Attention LMSs – I’m mad as…

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I’m sitting down right now, but in a few seconds I’m going to stand up on my soapbox and


I’m tired of hearing the excuses. I’m tired of the arrogance of some salespeople. I’m tired of the blatant disregard for the truth, the misleading, the “yeah we can do that”, when you know you can’t.

I’m tired of telling people that it is better to buy 3rd party courses through you even though they can get a better deal by going straight to the 3rd party vendor.

#5 Salesperson who thinks they are more important than you

I’m calling out Saba. That’s right, Saba and their wonderful salesperson HSwidget (name withheld).  Let me tell you my story.

I was looking for a system for a client. I contacted Saba and dealt with some really good salespeople. I was forwarded over to HSwidget (name withheld). I explicitly told HSwidget in an e-mail not to call me, but rather send me an e-mail.  Guess what happened?

He called me. Then he sent me an e-mail asking that I call him. I sent it back with questions about setting up a time for a demo. No response – as in days.  Three days later, I again followed up with an e-mail stating my particulars and that I prefer setting up demos via e-mail. Again, no response.  Now I know he got those e-mails.

I then had to call him (after all it was for a client). After my discussion, I again asked him to contact me by e-mail.  Zero.  End result – no business for him or Saba.

Morale of the Story

I’m the customer here and not you.  Your job is to sale your system, to make me feel important (as any company who is looking for a LMS), to make me feel relevant. If the customer requests contact via e-mail, then do it. Seriously, how hard is that?  Unless your company is making billions of dollars a year (and you’re not), than having arrogance is not an option.

#4 Outrageous Setup Fees

More systems than before are turnkey systems. That is to say, you buy, they change the front look and a logo and implement it (assuming you did not do any real customization).

It shouldn’t cost a King’s ransom to get his done. Any system that charges more than 20K for a setup fee should be ashamed of themselves. Especially if they have been in business for more than three years. I know they are going to say, “well we need to add their graphics, skin it to match their web site or whatever they want and blah blah”.

Got it. So explain to me again, why this is going to cost me over 20K or even over 30K? Are you building the system from scratch? Because that would be the only reason.

Updates shouldn’t cost more. Heck they don’t cost more when you buy some software (some vendors love to compare themselves to software that costs $75 or lower). Maintenance shouldn’t cost. I’m buying a system here, and things like maintenance and updates should be key components, just like that tutorial you place online.

If I want to interface with my CRM, ER, HR system than yeah charge me more – because I’m asking for something that is “out of the standard box”.

Morale of the Story

If your system costs 15K than your setup fee shouldn’t be higher than that. Unless I want mass customization or need it to interface with whatever, than your setup fee shouldn’t make me bankrupt.

#3 Promises more than they can deliver

How many times has a vendor told you they can do this or that, and then you buy the system only to find out they can’t do what they promised?

 If your shopping cart can’t tie into my merchant account tell me, don’t lie to me. If your system has had problems with 3rd party web conferencing tools, tell me.  If you have a wait time of six weeks to implement my API, tell me.

If the feature I’m looking for is not available yet, then tell me. If the feature is on your roadmap, give me an estimated time.  If you see no value in mobile learning, then state it so.

If you claim that vendor B doesn’t do what they say they can do – you better be right (and you know who you are).  If I ask you if you have clients in my industry, tell me yes or no.

If your system has had interface issues with certain ERPs, tell me.

Morale of the Story

Being honest is always the best route to go. Best of all, you may still get the business because you are honest. No one likes surprises.

#2 Bugs and I’m not talking about Bugs Bunny

I know there are systems out there that have bugs or as it is known in the industry, “issues”. I hear it from end users. I hear it from other folks in the industry, and yes even from other vendors (although not as prevalent).

If I see it with my own eyes, as the customer of your system, then it should be fixed. No exceptions. I don’t want to hear the blame game – its your fault (and those vendors know who they are).

I want to hear that it is going to get solved. I want to hear that it is in high priority. Granted everyone thinks their issue is of high importance, but in some cases it is – especially if end users are getting pushed out of the system.

If I can’t log into the system as the administrator, that is of high importance. If my issue resolves around end users seeing green rather than blue, it’s not.

End users are not asking for a lot here. They want a system that works. They want a system that they purchased that you told them that new feature A is working as it is supposed to. If it is not working, they want you to fix it as soon as you can. If it takes three days to install a new patch, then notify your clients that there are bugs, you are working on them and then give them daily updates. It’s not that hard. 

I’d rather know that you “get it” than have to tell you to “fix it”.

Morale of the Story

Bugs occur often especially when new features are added, but they should be nipped in the bud. You (vendor) should have a strong Q/A team who has tested and tested before anything goes live.

Yes as in any piece of software, there will be issues that are out of the ordinary and thus you have to fix them, but do so with open communication and transparency. Never wait for the customer to tell you.

#1 I’m a number in your sales cycle

You tell me I’m relevant to you as a customer. You sell me on your system. I buy it. I even buy the extra bing-zings you tell me I need, because I love your product.

But what I don’t like:

  • Telling your larger clients that you are about to be bought or sold to (you know who you are)
  • Ignoring my issues and focusing first on the Big Dog clients
  • Acting like my BFF, but the moment I buy your product you can no longer be found
  • Ignoring me – I really hate that

Morale of the story

Everyone regardless of company size is important. Treat me (your client) as equal as you do with the mega conglomerates. People will notice – and noticing is a good thing.

Bottom Line

I couldn’t say it better myself.

E-Learning 24/7


  1. This was one of the best posts I’ve read in a while. I love the outrage and find it extremely refreshing. Misleading customers, not listening and forgetting who the customer is can be extremely frustrating. Bravo Craig!

  2. Craig,
    This would be funny if it weren’t true… which I’m sure it is. As the owner of an e-learning provider, I would certainly hope that (1) our sales reps would respect the wishes of our prospective clients, (2) our service after the sale would be at least as good if not better than before our clients buy from us, and (3) that every representative of our company would act with honesty and integrity in every situation.

    I’m sorry that you’ve experienced less than excellent service – it reflects badly on all of us in this business.

    1. It does reflect bad on the industry which is a shame. I think part of the problem is the lack of sales training on the part of some vendors. Train folks it is worth it.

  3. Craig… you read my mind and then blogged it! I’ve been delving into LMS research for 2 companies over the last 6 and quite frankly its a minefield of empty lies, promises and systems that can’t deliver what I need. Its refreshing (although sad) that I’m not the only one having this experience. At least I know its them and not me! haha!

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