Buying Your Next LMS: 5 Types Of LMS Support Services To Consider

Buying Your Next LMS: 5 Types Of LMS Support Services To Consider
Summary: Solid, dependable support is as important to the success of your LMS as the design features or content management. Does your new LMS vendor get it right? In this article, I’ll highlight 5 types of LMS support services to consider when buying your next LMS.

5 Types Of LMS Support Services To Consider When Buying Your Next LMS

Too often, support is treated as an additional cost in your new LMS contract; something to be negotiated, minimized, deducted. Are you so confident in your LMS that you know you won’t have any problems? That your L&D team will be able to manage all the features perfectly? That reports will extract exactly as expected? That interactions with other systems will be smooth? Unfortunately, that’s unlikely. You’re going to need to invest in some degree of LMS support services, and the level you’ll need will depend on your L&D team’s experience and organizational objectives.

Some Tips On Selecting The Right LMS Vendor For Your Support Needs

When evaluating LMS vendors, spend time online reading reviews from customers of a similar size and market to yours. If they’re happy with the customer experience they’re getting, then the likelihood is that you will be too. Also, look into the scope of the support offered. Are end users supported for password resets, access, and functionality issues? Are administrative users supported sufficiently? Are coding and database issues covered? Think about what you’ll need based on your learning environment, then look to replicate that support base with your supplier.

Does the LMS vendor offer KPIs for support? How are requests tracked and progressed? How many hours of support are available as standard? Is the relationship between the customer and the support team managed effectively? Selecting an LMS supplier is complex, with technical considerations alongside cost and support questions. You’ll get a good feel for your LMS supplier if they are able to answer your questions about support. They should also be open to working with you to get it right during the contract phase.

Types Of LMS Support Services You’ll Encounter When Choosing An LMS

You might be offered a combination of several different LMS support services, and all will probably be dependent on the cost you’re willing to pay. Some companies are forward-thinking and recognize that great customer support is an incredible differentiator. Those LMS companies will offer you top service, as part of the overall license or subscription cost. Here are 5 types of LMS support services to consider when it’s time to make your final buying decision.

1. Online Forums

Generally found alongside open-source Learning Management Systems, online forums are a valuable resource for researching and answering your queries. They can be unreliable, though, particularly if other users haven’t encountered the same issues as you, or if the forum is inactive. There can also be a long lag time between posting your queries and finding the answer. The exception is larger online user forums or dedicated social media groups moderated by the LMS vendor. For example, they have a support team who addresses any questions or concerns left unanswered by other users.

2. Live Chat

If your LMS supplier offers a live chat functionality, that means they will generally be online 24/7 as they’ll provide a “follow the sun” support structure. Live chat is fantastic for simpler issues, such as access or password reset issues. Support staff can also send links to additional resources that can help, such as troubleshooting guides or screenshots. Don’t hesitate to ask the LMS vendor about who fields the live chat requests and the range of issues they handle. For instance, how experienced are the online reps? How long are the usual wait times? And are there protocols in place for problems that require further assistance?

3. Phone/Email Support

Reaching out via phone or email is the traditional support mechanics. Some LMS vendors offer round-the-clock phone support, while others limit it to local business hours. Generally, out-of-hours support is more expensive. This type of support is best for involved issues that may require follow-up. For instance, you’re unable to upload new users or migrate your data. Once again, inquire about the experience level, expertise, and skills of the phone support staff, as well as how long it generally takes to receive a response via email. In fact, you may want to test out this support service during the LMS free trial to experience it firsthand.

4. FAQ/Knowledgebase Support

Similar to online forums, this support option involves finding your own answer within a knowledge base or FAQ. Most LMS vendors provide it free of charge or for a nominal fee. It also usually comes with a time lag and the risk that you won’t find the information you are looking for. In some cases, LMS companies invite users to submit their own tutorials or troubleshooting tips to add to the library.

5. Dedicated Account Manager

Most larger organizations require a dedicated account manager to review support statistics and look to make improvements. This is generally an established timescale, such as quarterly. This type of support allows you to work together to reduce the number and type of issues being encountered.

LMS support services shouldn’t be an afterthought, nor a cost to be cut. However, your company structure will dictate the kind of support that you need. If you have an integrated IT-HR support team, this will impact the type of support you’ll need. You’ll be able to deal with a lot of network/database issues in-house. However, you may want to focus on end-user support, such as access or functionality. If you’re a smaller company with limited experience in Learning Management Systems, you may need more dedicated support. Whatever your needs, make sure support is a focus of your selection and contract discussions. The best LMS customer experience can only come from support throughout implementation, and beyond.

What are the warning signs that you should look for in your current LMS before deciding to buy a new one? Are your top LMS choices going to deliver the superior customer experience you deserve? Read the free eBook LMS Customer Experience: How To Find A Platform That Offers The Complete Package and discover why LMS Customer Experience really matters, the benefits of delivering a Superior CX for your organization, and how to set your LMS expectations before purchasing a new platform.