How Formlabs turned unstructured training into a world-class partner education program
Formlabs is a leading developer and manufacturer of 3D printers and related software. Launched in 2012 with the Form 1 printer, the company raised a record-breaking $3 million in a Kickstarter campaign. Today, Formlabs creates third generation SLA 3D printers, powering production at companies like Google, Sony, Tesla, and Gillette.
We spoke with Global Channel Services Training Lead Ladislav Vigh about the reasons they invest in training and how TalentLMS has helped them achieve one of their core business goals of delivering exceptional customer service.
As the Training Lead in their Channel Services division, Ladislav is responsible for educating 180+ partners and about 2000 technicians worldwide.
These partners act as authorized resellers and are the face of Formlabs worldwide. They’re the ones closest to the end user, the ones that sell Formlabs’ products and the ones that need to deliver amazing customer service.
Initially, Formlabs invited partners to their offices in Boston or Berlin for a full day of on-site training.
“We had no standardized training back then. We only offered training on-site. This was done at our offices or our partner’s offices. It was split into two sections: theory and hands-on training. The problem was that we had to go through all the theory and the systems of our printers. This usually took up the bulk of the day, which didn’t leave enough time for our partners to dig into the hands-on training. Our partners did not enjoy it and it wasn’t effective,” says Ladislav.
This was a serious problem for Formlabs, because they’re huge on service. “We want to give the best experience possible to our customers. And if our partners aren’t trained, and they don't know what they’re doing, our customer service takes too long”, explains Ladislav.
“As for our internal training,” he goes on, “it was a mess. It was difficult and time-consuming for both our new hires and the person who had to present the information.”
As Channel Service Training Lead, however, the challenge for Ladislav was this: How do I onboard new partners around the world fast, help them with technical issues, and keep them up to date with the latest information?
The answer to this training challenge arrived in 2017.
“We hired a new person who had previously worked for a different 3D company,” remembers Ladislav. “When he saw that we didn’t have an online system in place, he introduced us to TalentLMS. When we saw it, the possibilities just blew our minds.”
“We started using it and it made our lives so much easier. Our partners love it and we love it, too.”
Pretty soon, word spread and someone on the internal team saw TalentLMS and believed it would be great for training internally, too. “Everybody knows TalentLMS here!” laughs Ladislav.
Today, TalentLMS is the primary internal and partner education system at Formlabs. They offer online certification through TalentLMS to about 1800 partner technicians, while their on-site certification is delivered to fewer people, only 300 to 400.
How TalentLMS saves Formlabs time
Before TalentLMS, Formlabs were limited in how many people they could train at a time. “We couldn’t exactly train technicians from one day to the next. So, many partners didn’t know what they were doing because they weren’t familiar with our workflows and processes. Now, one of our courses in TalentLMS is about workflows and processes.”
Ladislav explains: “This means that our partners immediately know where and how to contact us, what they need, as well as ‘first-aid’ solutions they can try to help customers immediately.”
“We train 1800 people in the blink of an eye. It’s awesome”
New partners and technicians are able to learn the theory behind 3D printing through TalentLMS. “It’s a self-guided training so partners can take as long as they need to digest it. They can do it when they have the time. They no longer have to sit in an office listening to a boring presentation and zone out.”
With the theory out of the way, the on-site training has changed, too. Now, the Channel Services Education Team focuses their energy on hardware and software training. “It gives our partners more time to work hands-on with the machine.”
How TalentLMS makes administration hassle-free
When we ask Ladislav about his experience using the platform, he says: “The system is just intuitive and self-explanatory. Creating content is easy. I love how we can connect content to other content so that multiple people don’t have to do the same job. We often create a piece of content once and then use it for different audiences, both internally and externally. TalentLMS is just super easy to use. And the value it brings is awesome.”
How learners engage with TalentLMS
One of the most important responsibilities training managers have when designing a training program and choosing an LMS is user adoption. Will my audience use this? Will they enjoy using it? Will it work?
Ladislav explains how Formlabs’ partners enjoy using TalentLMS.
“The beauty of TalentLMS is that we just need to invite new users. And without even telling them how to use it, they log in and immediately know what to do and how to do it.”
He goes on, “I’ve also noticed that certificates and gamification are some of our users’ favorite features. They download the certificate and print it. They’re proud of their accomplishments.”
“As for gamification? I have partners emailing me and asking, “How is it possible this person has so many points? How can I also get that many points?” For example, we have multiple partners in Italy. The gamification there is on fire. We have technicians logging in every day just to get points,” he laughs.
How TalentLMS helps Formlabs deliver world-class customer service
Ladislav tells us how important training is to deliver as good customer service as they possibly can. “It gives us huge value and distinguishes us from our competition. Our customers often write to us, ‘Guys your service is awesome, I don’t know why I didn't come to you sooner.’ ”
“With TalentLMS training, our partners can provide more effective and faster service, customers are happy, and downtime is reduced to almost nothing.”
“Within a few weeks of signing a contract, new partners are fully onboarded. Their technicians are up to date and educated about our machines from the start. If they have any potential customers, they can immediately answer their questions. If they have technical questions, they can immediately give them excellent service.”
By using TalentLMS, Formlabs have been able to directly connect training with business goals. Not only are their 3D printers recognized as leaders in the industry, but their technicians and partners worldwide are able to provide users with amazing, competition-beating customer service.