One company teaches its customers the skills they need to bring their industry into the 21st century.

Some industries struggle more than others to adapt to new technology and changing business requirements. Sometimes bureaucratic barriers loom in the way of innovation; other times it's a lack of training and professional development opportunities for employees.

ServiceChannel, a company that creates cloud software for facilities managers, knew that its customers often were stuck in traditional ways of doing business. "The need for more training and education comes up time after time in our conversations with customers," says Michael Rivisto, vice president of implementation services.

To educate its global customer base on the latest skills and industry best practices, ServiceChannel designed a free online training program called LearningChannel. The program, which launched this summer, is delivered through a series of webinars. The curriculum is based on direct input from customers on what they need to know about service automation for facilities management.

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Participants not only will get more value from ServiceChannel's products, says Rivisto, but what they learn from the program also can help them drive productivity, lower turnover, improve brand perception, and reduce training costs. The program is also well-suited to supplement a company's onboarding program.

Like ServiceChannel, companies that provide technology solutions to a wide range of industries are beginning to offer customer education programs that focus on more than just their products and services. By doing so, they build customer loyalty—and also give employees a chance to develop their skills and knowledge, learn about fresh ways of doing business, and contribute to their organizations' success.

"We consider it mission-critical for us to help the customers we serve by keeping their skill sets up-to-date and relevant," says Rivisto.