Mobile technology is a key component in a new certification program for Vivint’s field service professionals and in the company’s ability to train them at a faster rate.
Vivint, a smart home technology provider, used to send each new field service professional to an in-person onboarding session at the company headquarters in Provo, Utah. However, with new field service professionals being hired across the United States and Canada, sending new hires to Utah was not always convenient, says Vice President of Field Service Chris Gera.
Now the company leverages mobile technology for onboarding, continuous learning, and sales support for its field service professionals.
Each new field service professional receives an iPhone and iPad mini on his or her first day, training (as needed) on the use of those devices, onboarding materials via an interactive app created on an Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) platform, and information about training requirements.
New field service professionals also learn which audits and assessments they need to pass in order to earn the new Field Pro I Certification, says Gera. The new hires use the mobile technology to complete online training, watch various modules, take assessments and quizzes testing their knowledge of Vivint products, go through step-by-step tutorials, and complete troubleshooting exercises, explains Rob Packer, director of training.
After that process is complete, new field service professionals go to one of Vivint’s three regional centers for 3 days of certification training, says Packer. At the regional centers, learners read training materials, complete online training, watch step-by-step instructions and videos, demonstrate their ability to perform job-specific tasks (such as putting a panel on a wall and installing an outdoor camera), and participate in role-playing exercises to hone customer interaction skills.
In addition to giving new field service professionals access to training content via the app, the iPhones and iPad minis provide access to automated scheduling, online videos, and webcasts, Gera explains.
The app was initially tested with a group of managers and field service professionals and then rolled out to the entire field service team. Vivint put each of its 750 existing field service professionals through the certification program, and more than 99 percent of them successfully completed the program, demonstrating their understanding of Vivint’s standards, policies, procedures, and products, Gera says.
The technology has enabled Vivint to cut training time for new hires in half—from 9 to 12 weeks previously to 5 weeks currently, Gera says, adding that new hires with experience or similar training complete onboarding in 6 to 10 days.
The company has also realized significant cost savings by eliminating the $60,000 annual expenditure to print an employee training manual (not including the cost of updates), and by eliminating thousands of dollars per trainee for in-person training, say Gera and Packer.
Other benefits of using the app include consistency in training across regions, as well as the ability to easily keep training content current and engaging for learners, says Gera. “There’s no chance they are looking at old material.”
He says mobile technology is particularly effective when training a remote workforce. However, Gera cautions that it is important to get buy-in from management and users when introducing new technology. “It doesn’t help if no one uses it.”
Gera recommends selecting a product with “the ability to have a rich experience from an audiovisual perspective,” while Packer suggests looking for “ease of publishing content,” the ability to make updates, and a product that does not necessitate the hiring of additional staff.