Reaching customers remotely
Travel and contact restrictions have made on site academy programmes by manufacturers impossible - But digital formats like e-learning and POWERTRAINING offer more than just a temporary replacement.
The fact that Coronavirus has caused some changes is definitely something that Matthias Rong, head of the PFERDACADEMY at the Marienheide-based tool manufacturer August Rüggeberg, is happy to confirm. But he is also discovering some positive outcomes from the current situation, even though they required customers to adopt a completely different mindset almost overnight: “There’s no question that Coronavirus and the associated restrictions really put the brakes on what we were doing”, he says, recalling the beginning of the pandemic back in March 2020. “Spring is traditionally a time when the PFERDACADEMY is working flat out, especially when the Cologne iron products exhibition is being held.” According to the head of the academy, that’s when the entire international sales team gets together in the modern facilities in Marienheide. Where a video studio has been set up in recent times.
The studio is a visible indication that the transition from purely in-person events in the academy towards a two-tier offering, which began several years ago, has now been completed. “Of course we will continue to train dealers and end users in how to handle PFERD tools here in the PFERDACADEMY - as soon as circumstances allow” - the combination of teaching theoretical knowledge and practical testing is too successful to do otherwise, as Matthias Rong admits. “But in parallel we will be further expanding what we offer through the digital PFERDACADEMY.”
Last year, the academy benefited from the fact that it had already been making progress in the field of e-learning. “We had already prepared lots of content for independent learning by our customers and were able to offer a range of topics right from the start. This left us enough time to create a parallel new format, which we call ‘POWERTRAINING’”, Rong says. “Unlike e-learning, POWERTRAINING is alive online event with a limited number of participants. This allows us to make sure that we can give each individual participant the right level of attention when teaching the material.” Regardless of the “change of platform”, POWERTRAINING still reflects the values of the PFERDACADEMY: “We want to provide knowledge, we want to provide practical assistance, we want to highlight ways to solve problems and for everything to be tailored as far as possible to individual needs and requirements”, the head of the academy explains.
The last few months have shown that PFERD is in a strong position in terms of its digital services. “Our POWERTRAINING has proved to be really popular”, says Rong. With around 70 events and almost 700 participants, expectations have been exceeded and around the same number of people have been welcomed online as came to the plant in person the previous year. “It was the perfect start.”
In 2021, the range of training will be expanded further as there are clear signals from customers that they want to keep using this type of training service in the future, even after the pandemic, as Matthias Rong explains. E-learning and POWERTRAINING can be carried out with no travel costs and with a comparatively small time commitment. This is something that numerous dealers and end users value, especially at the present time. “We have actually been repeatedly emphasising these benefits for several years”, says Rong, discussing the early roll-out of the PFERD solution, “and so we are delighted that Coronavirus has given a boost to increasing the acceptance of these digital formats.
Anyone interested in e-learning or POWERTRAINING can find more information at www.pferd.com:
PFERD e-learning programmes provide practical knowledge from the world of PFERD in a very interactive format. The online courses can be started at any time and completed in as many sessions as necessary. You can get your personal access code from the PFERD website.
The POWERTRAINING courses also teach PFERD knowledge first hand, but as a live video conference. PFERD offers the 45 to 60 minute units on a range of topics and by arrangement they can be tailored to your individual needs. You can register for POWERTRAINING on the PFERD website. You will also find the current topics and the times of the training there.