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LMS Customer Support Expectations July 17, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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I know a few people who have run into major customer support problems with an LMS vendor over the past few months. The vendor has not provided competent support, communication has been difficult, and the project is taking months longer than what was originally expected. I’ve worked with several LMS vendors in my day (both good and bad), and this one is taking the prize. It makes me ask this question: What level of customer support should you expect to receive from your LMS vendor?

Here’s my take:

  • Customer support should be available via phone and email during regular business hours.
  • All inquiries should be recognized and responded to within 24 hours (auto-response emails don’t count!). A solution isn’t necessary within 24 hours; just let me know that you’re working on the issue.
  • Urgent issues should be recognized and responded to within 2 hours (or sooner).
  • An online ticketing system should be used to track all open requests, issues, fixes, etc., and this system should be visible to the customer.
  • An account representative should stay in touch with you every month or so to check in and make sure everything is running well.
  • Finally, on a more technical level: If I need to troubleshoot a complex SCORM issue, I would like to send the SCO to the LMS vendor to get their input. If the problem lies within the SCO, I should have to fix it. If the problem lies within the LMS, the vendor should address it.

Keep these points in mind when working with LMS vendors. If you’re about to purchase an LMS, carefully review the support details in the contract and request changes if necessary.

Can you think of any other expectations for LMS vendor customer support?

(By the way, the eLearning Guild has a great research report (Learning Management Systems 2008) that provides a ton of detail around features, demographics, satisfaction, costs, implementation timelines, and much more. Be sure to check it out if you’re in the hunt for an LMS.)

Comments»

1. Gary Hegenbart - September 18, 2009

As software moves to the cloud and Software as as Service (SaaS) becomes the norm a whole new set of support expectations pop up: What is the up time guarantee? What is the data recovery plan? Is there a backup data center? Is there a development sandbox? Is there 24×7 monitoring? What is the notification process for scheduled downtime or upgrades? Who handles integration issues?

I’m dealing with all of this now because our IT group likes SaaS solutions – they don’t have to maintain servers or backups. It’s up to me to deal with support issues with the vendor. It’s good and bad, but I think it’s just the way things are headed.

2. B.J. Schone - September 18, 2009

You’re absolutely right, Gary. Those are all very important factors to understand (and have outlined and in writing). I wonder if we (learning and training professionals) can learn from IT departments here. I believe they’ve generally been using SaaS solutions longer than training departments. I wonder if they have a typical list of questions to ask, factors to consider, etc., when it comes to SaaS. It’s definitely something to keep in mind…


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