Just some thoughts that puzzle me on why some LMS/LCMS vendors (okay over 98% of them) are still in some time warp from the Eighties when it comes time to enhance their services and technological solutions. Here are some gems they just fail to grasp:
FREE CUSTOMER SERVICE AND TECH SUPPORT
- I know its a novel idea. I mean yeah, you – the customer are paying thousands of dollars for their product and are expecting a product that is supposed to work 100% of the time, and if not, you expect it to be fixed in a reasonable time (with them stating it with a estimated time) Plus, you expect to be able to call tech support and have them help you with any bugs or issues that arise, OR any challenges you are facing technical related. You (your administrator or yourself and NOT your end users).
Why do vendors refuse to do this? Besides the obvious — $$$$$, I see no other reason. I mean to irritate us that is another reason. I love their arguments:
- Well, if you have a tech or customer service problem just go to your PM or sales rep. – Why do I want to always have to bother them? I mean yes, I would go to my PM- for escalated issues (but only after your tech support/customer service didn’t help or assist me). I should be able, or my administrator should be able to call your tech support or customer service, depending on the issue (tech or non-tech) and get an answer – otherwise, why should you as the vendor have those staffs?
- Well, if you have a piece of software, you often have to pay for customer service and tech support. Let me answer you with a quick response to that – I am not paying thousands of dollars for my piece of software I am using at home.
If I was paying thousands of $$$ to EA Sports for a video game or Microsoft Office, yeah – I better get free customer service or that product is going back to the store. Unfortunately, we do not have that luxury when buying YOUR LMS/LCMS.
24/7 Tech Support and Customer Service
Hmm, we are in a global marketplace, so why are a large number of vendors still believing that everyone is on EST? Or hours are only 8 to 5 p.m. ET or CT and M-F? Fantastic. I like the added experience of no weekends – so when your system goes down and your end users who are at home can’t use it and then complain to you on Monday or if you are really lucky and have a mobile that some can call you at (and they do) so you get to do nothing, except grumble.
Better yet, is that you e-mail your LMS/LCMS vendor’s tech support and it is as though it goes into a black hole and is never seen again.
No follow-up, zip. Or you receive the infamous generic template e-mail – Dear X, thank you we have blah blah. Please allow blah blah hours to respond. How many times have they not responded within that time frame and then you have to pick up the phone and call them? When this happens, it is always a RED FLAG to me. I wonder, how important am I really to them? Or am I just another number to them to add to their bottom line?
Their Own Integrated Web Conferencing Tool
Instead of having a preferred or recommended vendor that integrates into their LMS/LCMS, what about if they actually created their own web conferencing solution – built-in within their LMS/LCMS? True Turnkey. No longer, are you stuck with their “preferred” or are required to having to go out and find someone to use (unless you want to) and spend all that time doing it.
If you could get the key features (that all good WC’s provide – please see my blog article on Web Conferencing); wouldn’t you be more enticed to look at that solution?
Especially if you spent months looking at LMS/LCMS systems, and now you have to go and find a web conferencing solution that either integrates – i.e. it hyperlinks from the LMS, when the end user clicks it – to the Web Conferencing Vendor (which is on their server), but gives the illusion to the novice end user that it is within your LMS OR you go with preferred which integrates within their LMS/LCMS, with full wrapper and full tracking, etc.
Some can hyperlink and still do the tracking, but a fully built in web conferencing solution, especially with emerging technology, seems to make technological sense. Hard to pitch to me, your cutting edge or at the forefront, when are not doing this.
API – Application Program Interface
Open architecture – enabling interaction between software (in our case SAAS – hosted, so yes LMS/LCMS or frankly anything hosted or software). You can create your own APIs or locate open APIs and use them legally for free. Enables you to integrate a wide swath of offerings within your LMS/LCMS. Some items could be: widgets, web conferencing (if you do not want to go the “preferred” way), e-commerce/shopping cart, your own self built social network, robots, mashups, etc.
Granted you need to have your IS/IT/Developer or programmer work with your LMS vendor, but the capabilities are truly unlimited. This is emerging technology. Personally, it is in my top five questions I ask a vendor. If they say NO, I walk away, regardless how great they are. Because honestly, they aren’t that great, without it.
Trust me. API is a must have for the future of LMS/LCMS solutions if you want to be at the forefront of where this industry is going – for you and specifically for your learners and the features/capabilities you can offer them. If you ever wondered, “can I create an e-learning community” in my LMS, and do this and that? If it offers API, and the technology is there, then it is doable.