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ROI from eLearning

By Madeleine van Tonder

It is well established that effective IT solutions depend as much on the people running the system as they do on the technology and software. The technology provides the abilities to support the business process, but the final guarantee of the quality of service levels rests with the human component.

With this in mind, companies are turning to ongoing training to ensure that all personnel involved in business and IT systems have the best possible training as a necessary part of the solution. However, this still needs to be cost-effective.

Whether one considers large corporate budgets or the more limited resources of the smaller company, there is one common concern. Prudent budget practices insist that funds should be spent wisely and a meaningful return on investment should be achieved.

Online learning systems offer one of the most efficient training solutions possible, as they place minimal strain on staff resources, adapt readily to flexible schedules and provide a built-in ability to measure learning progress. Combined with elements of the more traditional class approach, companies can provide their staff with ongoing support for skills improvement.

Three major trends can be highlighted:

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The first is support for revenue growth through upselling. With the correct training, agents who deal with customers are able to guide them to make better choices. This depends on the agents’ having a thorough understanding of the products or services available. This creates a situation in which the customer is learning from the agent with whom they are dealing and that guarantees that they become fully engaged in the interaction, with benefits for both parties.
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Learning is also a vital factor in operational cost reduction. Well trained staff waste less time resolving queries and achieve far higher levels of satisfaction with customers. It is also obvious that trained staff members are better motivated, more productive and have high morale and job satisfaction. All these aspects generate savings for the company. Overseas studies show that staff retention improves, eliminating the considerable expenses of hiring new workers.
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Lastly, knowledgeable staff create improvements in customer loyalty. The customers come to depend on the company agents with whom they have contact and recognise their ability to advise and provide efficient service.

With each of these areas contributing to revenue growth, cost saving or customer retention, the returns on effective training systems can be clearly demonstrated. In fact, the proportional return on the right combination of IT systems and related, appropriate training are far greater than those in any other area.

Madeleine van Tonder is MD of Masterskill, a member of the Softline Limited Group. She can be contacted on (+27 11) 783-9575.

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The Big Change is a business strategy blog and newsletter published by Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx, a leading technology research organisation based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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