LatitudeLearning Powers Growth for Automotive Retailer
||VIP Parts, Tires & Service is New England’s largest privately held automotive parts and accessories chain. Since its founding in 1956, VIP has distinguished itself as a leading automotive parts retailer throughout the Northeast region. The company had a need to develop a comprehensive training program to accommodate a growing retail base and a large vendor network across multiple locations.
VIP Parts, Tires & Service maintains 56 retail outlets and more than 300 supplier partners in several states. Meeting the training demands of such a large and geographically diverse retail network created the need for a new method of knowledge sharing. VIP’s mission is “Earning Automotive Customers for Life”. They also set forth the ambitious goal of enabling each team member to deliver exceptional customer service to every customer. Achieving this goal requires a flexible and adaptive strategy in order to improve the product and service knowledge of team members. The company recognized they required an entirely new approach to effectively manage a variety of unique training challenges.
It was further understood that any potential technology solution would need to generate buy in from non-technical users in order to encourage broader adoption within the company. A learning platform with built in support for content authoring and student tracking was preferred since the company expected the development of new learning material to be performed internally.
VIP ultimately elected a technology based approach and partnered with LatitudeLearning to launch a customized learning portal called EXCEED (Exceptional Customer Experience Every Day). The learning management system was created to provide product and customer service training to team members using a blended learning model. Blended learning combines the benefits of traditional instructor led training with internet-based eLearning. EXCEED includes learning content delivered through multiple channels including live instructor led classroom training, virtual classrooms, eLearning, video and written training material. VIP successfully added SCORM certified training content created by its suppliers and distributed directly through the LMS. Previously, this process required multiple logins to several external training sites and provided limited capability for tracking student progress.
VIP currently uses the LMS to schedule live training courses. This method has simplified the enrollment process and allowed administrators to automatically generate sign-in rosters for subsequent attendance verification. Team members can now receive credit for their course attendance. This practice has been found to be extremely efficient and has improved overall attendance rates. Associates now see a more formalized process and, if they should fail to attend a particular course, their training transcript indicates “no show”. Simply having a mandatory enrollment procedure and required manager approval has added greater credibility to the courses.
VIP has begun to use the LMS for employee on-boarding of certain “soft skills” such as leadership, time management and diversity awareness training. They’ve created specific tasks and training events so that they can track progress toward completion of certain topics. In the past, this information was sometimes communicated verbally with no means of verification. Using the self-study capability of the LMS, an administrator can quickly create a course that instructs Associates to login to a company intranet site and read the appropriate training content. Team members can then self-certify that they have viewed and understand the target material, thereby giving the management team confidence that their employees have been exposed to the pertinent information. For example, a one paragraph statement describing how to correctly process a gift card transaction. The information is on an internal intranet site in a Wikipedia style format. The Associate simply needs to search for the keyword “gift card” and then read the information.
The benefits enjoyed by VIP's management, employees and vendors were immediately apparent:
- Faster training deployment cycle
- Higher rates of user adoption
- Lowered training costs by 33.3%
- Lower support response times
- Ability to track student progress and courses completed
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