Distant yet Connected: The New Customer Training?

The coronavirus has unquestionably changed the way we work, interact with colleagues, and conduct business. Recommendations from renowned consultants on how to best maneuver through this crisis and plan the next normal are flooding in. Yet, what do we make out of all this and how do we manage uncertainty while ensuring agile operations?

by Natasha Baccari
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In what seemed like an instant, the coronavirus (COVID-19) went from watercooler talk to a global pandemic, halting travel, economies, and, yes, even handshakes and hugs. Just like that, our lives changed. But that doesn’t mean everything has to stop. We must find ways to carry on, especially when it comes to letting customers know we are there for them no matter the situation.

The evolution of customer training

Checking in, pinning a nametag to a shirt, collecting a pen and notepad, and picking a seat – these are the kind of face-to-face training rituals our customers are used to. But when suddenly, the unthinkable happens and human interaction is banned, how do we pivot to support our customers?

At ESI, we are committed to maintaining the highest customer support, especially in the most challenging of times. And in our 47 years in business, we are no stranger to external factors liable to disrupt even the strongest businesses. What keeps us going is knowing that, regardless of the noise around us, we must be a dependable rock for our customers to stand on.

Like us, our customers are committed to moving forward no matter the challenge. As calls keep coming in for customer training, we recognize this as just another opportunity to pivot.

Which is why we have quickly shifted to “at home” customer training.

Does remote training actually work?

When working on the fly, no two trainings will look the same. The most important thing is to create a setting in which trainees feel comfortable and to encourage flexibility wherever needed so that attendees get the highest value for their time spent with you.

I asked a few of our engineers to weigh in on how they were able to manage from their home offices (or home gyms!) and this is what they had to say:

Purna Musunuru
Application Engineer for System Modeling


“Over the course of four days, I conducted a thermal systems analysis training. With these web-based formats, we have been able to spread the trainings across several days (2-4 hours a day), and I can say with confidence that four, two-hour sessions were much more productive than a full 8-hour session. Additionally, I noticed that spreading out the sessions gave the attendees time to digest and process the information better, going by the follow-up questions at the beginning of the following training session."



Viacheslav Kotov
Business Development Manager


“Training is typically hosted over two days and the benefit is that the preparation time is the same as it is for traditional face-to-face training. We like to use the web camera at the beginning of the training to greet people but not during the training as it becomes a distraction. This just means that I spend more time checking in to see how good they are on their own and make sure they walk away really understanding how to use the software on their own.“



Adwait Vishwas Pande
Senior Engineer, Technical Support


“Overall, these dedicated team sessions went better than anticipated with such a short turnaround time. Most importantly, we were able to stay connected with our customers, and, to us, there is nothing better than that. And because the trainings were company-specific, participants shared their know-how and experience, resulting in fruitful discussions. “


Are remote trainings here to stay?

For now, it seems yes. Although we heard about some of the pitfalls, mainly not being able to see customers in order to gauge their understanding of the topic, overall the experiences were positive. Being able to stay connected to customers, propel their knowledge of our solutions forward, and maintain some sort of normalcy is the goal for us all during these incomparable times.

We look forward to evolving with the situation, and with our customers, and experimenting with new ways of working until things are ‘back to normal’ – as difficult as that might be to imagine right now.

Stay healthy and stay safe, wherever you are in the world.

If we can help you with a remote training please visit https://myesi.esi-group.com/resources/trainings

For more information visit https://www.esi-group.com/engineering-services


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