3M online resources keep customers learning and engaged

May 8, 2020
As miles driven are down and accident numbers cut in half in some areas, 3M offers virtual resources to its customers to keep them educated, engaged, and knowledgeable.

While 3M has had a strong focus on hands-on training, they have pivoted to adjust to the realities of today and still continue to provide training and information in multiple formats. 

3M’s hands-on training “started with the sales force doing training in the shops with the technicians and understanding their pain points and showing them 3M’s best practices,” said Ryan Marrinan, 3M application engineer, during a webinar.

Springboarding from that was the launch of an internal training center in the 3M headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota, In addition to training shop owners and technicians, 3M is also committed to educating vo-tech instructors. “We give them the opportunity to work one on one with 3M to up their knowledge and skill level and bring this back to the schools,” Marrinan said.

3M also is a partner of Worldskills, a global skill competition that encourages students to enter the automotive industry and promotes skills globally. From these training focuses, 3M launched the first of its virtual offerings, the 3M Collision Repair Academy, in 2018.

As traditional training models have currently been put on hold in light of COVID-19, 3M has put a much stronger focus on their online offerings. The 3M Collision Repair Academy offers 28 on-demand elearning modules including body/repair, paint/refinishing, detailing, front office/estimating, and foundation product knowledge.

Currently, 22 courses are being offered online at no charge. There are also six modules for I-CAR credit that are available at a discounted rate. “It is a great time to be upping the skill level and knowledge of technicians in the shop,” Marrinan said.

3M’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) have evolved over time as vehicles continue to grow and change. “We can quickly pivot the SOPs based on OEM recommendations, new technology, and developments,” Marrinan said. 3M has 60+ SOPS and growing, and they are available worldwide.

The company hosts a webinar series, with each led by 3M experts and running approximately one hour. The broadcast is available twice daily — once in the morning and once in the evening, pending viewer availability. More than 50 sessions are currently planned with focuses on body repair, paint refinish, detailing, heavy-duty truck repair, and estimating.

How-to content on YouTube is also being published once per week. The more than 300 videos range from 5 to 60 minutes and have garnered 7.5 million views and 21,000 subscribers.

Social media and community engagement remains a focus, including the “Ask Me Anything” segment on Instagram. Marrinan said 3M experts are trying to reach customers on all platforms to make connections, build engagement, and share tips and best practices for continued education.

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