5 New Year’s Resolutions for Customer Education in 2021
To get articles like this free in your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter.
Ready to start 2021 strong with an awesome customer education program done right? Here are 5 must-haves to take your customer education to the next level this year. How many are already on your list of intelligent New Year’s Resolutions?
Align Your Goals in Advance
When implemented intelligently, customer education programs can help with improving many of the key metrics that organizations put on their roadmap. If your business is struggling with customer acquisition, customer education can help onboard users faster, and spark their interest in your product far more effectively than a simple sales pitch. If acquisition isn’t the problem, but retention and churn are company bugbears, customer education can help existing customers to get more out of your product, and see the value in line with their own unique business context. For speeding up the sales cycle, getting customers understanding and experiencing your product with more efficiency is a fantastic way to avoid bottlenecks. It can even actively reduce the lengthy period from initial conversation through to demo, proof of concept, and onboarding.
The key here is to understand your c-suite’s goals for 2021, and then adjust the goals of your customer education program to suit. That way, your success is the organization’s success, and you suddenly have the whole company rooting for your program to win.
Refine Your Format to the Customer Need
Customer education will vary between products, companies, and even customers. If your product is simple to use, it may be enough to offer self-serve tools via your website, such as a knowledge base, or a chat-bot to walk you through your first use. If you have a more complex offering, the next stage up is webinars, or perhaps video tutorials. The most effective customer education will be hands-on and experiential, especially when it comes down to complex software or technology products.
Think about the Apple store as one great example. You can browse Apple’s website, watch how-to videos, and read articles about the latest features to your heart’s content. But when you think about buying a new Apple product, or learning how to use the latest iOS version, you imagine the hands-on experience of heading into an Apple store and trying all the devices out in person. It’s only then that you see how intuitive the products are. This has the added benefit of getting your prospects one step closer to purchase than they would be without the hands-on learning. After all, as they have been training on it throughout the conversation, they already know how to use the product by the time you’ve finished your demo of how it works.
Run your virtual events with CloudShare
Join companies like Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks, and Atlassian who power their events with CloudShare.
Set Up Measurements
An often-cited Howard Gardner quote is, “If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance.” The Harvard professor had it right, and if you’ve intelligently aligned the goals of your customer education program with those of the company, you shouldn’t have too much trouble proving its worth. On top of the organizational goals, it’s important to track the results using set KPIs, so that you can justify the program for budget renewals, or expand what you’re offering when it becomes necessary to do so.
Here are three KPIs that can be useful to measure.
- Engagement rate: How much are customers using your new customer education content, including page or course views, time spent on the content, and most popular content.
- Customer support: Has the education program had a positive impact on the number of support tickets that are being opened? Has it sped up the time to resolution?
- Customer lifetime value: According to John Warrilow, the first 90 days with a new customer is critical, and when positive, can increase LTV by up to 300%. When do customers need the most education? You got it – those first 90 days. Has that 90-day mark become easier to cross since your education program came on the scene?
Position Your Stakeholders
Those organizations who see that customer support hasn’t been positively impacted by their customer education program may be missing a trick. When done right, customer education and customer support should be each other’s new best friends. The symbiotic relationship between these two departments spells good news for them both. For customer education, the success teams should be able to help to curate new content and hone in on the problems that are coming down the line again and again. They can also support your customer education program, by homing in on pain points and giving insight into why customers fail to renew.
In turn, you can provide assets that make the life of the average customer success rep far easier, giving them resources that they can provide to frustrated users, and becoming a kind of ‘first line of defense’ to deal with many of the repetitive queries that come in, day after day. Customer success is just one example. Depending on the product, customer education can align with Sales, Marketing, Product, and IT – so why not make 2021 the year you get stakeholders across the company to help you shout your benefits from the rooftops?
Define Success for Customers, Too
Don’t forget that it’s not just your company that needs to know they’ve experienced a win. Customer education works best when your users feel like they are succeeding. There are many ways to give customers and employees a boost when they are training on a new software or learning a new skill. One traditional route is through PBL, or Points, Badges, and Leaderboards. This kind of gamification can work well if you have an in-depth course, or are training large groups of people. As Daniel Quick, VP Learning Strategies at Thought Industries comments, “Make sure to think about what will make the process intrinsically motivating for the end-user”.
While some customers will learn better through self-paced learning, others may find they need an instructor, or a peer group to get the motivation that they need. The best platforms will offer both, providing experiences that can be self-paced or instructor-led, or a helpful mix of the two. With an instructor involved, users can get the benefit of a well-placed “great job”, or the satisfaction of having their screen shared with a wider user group to show their progress. As learning professionals, we shouldn’t underestimate the impact of this kind of praise and support.
Want to use these 5 new year’s resolutions to get your customer education program soaring in 2021? Get in touch to talk about our hands-on customer education experiences that boost engagement, acquisition, and retention.
Convert text to Unicode characters and create fancy styles in your documents.
What you should do next…
1. Subscribe to our newsletter:
2. Learn how virtual labs can grow your business:
To learn more about how CloudShare helps software organizations grow revenue, increase efficiency and improve quality, visit our resources page. You’ll be able to browser dozens of valuable white papers, eBooks, webinars, case studies, and brochures.
3. Get a FREE, no obligation demo:
Discover just how easy it is to create your cloud environment—in minutes! One of our friendly virtual labs experts will be happy to:
- Show you the platform in action
- Calculate pricing for your business
- Set you up with a 14-day free trial
- Answer any questions you have
- No pressure or obligation