By Tom Toperczer, Nefsis
When new employees join a company, training is one of the crucial components to ensuring each individual is successful in their new role. It’s also important to nurture the employee, as a single employee’s successes ultimately can lead to ROI for an organization. In tandem, training for customers also plays a vital role in ensuring others understand how to properly use specific products. Nowhere is this more evident than in pharmaceutical and drug companies. Proper administration of equipment provides the necessary results for the vendor, the customer, and ultimately the end-user.
What happens when your business depends on in-classroom training, but scalability is halted due to travel budgets? How are you able to reconcile controlled travel expenses with personalized training, while still focusing on corporate growth? Let’s look at how Alpha Pro Solutions, a provider of Breathalyzer, alcohol-screening devices, and department of transportation-approved supplies, tackled this problem head on.
Headquartered in St. Petersburg, FL, Alpha Pro Solutions helps its customers foster a drug-free workplace through its products and services, which include training programs on product use. Alpha Pro has spent years conducting onsite classroom training, and according to CEO Tammy Koeppen, customers rely on the company for personal training. “But we hit a growth spurt a few years ago and started noticing the increasing bite that travel costs were taking out of profits.” With training a key focus and core value for the company, Alpha Pro started seeking alternative ways to continue to provide the level of service to its customers, while managing travel expenses.
Core Value: Training-Focused Business
From the company’s inception, Alpha Pro has put its customers first, working directly with them to provide hands-on education of its services. The company realized two main advantages of this personal, face-to-face training:
The customized face-to-face training and personal care of Alpha Pro’s consultants became the golden standard for the company, but also presented a challenge. It quickly became clear that limitations with budgets and logistics provided an obstacle. Customers started to worry about supervisors being away from operations during the training, and scheduling enough classrooms to accommodate everyone’s schedule became difficult.
Alpha Pro’s executive staff soon realized the overarching challenge with its successful business and what they needed to do: reduce travel expenses, maintain its industry standard, provide real-time training, and continue to please customers.
The Search for a Resolution
CEOKoeppen started researching videoconferencing solutions, seeking a service that was easy to implement, powerful, and focused on collaboration, which was necessary for the in-depth training conducted by Alpha Pro consultants. Koeppen made a list of the four key elements she would evaluate in her videoconferencing search.
Ease of use: The solution should have an intuitive user interface that is familiar to both new clients and the training team and is designed around a natural online meeting process, meaning clicking a single Web link and minimizing obstacles to log on.
Secure accessibility: It needs to stay within the bounds of IT security policies, as Alpha Pro works with businesses of all sizes to provide secure access to external participants, such as customers and business partners behind their own firewalls and proxies. Videoconferencing also needs to be widely accessible and easy to accomplish from desktops, laptops, and conference rooms.
Integrated collaboration tools: Alpha Pro’s training requires sharing a lot of data with participants and easy-to-use, seamlessly integrated live sharing tools are required. Live collaboration should allow multiple parties to annotate, share the keyboard, and otherwise interact with the content being shared to ensure a productive meeting.
HD-quality video: Breathalyzers and other testing products can have minute details that can’t be seen with low-quality video. The video quality can’t suffer as more video participants, active desktop sharing, or other computer-intensive tasks are added.
A Solution Is Materialized
Alpha Pro evaluated both Webconferencing and videoconferencing solutions, and ultimately selected San Diego-based Nefsis, a cloud-based videoconferencing service. For Alpha Pro, Nefsis provided an on-demand service that was easy to use, had a browser-like layout, and Web links that were instantly familiar to every employee and customer. The company’s collaboration features, ideal for the various training sessions run by Alpha Pro, along with its HD-quality output, allowed customers to receive the same high-quality training expected of Alpha Pro. Training sessions benefited from the next-best-thing-to-being-there quality of videoconferencing.
The implementation of Nefsis also allowed Alpha Pro to reduce travel on both sides, effectively eliminating those expenses. Customers could receive the training without travel and they didn’t need to be absent from daily operations. Alpha Pro consultants were able to reduce their travel costs, while also increasing the output of training more clients in less time.
“On the operational expense side, we have saved both time and money by limiting our trainers’ travel. On the revenue side, Alpha Pro has gained new business by offering training through these online meetings and we couldn’t be happier with our selection of Nefsis,” notes Koeppen.
Nefsis’ Tom Toperczer has more than 20 years in the IT industry. He was a co-founder of Webconferencing pioneer Contigo Software and previously held executive and director-level marketing positions with SeminarSource.com, publicly traded Stac Software, and Mountain Network Solutions.