Check How Mature Is Your Customer Training
Customer: “Uh… Hello sir, yes. This is an important person speaking from this valuable company you just sold top notch software to… Oh yes, we are very happy with our purchase. It’s just that… there are a couple of people who aren’t quite up to speed yet... How many people? Well, A little over fifty... But you see... there’s Patrick, and he’s very good at this one thing, but doesn’t get anything from the rest. Christopher on the other hand has only one question, but a really important one. And Maria only speaks French and Spanish, so…”
You: Either refer them to your excellent customer training platform, backed up with an additional support team which will handle all issues in no time.
Scratch your head, take a deep breath, and tell your assistant to call off all meetings so you can handle this.
We sincerely hope everyone reading this article is able to pick the first one, but to determine where you are exactly regarding your customer training, we put together a couple of questions to find out:
Click or tap here.
Which Level Of Customer Training Is Yours?
1. Your customer training is pretty much non-existent.
You’re giving out manuals about your products and cross your fingers that it will suffice. But if a customer calls for comes over for further assistance, that is pretty much going to be your day. Whether it’s a small issue or a major problem, expect to clear out your (or someone else’s) schedule to solve it.
The first step to counter these situations is to centralize requests and select the highest needed training. It goes without saying that a dedicated support person or team should tend to this task and that a specialized platform with tickets will help to streamline things.
2. Customer training efforts are there, but still reactive.
In this stage you find yourself giving training and support on demand. But you feel that you’re still starting from scratch, over and over again. This might be because your support training content is too general and you customers have specific demands. So you’re constantly extinguishing one fire while smoke is indicating another one elsewhere.
In between all the fires, try to determine the most common requests. Try to start with three to five topics. If you have outlined them, develop these into easily accessible courses that can take care of the bulk of the questions.
This way you can redirect a lot of incoming support to your existing courses and take care of the few that still have some specific needs. And the better your support platform and courses get, the more bases you have covered so the more often you will be able to charge for additional support as well. Mind you, making good courses is a skill and will take some time to get it right. The same goes for the distribution to your customers. Investing in some solid learning platform may save you a lot of headaches and money in the long run.
3. Proactive customer training makes your life easier.
You have a training platform up and running that covers about 90% of the topics that customers are looking for. The training process is standard now and kept in check by a dedicated training responsible. He or she is in charge of handling specific requests and keeping the content up to date.
Are you prepared to be challenged by your own success though? If everything goes as it should, eventually you’ll start noticing an increase in customers and requests. Simply appointing more people isn’t an option because one day you might have to handle +1000 requests at a time.
The trick here is to have the whole process as automated as much as possible:
- Allow customers to self-register and follow (and customize) a training schedule.
- Add the option to purchase additional training courses.
- Establish a network of training partners that can assist you when needed.
- All these upgrades will make your support more manageable and scalable.
“I believe the single biggest growth limiter for our market at large is, in fact, customer education… We see still very frequently customers that understand the benefit, but will say ‘We’re absolutely going to do this, but I have to get a Vice President of Marketing Operations hired first’ or something like that. That is a very common kind of thing.” – Marketo’s Phil Fernandez
So this is still a market that is in the learning and skill-building phase. I think very distinctly so. If I look back over the eight years we’ve been at this, it’s way better than it was eight years ago, but, this is a 20-year arc, not a two-year arc.
4. Don’t stop until you can truly call your customer training innovative.
You clearly know what you’re doing, as your training options are on point. You have everything automated and scalable to handle every challenge coming your way. If a customer files a ticket with a question, chances are high he or she simply didn’t spend enough time with your training platform as the answer is right there.
So, if it’s nothing but good grades for you, what’s the next level?
Well, the obvious thing to look after is making sure that everything gets bigger and better. Constantly finetune your courses and make them bulletproof.
But the biggest indicator that shows you have customer training on lock, is the way it is integrated in your overall strategy. Selling products or services with a solid training solution attached is a given from now on. Your platform is fully integrated into your CRM and marketing tools to optimize the whole process. Training is no longer just the responsibility from a department, it’s the main task of a top level member of your company. The quality of your training has a direct impact on your revenue. Whether it’s through improved sales or by selling the training courses themselves. Because they are that good.
That’s when you know you have a mature customer training program.