More years ago than I’d care to admit, I worked at a certain electronics retailer. The employees there had a pejorative nickname that we assigned to rookies: “blank stares.” This was, of course, a reference to the expression on the average new employee’s face when an erudite customer came into the store and asked about analog-to-digital converters or capacitors, or some such electronic doodad. Back then, new hires were instructed to “RTFM: read the freakin’ manual” to find out how things worked.
Fortunately, the learning management system has taken the place of such activities – and brought an end to similar “initiation rites” at businesses across the world. Let’s face it, though, whether you sell consumer electronics or serve cupcakes, certain skills and learning are required to deliver your goods or services to customers.
If you’re running yourself ragged trying to bring employees up to speed or you simply have too much employee turnover to make real indoctrination impractical, you definitely need to get with the times. To help you do so, we’ve put together a list of the top ten learning management systems on the market. Here are our picks:
TalentLMS is a learning management system that helps you unlock the talent in your team! TalentLMS helps you create and deploy presentations and training documents. It also helps you re-purpose your existing content, as well as re-angle it for employees or customers, if needed. The system works on PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.
Pricing: Freemium, then starting at $29 a month, with no long-term contracts.
HelpGizmo is a learning management system that brings together a wealth of document types to keep your employees a step ahead of your customers. HelpGizmo makes it easy to create custom manuals and user guides, and various other literature. HelpGizmo works on the Web as well as iOS and Android devices.
Pricing: Following a Free Trial, pricing ranges from $29 to $299 per month, with a ten percent discount if you pay a year ahead.
HappyFox goes beyond the usual parameters of a learning management system, as it is a full-fledged help desk for your customers. HappyFox even lets learning flow freely, via built-in community forum functions. HappyFox also automates answers to common questions (totally eliminating those fabled ‘blank states’ in the process, of course!). HappyFox works on PC, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Window Phone platforms.
Pricing: Following a 30-day free trial, starts at $9 a month.
Desk.com is Salesforce’s customer support system. Desk.com lets your employees connect to the storied history of your business–all the manuals, guides, and (most importantly,) customer interactions that constitute its body of knowledge, all accessible in an instant. And Salesforce is one of the biggest names in the cloud-computing world, so you can rest easily knowing its Desk.com comes with world-class user support. Desk.com works on PC and Mac, as well as iOS, Android, and Blackberry devices.
Pricing: Following a free trial, plans start at $3 per month per agent when billed annually.
Litmos LMS is a learning management system that facilitates the easy creation of full-on Web courses for your employees. Before you unleash your new hires on your customers, you owe them the benefit of teaching them the ins-and-outs of all those complex topics that might arise. Plus, comprehensive reporting of employee training progress lets you know when all those bright new faces are ready to face the awaiting public!
Pricing: Following a free trial, $99 a month, with volume pricing and not-for-profit discounts available.
Atlassian Confluence is a full-bore agile team collaboration app, but underpinning its “agile” slant is a rock solid content editor. Basically, anything you can dream up can become part of the knowledge base at your employees’ fingertips, when your business runs on Atlassian Confluence. Atlassian Confluence works on the Web and on iOS devices.
Pricing: Following a free trial, ten users for $10 a month.
TallyFox Cluster is a seriously powerful learning management system. Cluster integrates knowledge, content, and project management with collaboration and communication. Cluster also helps you create a multimedia library with the things you need in them – video, images, links, and documents of all kinds. If an employee does not have the information or authorization to solve a problem, TallyFox Cluster connects them with the team members who do know how to solve the problem. TallyFox Cluster works on the Web, iOS, Android, and BlackBerry devices.
Pricing: Freemium, then starting at ten users a month for $40.
C2 Atom is a learning management system expressly aimed at IT service management. C2 Atom is highly scalable, with customizable APIs to help you put the most necessary knowledge at your team’s disposal. C2 Atom lets you create a catalog of the processes that make your IT department tick.
Freshservice is another help desk application with a robust learning management system built in. At use in more than five million businesses worldwide, Freshservice makes our list because it puts your must-know resources right where your team members need them – on demand, in an instant. Freshservice is a Web-based application.
Pricing: Freemium up to three agents and 100 assets, then plans range from $29 to $99 per agent per month.
SkyPrep is a learning management system that excels at bringing customized courses to life. With the ability to upload all sorts of content, including Word and Excel documents, SkyPrep makes it a snap to provide online training to your employees. SkyPrep is also renowned for its own excellent customer support. SkyPrep is a Web-based application.
Pricing: Following a free trial, starts at $79 per month for up to 25 active users. Only charges each monthly billing cycle based on who has actually used it that month.
Are you giving your team the insights they need?
There’s no reason to sit on the knowledge that has brought your business as far as it has come! The more you empower your team with knowledge, the better able they are to deliver the excellent level of customer service that you expect in your organization.
Choosing the best learning management system for your unique business is a must, otherwise, your employees will simply offer blanks stares – and, worse, you won’t be able to blame anyone but yourself for it!
Your employees are only as successful as you let them be – and that simply means that you have to arm them with all the knowledge you can, by putting a reliable learning management system in place.
If you don’t see the perfect LMS on our list, check out the full, regularly-updated listing of all of the Learning Management Systems currently available.