Companies need to plan and implement careful training programs for their distributors and dealers because the intermediaries will be viewed as the company by end users. Microsoft, for example, requires third-party service engineers who work with its software applications to complete a number of courses and take certification exams. Those who pass are formally recognized as Microsoft Certified Professionals, and they can use this designation to promote business.
As another example, Ford Motor Company beams training programs and technical information via its satellite-based Fordstar Network to more than 6,000 dealer sites. Service engineers at each dealership sit at a conference table and view a monitor on which an instructor explains procedures such as repairing onboard electronics and then answers questions. Such training initiatives keep employees updated on the latest product specifications and service requirements.
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