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by Greg Stout, Vice President of Client Services

"An educated consumer is our best customer." That was the long-time advertising slogan of a local retailer in the area where I live. It also correlates to one of ACS's key philosophies - that our most knowledgeable Advantage clients are the most satisfied ones.

Advantage is a comprehensive, feature-rich marketing and fulfillment package designed to help you operate most effectively. In addition, Advantage is updated three times per year to add more and better features that you can use when you upgrade to the latest revision. So, how can you keep up with all the new features and know that you are taking full advantage of all the functionality? Advantage training is one of the best ways.

The ACS Training Program has three components:

  1.  Webinars
  2. The annual Advantage Training Week
  3. Customized training

Webinars

The ACS webinar program began in earnest in 2008. During that year, we presented 30 webinars, most of which were an hour long, with a total of 371 attendees. This type of training is very effective because it is focused on a particular topic, is time and cost effective, and very popular among our clients. Webinars are a particularly beneficial training option, especially in these challenging economic times when many companies are restricting travel and education budgets.

The 2008 webinars received very high marks from attendees. As a result, we are expanding our webinar offerings for 2009. Again, we plan on offering at least 30 webinars, but some of them will be presented as a series. These series will be offered in 2 or 3 sessions, some of which may be longer than one hour. This will allow us to delve into topics that require a more in-depth study. In addition, we will be able to include exercises that will help you put your learning into practice. Based on feedback we have received, we expect that these webinar series will meet a very real need.

Advantage Training Week

Historically, Advantage Training Week has been a week-long event, hosted by ACS in our Ann Arbor office, providing a dozen training classes and various types of group events. Training Week gives you the opportunity to pick and choose training classes that most interest you, and to network with other clients with similar interests and challenges. In addition, you have the chance to meet many of the ACS staff you may only know by telephone or email contact. We at ACS love to host our clients whenever we get the chance; Advantage users are simply the best!

For the past couple of years, we have limited the size of Training Week to four or five classes over three days. This shortened approach seems to work better in conjunction with the annual Advantage User Group conference, which ACS fully supports. The AUG conference also provides training opportunities, including presentations by ACS clients and roundtable discussions co-hosted by ACS staff. In addition, at the AUG conference, ACS has the opportunity to demonstrate new features contained in the latest release and to present our plans for future software enhancements. Options for 2009 Training Week are currently being considered.

Customized Training

Customized training is always a popular offering. ACS can provide tailor-made training to your staff, focused on the subjects you need, when you need it, at your site or ours. Your account manager can work out the specifics directly with you.

The bottom line is that "an educated client is ACS's best customer". Advantage training is important to us, and we welcome your input on potential training topics and suggestions for improvement. You can send them directly to me at gstou@advantagecs.com.



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