Here's an idea we're surprised more manufacturers don't pursue - using online videos to reduce the burden on their tech support staffs of repeating the same advice all the time. Fire alarm manufacturer Silent Knight by Honeywell, Northford, Conn., has expanded the free fire alarm training and technical support it offers by developing a series of “How-To” videos, covering the most common topics addressed by its Technical Support Team.

Easy to find and easy to view on mobile devices, Silent Knight's How-To videos demonstrate, step-by-step, how to program a fire alarm control panel for elevator recall, troubleshoot ground faults and more. Each video runs less than three minutes in length and is free to view on www.silentknight.com and YouTube. Given the How-To videos' quick rise in popularity, Silent Knight's V.P. of Sales, Mike Fischer, affirms more are in the works.

“People like being able to go right to our website and see a quick demo of how something should work, along with steps for getting there,” states Fischer.

To answer the call of its customers wanting more comprehensive training on a particular product or subject, Silent Knight has created online training courses and tutorials. Certificates of completion are mailed to participants for each of the seven online courses, providing they pass the quiz at the conclusion of each training. This year, more than 700 certificates have been issued.

“You do these online trainings at your own pace. Technicians can get a lot out of them and they're good for those in-house staff that business owners might want to better educate on their product lines,” Fischer says.