Vivint Reducing Technician Training Time by 50%
Vivint, a leading smart home technology provider, offers home security, energy management, home automation, and high-speed Internet solutions to more than 850,000 customers in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Puerto Rico. A rapidly growing company, Vivint relies on 750 field service professionals to help sell products and install them in customers’ homes.
When it became evident that outmoded, print-based training was increasing the time required for field technicians to get and stay up to speed on the company’s solutions, Vivint looked for a new solution. The company turned to Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (now Adobe Experience Manager Mobile) to create an interactive app for iPad for on-boarding, ongoing training, and sales support. The app has resulted in multiple benefits, including reducing initial training time from between 9 and 12 weeks to 5 weeks.
Here, Chris Gera, Vice President of Field Service, talks about how the modern field service training app helps technicians sell better and provide consistent, high-quality service to drive company growth.
Adobe: What business challenge did you face?
Gera: Vivint started as a small, privately run company, but is experiencing rapid growth. To sustain expansion, we needed scalable processes, platforms, procedures, and a consistent training model across the business. Regional managers were independently creating training so there was no consistency. Materials were delivered the old-fashioned way—in clunky binders filled with paper. The training wasn’t vibrant or interesting, and content was often out of date the moment it was published.
In addition, we were flying people to our headquarters in Provo, Utah for in-person training. We hire 40 to 50 field service professionals a month, so that quickly became expensive. We needed a more structured, yet dynamic, training program to support technicians through initial training and ongoing as we roll out new products, strategies, and pricing.
Adobe: Why did you choose Adobe?
Gera: We have direct sales team that goes door to door to acquire customers. We used the Adobe mobile app solution to provide them with a dynamic, mobile sales tool to support their efforts. We quickly saw how we could leverage the solution to extend beyond sales enablement to deliver consistent training to our diverse group of distributed technicians.
Adobe: What are the advantages of the app?
Gera: Updates take just a few hours—and that’s important in an industry where installation procedures and laws by state or region change quickly. When we were using print, people threw binders away or mailed them back to us when changes occurred. Now, we can come up with an idea in the morning, vet it by afternoon, and push it live the next day. Because the Adobe solution supports so many interactive media types, engagement with the learning materials has been completely transformed. This is a first job for many technicians. They’re young, and accustomed to apps and mobile devices. Print materials bore them. They want photos, videos, and other rich-media elements.
“Now, we can come up with an idea in the morning, vet it by afternoon, and push it live the next day.”
Adobe: How many people are using the app so far?
Gera: Right now, 60 supervisors equipped with iPad minis are using the app to help train field service professionals. All of our 750 technicians will have iPad minis by the end of June, so all of them will be using the app as well.
Adobe: What are the business benefits?
Gera: Training is consistent and up-to-date worldwide, which is crucial for quality and customer satisfaction. We are also dramatically reducing the learning curve for new hires. Once technicians go through the on-boarding materials, we bring them to our regional training center for certification. They get two attempts to pass the certification exam, and if they don’t succeed, we send them home.
If they’ve spent 9 to 12 weeks in training and don’t certify, then we’ve wasted $8,000 to $10,000. Already, we’ve reduced the on-boarding and initial training time to five weeks and for new hires with experience or similar training it’s down to 6 to 10 days. Cutting initial training time in half drives our ability to monetize these new associates and put them in a position in front of customers where they are doing work and creating value for the company too.
Since moving to digital, we have eliminated $60,000 a year in print costs and thousands of dollars per trainee for in-person training, but that was never our chief goal. We want to make our field service professionals more efficient and effective. The app provides ongoing support and training at the push of a button, instead of a binder that might get touched once every few months. With our app, a technician can pull up a video of how to install a device or troubleshoot a problem right on the spot and review it step-by-step, resulting in higher caliber customer service.
“Training is consistent and up-to-date worldwide, which is crucial for quality and customer satisfaction. We are also dramatically reducing the learning curve for new hires.”
Adobe: What other benefits are you seeing?
Gera: In addition to training, the app lets us push out new product information, changes in pricing, and so on, so field service professionals can up-sell customers on-site during the installation process. That means we’re generating more revenue and saving costs at the same time. We are also looking into more ways to improve productivity, such as moving to electronic contracts to streamline purchases and agreements for both technicians and customers.
Our app has created a significant competitive advantage. I recently attended the Field Service conference. Comparing notes, I’d say we are in the top 25% across industries in terms of training, and we’re at the forefront in the smart home area.