend the SLA if the need be.

A good SLA has, at a minimum, the following characteristics:

  1. Clearly spelled-out service days and hours, and contact information
  2. Clearly defined problem severity levels
  3. Response and resolution time targets for each severity level (along with a clearly defined action path when a time target is missed)
  4. How problems are "escalated" to personnel with higher levels of expertise

For hosted solutions, SLAs should also include information about uptime guarantees etc. The LMS vendor and the client should succinctly define the SLAs based on their individual expectations which they can adhere to.