More Than a User Manual

Bike Shop Service, Onboard training

I’ve had more than one experience where after bringing home some new gadget requiring a bit of technical expertise to install, I am disappointed to find the directions sorely lacking. A quick phone call to technical assistance gives me only a shred of new insight on how I can use the product to its fullest extent. The technical expert answers my most obvious question and his job is done. Beyond the basics, I am on my own. In most cases, after a little more tinkering, I end up shelving the thing and never using it again. Sound familiar?

If I Sold Bicycles…

If I sold bicycles for a living, all of my customers would be as familiar with my product as I. They would have every bit of knowledge needed to maximize performance on that bike and then some. As fate would have it, I don’t sell bikes for a living, I sell software. But the customer still needs the same level of know-how. The people that buy our software need to be just as familiar with the ins and outs of a software program as the newly minted bike owner with the details and specifics of the bike’s derailleurs and shifters.

dura-ace-shifter

Onboard training for the Employee Client

“Onboard training” is a concept most often used to describe the process of integrating an employee into a new company. The goal is to provide the new recruit with all the tools and resources necessary to make his transition to corporate life as seamless as possible. Here at CivilGEO we apply onboard training to the customer experience. We strive to make a client’s introduction to our software transparent and problem-free and we aim to shorten the learning curve in ways you can only imagine. We want engineers to be able to use our software from the get-go. This is how it works.

How Does a Client Get Onboard Training?

Onboard training at CivilGEO is for clients who have recently bought the software or are seriously considering a purchase. It is arranged at the client’s convenience. It is delivered over the internet through GoToMeeting so it can be held at any time and any location. This allows us to accommodate clients from virtually every location in the world, from South Africa to the Philippines or Western Europe. In advance of the meeting, the clients provide raw project data and we build a customized engineering model using this data from start to end. We show them capabilities, functions, workflows and features that will help them maximize the use of CivilGEO on their project. Sometimes our engineering trainers are able to complete multiple projects in less than one hour. The projects go right back into AutoCAD Civil 3D, Bentley MicroStation or ESRI ArcMap and a superior project that is submission-ready is the typical outcome.

engineering-project

We record the training session and host it on a private cloud server with exclusive access so the client can download the video later and watch it at their convenience. This allows clients to train new employees on the software, refresh their understanding of how the software works, and revisit the project-specific training. As an added bonus, the client also receives continuing education credits. This method has resulted in higher adoption rates and annual subscription renewals that are well over 95%. We commit to meeting our clients’ needs and they, in turn, commit to the software.

More than a Five Minute Phone Conversation

Our goal is to help you know your software like the “back of your hand.” We welcome questions that begin with: “I am just starting a project. What is the best way to approach it?” We will easily spend one to two hours on the phone taking a client through the steps to higher levels of work efficiency. Sometimes we are asked general questions about engineering, not even directly related to our software. We regularly field questions on stormwater, civil engineering, and general modeling with HEC-RAS. We are not physically at your office, but we’d like to consider ourselves an extension of your engineering team.

A customized approach to technical assistance is the norm at CivilGEO. Although not always tailored to a specific project, clients can always get demonstrations that show how the software can address their modeling needs. This assistance is available in addition to the tutorials and other educational resources on CivilGEO’s website.

I’ve been on the wrong end of the stick enough times to know I don’t want CivilGEO’s clients to flounder with software they don’t understand or don’t know how to use. Clients need to quickly move into high gear to maximize productivity right from the start. Anything less would be unacceptable, even if I was selling bicycles.

 

About the Author Chris Maeder

Chris Maeder

Chris is an experienced civil engineering and software technology leader, with over 30 years industry experience. With proven expertise in global software development, he has built engineering teams that adapt quickly, focus on what’s important and, most importantly, deliver. He is a licensed professional civil engineer with extensive experience in water resource engineering. He has performed and supervised engineering projects in urban stormwater drainage, transportation and roadway drainage, storm sewer design, detention pond design, stormwater quality, green infrastructure, watershed management planning, wastewater sewers, water distribution networks, pump stations, FEMA flood studies, bridge and culvert design, bridge scour and armoring, dam failure analysis, seepage and groundwater modeling, and environmental permits.