What is compliance LMS?

A compliance LMS differs from an average LMS when it comes to its features. These features allow B2B training providers to sell compliance-focused training programs. The SaaS solutions do come with a variety of features. However, the majority of companies will feel the restrictions once they grow past a certain size. That’s why we complained this blog to provide some tips on how you can improve your compliance LMS and grow more in 2023.

The importance of compliance LMS

Compliance e-learning is expected to grow by $2.43 billion (£1.8b) between now and 2025. With the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the need for more accessible and remote forms of compliance training, competition increased with thousands of face-to-face training companies making a swift transition into compliance e-learning. 

Post-pandemic, with new players entering the market every day, it’s never been more important to differentiate your compliance training services from the competition in order to grow your business.

If you’re using a restrictive compliance LMS, your results may be less impressive.

The problem that most compliance training companies will face is that nearly all of them rely on SaaS or “out-of-the-box” LMS technology. 

This means that aside from the quality of their content, using a bog-standard LMS makes it increasingly difficult to differentiate and convince a prospective client to work with your business over your competitors. When there is little differentiation between you and your competitors, a prospective client will often just go with the cheapest – which instigates a race to the bottom.

A custom-built learning management system is your competitive advantage

Assuming that both you and your competition have top-notch content, it’s time to turn to technology as a means to differentiate and exceed your competition. 

Doing so will not only allow you to command higher prices for your compliance training but will make it far easier for prospective clients to choose you as their new partner – and stay with you for years to come.

In fact, our compliance training clients have reported an uplift in sales of between 30 – 70%, and a significant increase in the retention of those clients.

So with that in mind, here are 5 ways that you can grow your compliance training e-learning business with these growth-enabling features made possible with a custom LMS.

1-Improve client agility (and reduce your administration costs) with self-management tools

Whether generating reports or managing users, handling all of this yourself has two major disadvantages that’ll limit the growth of your compliance training company. 

Firstly, and perhaps the most obvious, is that repetitive manual work is slow. 

For reporting, your clients have to request a report, and they have to wait until you have sufficient time to see to it. Then your administrative team spends hours – or even days – juggling Excel files to generate a report that your client can actually understand. Fingers crossed that they even read it.

If they have a new intake of employees that need training, it can be painful to collect the user information in a way that can be imported. So your team has to work their CSV magic in order to get the information to a point where it can be imported into the LMS.

There’s every chance that you’ve felt the pressure of clients not providing sufficient notice for a report or user import request, and you’ve averted other responsibilities in order to facilitate the request. This means delays elsewhere and frustrated clients while they wait for their turn. 

The second problem with managing users and report generation on behalf of your clients is that it’s expensive.

With such manual processes, you can expect your running costs to increase as you grow your customer base. Of course, one of the key reasons you implemented e-learning in the first place was to increase the scalability of your offering and to decrease the costs of your training. But if you’re still doing these manually, you negate many of the benefits that prompted you to offer e-learning in the first place. So it’s important to hand off some of the more repeatable processes to your clients.

You can automate an awful lot, and there are some common low-hanging fruits that we automate in almost all of our made-to-order Learning Management Systems. One of these more common ones revolves around user management and reporting.

For example, for one of our clients, we built a client-facing reporting tool that allowed training managers within their client’s organisations to generate reports on-the-fly. No Excel juggling is required. This reduced our client’s report generation time from around 2 days to zero.

Compliance LMS reporting

This is now a must-have requirement for most of our compliance training clients. For example, for Career Masterclass, we created a customer-facing CSV upload tool, along with an “enrolment key” function so that employees could sign-up themselves without any need for CSVs.

Compliance LMS features

Once in the system, training managers can add and remove learners to groups, enrol them into courses, or even add them to communities and message groups for team-based learning.

If you want to take it a step further, you can even allow your clients to customise their versions of the courses that you provide to them. (Although, if you charge a premium for customisation of courses, you might not want to hand over these duties to your clients) 

2-Improve user experience to increase engagement and reduce support costs

Poor user experience is often cited as the biggest engagement killer in e-learning, causing individual learners to be even more reluctant to complete their courses. This has other far-reaching consequences, though…

If completion rates plummet, your clients will blame you, and this can trigger them to look to other solutions that can better facilitate high engagement and completions. So it’s important to remove any and all barriers to completion rates.

There are other issues caused by terrible user experience too. When a user runs into a usability issue, they often reach out to your support team, which increases costs and – if you don’t have a dedicated support team – pulls resources away from more meaningful work. 

Poor user experience can manifest in many forms, but here are some of the most common side-effects that we’ve seen:

  • Bugs frustrate users and the issues become a barrier to learning
  • Learners can’t easily log in, so you get countless “forgot password” emails
  • Your training is spread across multiple different systems, and so the experience is disjointed and requires several different logins
  • Learners lose their certificates and don’t know how to retrieve them
  • You’re so unhappy with the user experience that you’re reluctant to present it in sales opportunities, which kills your conversion rates

If you’re using an off-the-shelf training LMS, you often have little-to-no flexibility over the user experience. It is what it is. Sure, perhaps you can change the colours or logos, but colours and logos have zero meaningful impact on usability. 

If you have a SaaS solution already, you’ve probably asked your LMS provider to make changes or additions based on the feedback you’ve had from your customers. But when you ask, these changes rarely come to fruition. You may decide to make do and continue to compromise the quality of your service, or you might choose to take matters into your own hands and custom-build your own LMS. 

If you build your own custom compliance LMS, you have every opportunity to improve the user experience and take it in your own direction to better serve your learners.

What does this mean for the most common user-experience issues?

Learners can’t log in? 

For some of our clients, we’ve implemented password-less logins (or “magic links”). This has worked especially well on systems that aren’t regularly logged into by its users, such as for annual compliance. Another option is to integrate with your client’s SSO tools so that the user is never presented with a login screen while they’re authenticated on their own systems already.

Training spread across several systems, resulting in a disjointed user experience.

Bring all of the functionality into your LMS instead. This might include any community or discussion functionality, resource libraries or even face-to-face course booking for a blended approach to learning.

If you choose a specialist LMS development agency (like Plume) with a dedicated user-experience expert, they’ll talk to you and your customers to understand what’s important to them, and design a solution that meets their exact needs. You might be surprised at the golden opportunities that can come from discussions with your users.

With a highly optimised user experience, this not only means reduced support costs but higher engagement too. And with high-completion rates, your contract renewal conversations with your customers will get just that little bit easier.

3-Create an “own-able” experience for your clients with white-labelled & branded sub-sites

If you’re looking to win and retain more clients, giving them a sense of “ownership” over the LMS, to allow them to tailor it to their needs will reduce the likelihood of them walking away during renewal discussions. 

The more time – or money – a client invests into a service to make it suit their needs, the more difficult it is to move away.

As an example, think about your Spotify or Apple Music account. Have you considered moving away to another service? Doing so would mean that the countless hours you’ve spent curating your playlists – or training the algorithm to understand your (obviously incredible) music tastes – will go to waste. 

And the same is true for Learning Management Systems, especially in a B2B setting. The more “personalised” the experience, the higher your retention rates.  

So how do we make your LMS feel like your client’s LMS?

Branded / white-labelled sub-sites

Some of our clients offer their “generic” LMS for their lower-paying clients but offer branded sub-sites for the clients with deeper pockets.

For most, the ability to change the logo, colours, login URL and the courses on offer is enough to give your clients a sense of ownership over the LMS. 

We’ve built such technology into several of our compliance LMSs, which allows them to spin up a new sub-site in less than 30 seconds (with no input from us). It’s so quick, that it’s possible to create a sub-site simply for demonstrating to sales prospects… An instant conversion booster!

Truth be told, this is a request that we are asked on an almost-daily basis, so I don’t think it will be a particularly strong selling point in 2-3 years when your customers will just come to expect it… it’ll become the norm. To make the most of this opportunity, the best time to implement this was yesterday, and the second best time is now.

Client-specific functionality & integrations

Once you have sub-sites set up, you can take the next step and build custom functionality for specific clients. Not only does this allow you to say “yes” far more during sales calls (when they ask for a feature you don’t yet have), but also, most of our clients charge their clients for any custom work they request as an additional revenue stream. 

Once the custom functionality is built for one client sub-site, it can be easily enabled on the next sub-site. You can still charge for it, but you won’t have any development costs to make it happen, meaning maximum profit for you.

Aside from increasing the ease of sales, this has the added benefit of increasing retention, especially when clients invest their own money into making “their” LMS work better for them. It’s a win-win. 

Some examples of common sub-site-specific customisations we’ve developed include:

  • SSO integration with Microsoft Azure for frictionless user enrolment, login and group management
  • Support for new languages for the interface that the client operates in
  • Custom reporting views to visualise learning data in the way the client would like
  • Course creation tools to allow training managers to add their own internal content
  • Custom content import tools to allow import users and their progress from another LMS

4-Open-up the doors to smaller businesses with self-purchasing options

You may not be able to remove the manual sales process for your larger B2B clients, but you can certainly enable self-registration for smaller businesses (or even individuals) as a way to greatly increase the accessibility of your courses. 

Imagine a world where your marketing collateral pulls in a high volume of smaller prospective clients. They sample your content via a limited free trial, see and feel the power of your training, and then purchase a number of seats for their small company employees – all without any involvement from you or your salespeople. In fact, you could be selling these courses globally, in far-away lands, while you sleep.

It doesn’t get more scalable than that.

This might sound like a pipedream, but it’s a reality that has allowed training companies like Udemy Business to be valued at $3.25 billion

For solutions like this, we’ve helped our clients to build a marketing website with e-commerce and subscription functionally directly into their LMS, allowing them to attract and convert new business in a single, super-cohesive solution. For example, check out our Career Masterclass case study to see how we designed the entire user journey from discovery to a paid user.

5-Automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks (and automate your path to growth)

I’ve already talked about off-loading reporting and user-management responsibilities onto your client as a way to increase their agility and make your product way less reliant on your own people to manage. This isn’t automation as such, but there are many other time-consuming responsibilities that you can fully automate and leave entirely to the bots.

Automation opportunities in off-the-shelf training LMS’ are often limited to a select number of partnered tools and an even smaller number of processes they actually allow you to automate. 

This is one of the key benefits of building your own LMS – you can automate anything that is repeatable. And we’ve helped some of our clients to scale to millions of learners through the power of automation (so I reckon we’re quite well-placed to identify the admin-heavy processes that are often the biggest barriers to scalability). 

You probably have your own unique processes that you’d like to automate, but here are just a few of the most common automation we’re asked to set up…

Email communications

There are various forms of emails, but they often fall into two categories; onboarding and engagement emails. Let’s start with onboarding.

The most common type of onboarding is “registration onboarding”, where generic information is provided upon registration of the user. We also have “course onboarding”, which provides essential information relevant to the course they’ve just enrolled in, such as start dates and deadlines. 

If you’re sending either of those onboarding emails out manually, not only are you wasting your time, but you’re increasing the likelihood of human error or human laziness preventing such information from getting to your learners in the first place.

Onboarding emails can sometimes be automated, even in the most-basic off-the-shelf LMSs. But with a custom LMS, you get greater flexibility to seriously super-charge your onboarding communications. 

For example, you can send out email sequences that divide your onboarding into smaller bitesize pieces, which each piece delivered at just the right time to avoid overwhelming users and increasing the chance it’s read, understood and remembered.

Then we have various types of emails that serve to increase engagement at various points of the learning.

For example, if a due date on the completion of a course lapse, email the user to remind them and email their training manager to give them a gentle kick up the ass. 

If compliance falls below a certain rate for a group of learners, email the training manager to let them know – and schedule an email to go to their seniors if not rectified.

We also have more personalised forms of communication emails that understands the user’s needs more deeply.

For example, if a user fails an assessment, you can email some supporting content that can help them to pass on their second attempt. Or use the power of social obligation to let low-achievers know that they’re falling behind on their compliance compared to the rest of their group.

While you may be able to achieve some of this on an off-the-shelf LMS, automated email communication opportunities are truly limitless when you build your own custom LMS.

Automate your support desk

If we’ve nailed your user experience with a custom-built LMS, your support team will certainly be less active! And while we can’t completely remove the need for some form of support being on hand, we can take further measures to help alleviate the pressure on your support representatives.

Implementing self-help tools will serve as a serious money-saver and scalability enabler.

One of the most common tools to achieve customer-service automation is a knowledge base, either fully integrated with the LMS as pictured below or by using an AI-powered chatbot provided by Zendesk or similar services. 

Did you know that 67% of customers prefer self-service over speaking to a company representative or that 91% of customers would use an online knowledge base if it were available and tailored to their needs?

Both approaches will allow users to search for a technical question and get an immediate answer for the most common questions like “where can I find my certificate”.

Compliance LMS knowledge base

The great thing about these approaches it that you can force users to search for the answer themselves and only present your contact information if they can’t find a suitable answer. 

This kind of support approach is used by almost every global platform outside of e-learning, and now it’s time to bring it into the realm of LMS.

Nifty, right?

Set expiry and re-certification dates

In most cases, courses must be re-taken every year for learners to remain compliant. This can sometimes mean setting reminders in your calendar to manually carry out the required work in a year’s time. This is not only time-consuming, it’s also prone to error or at risk of being forgotten if the responsible employee leaves and doesn’t appropriately hand over responsibilities to their replacement. 

With our recertification feature, you can set and forget expiry and recertification dates ahead of time. And combined with the automated emails mentioned earlier, remind the user and their training manager that they need to re-take the course. Want more like this? Read LMS Automation: 8 time-consuming tasks to automate and scale your LMS (or risk catastrophic failure!)

Just to recap, the true growth for your compliance e-learning business is within reach using these 5 LMS tools

With these 5 tools, you can use to grow your compliance-based LMS and retain your customers for longer:

  • Improve client agility with self-management and self-reporting tools
  • Design a custom user experience to improve engagement and reduce support costs
  • Create an “ownable” experience for your clients with sub-sites, and sell custom functionality to clients with deeper pockets
  • Make your courses more accessible to small businesses with a truly automated sales and marketing process
  • Automate time-consuming tasks to reduce your admin costs and enable true scalability

Excited by the opportunities but let down by your LMS? Build your own no-compromise compliance LMS with Plume.

By now, you’ve probably explored SaaS solutions and can’t find the perfect solution. Cherry-pick the best features of each one and build your own with Plume, with no per-user fees and custom-built tools that’ll help you to grow your compliance e-learning business. 

We encourage you to book a good fit call with us to see if we might be a fit for you. Alternatively, email [email protected]. If you would like to see more about our previous works, have a look at this page on our website.