The Top 8 Best Practices For Successful Customer Training
Almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every day. And according to Google , searches related to "how-to" are growing 70% per year. You can learn to do anything you want on YouTube. From making origami and applying makeup to building an entire house from scratch. Conclusion? People are eager to learn.
Which raises a few questions: Are you taking advantage of this trend? Are you training your customers?
What Is Customer Training?
Customer training is training offered to customers so they can use an organization's product or service to its full capacity. While a customer support team helps customers solve problems after the fact, training your customers is support before your customers need it. It’s proactive, instead of reactive.
This type of training is also known as customer education or customer enablement. We’ll use these terms interchangeably in this article.
Challenges Of Customer Training
As we discussed in a previous article, training anyone outside the four walls of your enterprise will have its share of challenges. Training your customers included.
The primary challenge most organizations face when planning customer enablement is about motivation. Unlike employees and your partners, who have external incentives to complete training, customers don’t. It is an entirely voluntary exercise for them.
Another challenge you may face is that your customers will be diverse. You'll be training people with differences in location, language, and learning styles.
But, don’t get discouraged. By following our best practices, educating your customers will add value to your business.
The Benefits Of Customer Training
When you offer customer education, you’re essentially empowering your customers. They know how best to use your product and get the most of it. They know it so well that they’re probably out there recommending it. There’s a link between training customers and an increase in loyalty. This cuts costs and ultimately drives revenue higher, directly and indirectly.
For example, knowledgeable and empowered customers who are getting the most out of your product are more likely to be satisfied and less likely to leave. A low churn rate (the measure of customers who leave relative to the number of new customers) decreases costs because it costs more to get a new customer than it is to retain an already existing customer.
This kind of training also boosts innovation, which in turn, boosts revenues. As customers use your training program, you’ll be getting valuable feedback that you can use to improve your product.
How do you get these kinds of enviable results? Follow these tried-and-tested methods.
Best Practices For Successful Customer Training
1. Find Your Purpose
Channel your inner existential teen and determine the purpose of your customer enablement program. Why do you need one? Who will it serve? What will it include?
The best way to start strategizing is to collect information from different departments. Customer success departments can tell you about the most common problems they see daily. Development teams can tell you about a feature they want people to use more. Collect all this data so you can create your content.
2. Establish Measurable Goals
Once you have a purpose for your training, you will need to set measurable goals. Measurable goals will keep you on track, and show your stakeholders that the program is working.
Measurable goals also need to be specific. It’s too vague to say, "We need to get our customers to see how powerful/simple/helpful our product is". Instead, opt for, "We want X% of customers to begin using Y feature".
Measurable, specific goals will help you create your content and evaluate your training program.
3. Create Content That’s Easy To Absorb
Now, we get to the nitty-gritty.
Building a customer enablement program with useful content is one thing. Creating content that customers will engage with is another. Follow these 2 best practices for content that is both compelling and engaging:
- Keep it short
This applies to everything. From course length (30 minutes tops) to your sentences (concise) to your videos (3 - 5 minutes). Short is best when it comes to training customers. If you have a complex topic, it's best to split it up into different modules or courses.
- Be human
Don’t be a robot. While you may be training your customers behind the screen of a computer, they’re still people. Write your content like you would express it in a classroom. Skip the technical jargon, tell stories, and your readers will stay engaged.
4. Choose The Appropriate Customer Training Software
You will need a Learning Management System (LMS). This will be the nerve center of your training. It’s where you will store, deliver, and manage your customer enablement. This is where your customers will access courses and find their training materials. Your LMS will also be where your admins manage and analyze your training.
5. Deliver Both Informal And Formal Learning
An audience as varied as your customer base demands that you support learning as it naturally happens. You don’t want to only offer structured courses or knowledge bases. You’ll also want to include some informal learning.
As a best practice, choose an LMS that supports formal learning methods and also has features for social learning. Like, discussion boards and webinars. These features encourage learners to share information, ask questions and get tips and techniques from other customers.
6. Get Everyone On Board
Your training will be more effective when you get help from other departments in your organization. Any teams that are customer-focused or -facing, like marketing and customer support, can provide you with valuable information.
Build it, and they will come. Do you want to give you marketing manager an aneurysm? Your marketing team knows the tricks to get customers to your training portal: use them. They know your customers, your brand, and your positioning better than you do. They'll promote your training through email campaigns, paid ads, and the LMS itself.
- Customer success & support
As a best practice, link to your on-demand training when customers are onboarding. And add links to it in customer support and success emails. Your support team can also add value to your program by identifying top problem areas. You can use these insights to improve content or develop new content.
7. Track And improve
Customer enablement programs shouldn’t be stationary. They must evolve as you learn more about your audience. You will need an LMS that can track metrics you can use to adjust and improve your training.
Track metrics like customer satisfaction and engagement. Get more specific by reviewing your supports tickets. What are people struggling with over and over again? Should you create new training or improve the old one? Ask your customers what kind of training they want and what they’re finding difficult. All this research will help you keep developing your training.
8. Measure Success!
One of the most important benefits of using an LMS like eFront is that it provides metrics on learner activity. Learner activity insights help you make sense of your training. What's working? What's not working?
But these metrics also give you the ability to measure success. This is where you go back to your measurable goals and check your results. You can, and should, take your metrics a step further and measure your Return On Investment.
So, you want more engaged, more loyal, more satisfied customers? Invest in a well-thought, well-structured customer enablement program. Not only will you create brand ambassadors but you will also improve your product or service and your bottom line.
Your customers are ready to learn. Are you prepared to teach them?
If you want to be an A-plus student:
Collect information from various departments to discover if your company could benefit from this kind of training. Then, visit our website to find out more about eFront, a state-of-the-art Learning Management System that has all the advanced features you'll need for successful customer training.