Ingersoll Rand sells a home air conditioner every minute of every day. Between its Trane and American Standard Heating and Air Conditioner brands, that’s more than a half million units annually. The company sells through more than 300 distributors that sell to 10,000 dealers who make final sales to homebuilders and homeowners.
Given that distributors and dealers touch every sale of a Trane or American Standard HVAC system, communicating well with them is critical. Ingersoll Rand utilizes virtual communications, including webcasts with training and software demos, to introduce software that Ingersoll Rand channel partners need to use.
Product features of air conditioners can be communicated effectively with PowerPoint slides during webcasts, IR has found. But educating channel partners how to use new software goes best when a presenter can visually illustrate by “sharing the desktop” on a webcast. Viewers can see what takes place as the speaker moves step-by-step through the process on a shared screen.
Over time, Ingersoll Rand Communications Project Manager, Keith Massey had tested or used multiple webcasting systems. In 2014, Massey used Live Meetings on several occasions with unhappy results: “Live Meeting was just awful for us; the quality was not professional,” he said. When he used Live Meeting, Massey couldn't put his company’s brand on the presentation window, and questions from participants in Live Meeting Q&A sessions can’t be published out to participants. He also tried WebEx, but found it expensive. “We were spending too much on WebEx,” Massey said.
“We were very leery about using desktop sharing again,” Massey said. “We had to tell presenters not to share their desktops.” However, for training on software, showing the process in a live session produces the best results. Despite the reluctance to use desktop sharing, Ingersoll Rand had a high-priority software application that it needed to roll out to its channel partners. Distributors needed to use a new homeowner survey program Ingersoll Rand introduced to evaluate customer satisfaction after installations or service calls. The survey program was critical to roll out quickly and effectively, as it dramatically cut the feedback cycle on installs from at least a month to nearly immediate, giving dealers notice automatically when problems had to be fixed.
Ingersoll Rand selected the latest version of West Unified Communications Services' webcast platform to share the presenter’s desktop in live training for the new software programs.
“Everything went off without a hitch” during four different presentations, Massey said. “I was very happy with the experience.” Transitions from slides to desktop share went smoothly and seamlessly.
Presenters found the webcast studio easier to use, and “the user interface is a lot better with West's webcast platform,” while the service itself “works a lot more professionally than Live Meeting.” Massey likes the ability to create separate templates for each brand (Trane and American Standard), and West Unified Communications Services pricing that allows him to present unlimited webcasts keeps his budget intact.
After training 300 Trane distributors in the U.S. and Canada, and 250 American Standard dealers, in a total of four sessions, “We even had distributors come and ask what webcasting platform we were using.” Participants registered, logged into and joined the webcast more easily than with other platforms that Ingersoll Rand had used, requiring less trouble-shooting.
Massey was already a believer about using desktop sharing to introduce new software applications, but now he believes West's webcast platform is a key asset in the process. “When you roll out new program software to distributors, it’s really important that you do it in a way they can appreciate and understand clearly.”
His only regret is that he hasn’t used video yet for his webcasts. “I haven’t had an opportunity,” Massey mused. “But I’m looking forward to it.”
“Given that distributors and dealers touch every sale of a Trane or American Standard HVAC system, communicating well with them is critical.”
Keith Massey, Communications Project Manager, Residential Solutions Customer Experience, Ingersoll Rand