“A/V Forward”: Training & Customer/Professional Relationship Dynamics

Last week, I blogged about A/V professionals lacking the forward thinking  and delighted myself in the super-charged comments that followed. I’ve read through them and discovered several problematic conceptions by professionals representing the very ones I ‘smh’ at in the initial piece. Below are just a FEW points made by the commenters that I’d like to address:

The supposition that we will be able to train the users is flawed at its core. We can’t. It’s just not possible…due to 2 important reasons: 1. There are just too many people and 2 much staff rotation and 2) They don’t care… -Christopher Gillespie

I found this comment just as jarring as he seemed to find my blog upon first read. Slowly, I realized that he (due to my failure to correctly coin MY definition of “training”) argued against a point I never made. The “training” Christopher deems impossible to conduct for every end user is seemingly full-on classroom training created to teach each end user the ins and outs of their entire system. Eh, not quite the training I was referring to. I’ll try again: Training A/V professionals should provide each and every end user should best be implemented with the behavior of assisting them with discovering their technology needs based on what their business and intended purpose for the equipment is. Upon guiding their end users to such a discovery, the “training” should ensue–providing their customer with a few options PAIRED WITH the pros and cons of the product. This conversation can take 10 minutes or 20 but by no means should any A/V Professional feel compelled to hold their end users’ hand and jolly-trot them to the nearest desk with sharpened number 2 pencils and an X-Men lunchbox in tow. This isn’t advanced Kindergarten here and buying new products isn’t standardized testing. The same training you described as a simple “QR code in the room they can click on to see quick start guides or a SHORT instructional video” is the same training I am talking about. There you have it, Chris. Basically, we’ve argued the same bottom line. apple store help

Today, on the other hand, we hold 10,000x more powerful and complex machines in the palm of our hand, and pretty much everyone from the ages of 6 to 86 can pick one up and use incredibly complex functionality with barely a thought-David Barnett

He basically said tech products aren’t getting more complex. In fact, they’ve gotten easier. I’ll respond with this: Just because we as professionals believe we’ve made things easy for our end users doesn’t mean we have–and such hubris is a divisive disservice to customers who trust us to help them. Sure, computers are different now. But what about their different operating systems? We’ve got more internet integration in our devices than ever before. Before, you didn’t have to worry about which devices to purchase to keep your online activity fluid. Now, we’ve got Google owning YouTube. Owning Android. Owning Nest. And all of it’s fully integrated with the same e-mails and user location. Yes, it’s created to make life easier–but that doesn’t mean end user adaptation isn’t hard. Now, we’ve got more product breadth than ever before. Consumers don’t know what to pick. Which tablet? Which TV? Which sound system? Which SALESMEN? Everybody’s selling something and their selling variety like never before. Technology can be complex in more ways than just usage. We’ve got to consider integration and product choice! asian shopper

A successful system doesn’t require the user to understand anything but the interface. Requiring the operator to know about the pieces and parts that make up the system to be able to operate the system forces them to have a technical understanding to some degree. –David Kint

My only response to this one? I’m well aware end users don’t have to be required to know every dashing detail. As a matter of fact, I never said they did.

As I stated in my originally posted LinkedIn response, many IT professionals see training as a key opportunity for growth. I wanted to know if A/V Professionals in the context of the ‘A/V Forward’ theme are able and willing to do the same–not just training them on systems but educating them on how to best leverage their system for their bottom-line. This ‘education’ or ‘training’ is not to be thought of in its traditional sense–as methods of “training” have evolved with technology and vary in both capacity and necessity.

Happy Monday!

By the way, I’m at InfoComm 2014!!!! I’ll be posting more about my experience here on ZeroGeekSpeak!

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