Customer Spotlight: Rinnai American Corporation

Ace E. By Ace E. | August 28, 2019

Elevating training through online forms


150+ PowerPoint slides.

That’s how Terry Arthur and Tim Greer at Rinnai trained new partners to specify and install their highly efficient tankless water heaters.

It was a detailed and proven training method, but Tim envisioned something better, and got to work.

What he delivered was a completely reimagined training program, using his Cognito Forms account as its central platform. The revolutionary interactive training tool boosts engagement, increases retention, and makes training both more effective and more enjoyable.

“Our new training system gets people involved right from the start,” explains Terry. “Rather than having us push information at them, they’re drawing it from us and from the online form. This enables them to participate in problem solving, work cooperatively with their team, and better digest the course content through kinesthetic learning.”


Placing training slides by the wayside

Tim’s new, interactive training module retains the previous-version’s classroom-based instruction. Today, however, new partners actively work together in Cognito Forms to solve the real-world challenges they’ll encounter on the job.

This process begins with determining the customer’s needs.

Partners receive one of five potential scenarios for a virtual installation. They then work in groups to assess the situation, drawing from information provided to them in the online training system.

Beginning with a simple structure layout and the project’s general budget and priorities, participants start working through a decision tree.

As they move deeper into planning and performing their virtual installation, they’re faced with more than 50 questions they must correctly answer in order to progress. They’re also equipped with PDFs of product data and other resources they’ll use to accomplish each step.

“Trainees navigate the various pages and sections of the module with the instructor, learning how to choose the most appropriate water heater for different situations, as well as what kind of venting is required, how to make adjustments to the power, water or gas supplies, and how each of these factors relate to one another,” adds Terry.

If a training team chooses a solution that’s either less-than-optimal or conflicts with a decision they’d made earlier in the process, they’re met with a custom error message. It explains why that wasn’t the best choice, so they can make a correction if necessary, as well as consider it for future cases.


Putting engagement first

This gives new partners experience working through Rinnai’s prescribed system before they ever specify one for a real client’s job. And it helps them understand the impact of every decision they make during the entire process.

By the end of the class, even someone who’s never installed a tankless water heater has the foundational knowledge required to do so successfully.

But that’s not all.

Everyone who attends the class also leaves with the training form on their phone. This way, they can walk through the same information on site when they’re analyzing a real situation. Installers can check it to ensure they’ve considered everything they need to and are making the best possible decisions for their client.

“We’ve enjoyed building these training programs with Cognito Forms because of how easy it is to use their conditional logic,” adds Terry. “I’m a pretty techie guy anyway, but having the system automatically provide me point-and-click options makes building the forms really simple; and these forms use some extremely complex conditional formatting.”


Growing beyond training

While Terry and Tim are raising the bar on their training, they’re also using Cognito Forms to create efficiencies for the engineering team and make Rinnai’s marketing efforts more effective.

In doing so, they’re even taking the forms on the road: educating plumbers on the possibilities of tankless water heaters through a 7-van summer tour that’s crisscrossing the country.

All of this is helping Rinnai ensure their tankless water heaters and home furnaces always perform their best, making homes a more comfortable and healthier place for the people who live in them.

About Rinnai

Rinnai America Corporation, a subsidiary of Rinnai Corporation in Nagoya, Japan, was established in 1974 and is headquartered in Peachtree City, Ga. Rinnai Corporation manufactures gas appliances including tankless water heaters, a wide range of kitchen appliances and heating and air conditioning units.

As the technology leader in its industry, Rinnai is the largest gas appliance manufacturer in Japan and is the number-one selling brand of tankless gas water heaters in the United States and Canada. Annual corporate revenues, including those of its subsidiaries, are in excess of $3.1 billion.

With a global perspective to create 21st-century products for the home and business, Rinnai Corporation commits itself to safety and the pursuit of comfortable lifestyles. For more information about Rinnai’s entire product line, visit

Ace E.

Ace E.

Ace is the Marketing Communications Manager for Cognito Forms. When not at the office, you can find him volunteering with the American Advertising Federation (and soon on stage with his band: the Cottontown Soul Society).