Ok, stay with me on this one… I DO have a point to make in the end of all this rambling! :) I’m a technology geek at heart and absolutely love the times we’re living in. The other day my new refrigerator’s water filter needed to be changed. How did I know that? NOT from the taste of the water; it was totally fine. NOT from the color of the water; it was as clear as ever! But from the warning my refrigerator gave me on the front of the water and ice dispenser. It knew when I purchased my frig and began using the filter. It knew how much water I had consumed over the past several months. And it knows how long a good filter should last. So, it gave me a 6-day countdown to have it replaced, WITH a warning that grew more daunting as the final day approached.
So, I’m MORE than ready to replace the filter for the first time (that’s important). I open the door to look for the make and model which is prominently displayed on the inside frame. It’s nicely embedded at the moment of need (hint, hint). My intent of finding this information was to “Google it”, find their website, and do some research on “changing water filters” for this particular model. Upon examining the label, I notice that there’s a QR code sitting alongside the model number. I quickly take out my smartphone from my back pocket, scan the code, and am taken directly to my specific refrigerator model on the product section of this manufacture’s enormous website. As I look at the bottom of my phone display (notice, NO scrolling involved) I see “commonly asked questions” and guess what the first one is? Yep, you nailed it, “How to change a water filter”. I click on the link and am taken to page of directions with a video at the top explaining how to change the filter. Problem solved in just about 3~5 minutes!!
Now, I REALLY hope you’re seeing some incredibly important and powerful connections to what we do for a living every day!?!?! This particular manufacture is NOT in the L&D space. They didn’t direct me to the user-manual. They didn’t post an “800” number to call for assistance. They didn’t have a link on their home page directing me to their L&D Team or their LMS! They did some amazingly fundamental and powerful learning and support things that were designed, yep DESIGNED, right into the experience. First, they anticipated my performance problem for me. They understood the context of the tasks I perform in using their product. They took steps to know my behavior, track it, and begin preparing me in overt and escalating ways BEFORE the problem occurred. Second, they embedded the support right into the workflow at my point of need. I didn’t need “training” on that. The resource fit perfectly, both in location and context. “Two clicks and/or 10 seconds”, that’s as long as my attention would last, and that’s how quickly I was guided to my answer. Third, the technology to answer my question was perfectly matched and embedded in the context of the problem. It was literally in my back pocket! And finally, they took me RIGHT to the appropriate resource to help me, giving me two options, but clearly recommended the one they felt was most helpful. AMAZING, and a powerful way of looking at learning and support.
Notice I keep using “learning and support” in the same sentence. That’s because that’s the new range of offerings we need to build for. In fact, I would argue that if you build for support FIRST, you BUILD less learning/training! This company is highly motivated by the same things we are:
Lower their support costs - We need to lower our help desk and post training support costs.
Optimize their support resources while reducing in-home visits – We need to decrease the overhead of expensive learning resources, such as the classroom, while optimizing their impact and use.
Increase their customer satisfaction - We want to empower our learner’s confidence around self-improvement and owning their own professional development.
Increase their customer loyalty and sell more products - We want to increase our ability to create better and more impactful learning products which those whom we serve want to continue to buy.
The exciting thing is that we CAN do all of these same things right now IF we choose to do it! If we’ll be brave enough to look at learning and support through a different lens. If we’ll risk enough to produce a different product in the first place. If we’ll have different conversations with those we serve. If we build and grow different levels of expertise and skillsets within our L&D Team. AND finally, if we’ll invest in the new and emerging tools that already exist in our industry to create these new and exciting learning and support experiences. I know, a lot of “ifs”! But I have seen more and more organizations, from EVERY imaginable vertical, and of every shape and size begin to do this successfully and consistently. The time is NOW! Let’s not let a refrigerator manufacture show us up! Let’s learn from all the amazing learning that’s going on around us and lead through our example.
*** BTW, did ANYONE try scanning the CR code above??? I just couldn't resist :) More resources on The 5 Moments of Need.