Your organization spends several months or years developing a product or service. The internal team knows everything about its inner workings and how to get the most value out of it. But when your customers first use the product, how can you ensure they have the knowledge to maximize the benefit they receive?
Proper customer education is necessary for clients to get the most out of a new product release. Since most customers with technical issues search online before contacting the company to ask a question, investing in a customer education platform is a great way to give them what they’re already looking for.
What Is Customer, or Consumer, Education?
This type of education helps consumers become more informed buyers. When companies teach their clientele about their product offerings, those clients will likely enjoy a better experience and recommend the service to other potential buyers.
Because customer education is, by definition, the company’s responsibility, businesses should look into this type of training for their own markets.
What Is It Not?
The term “customer education” is rarely well-understood in business. It is, for example, not the same as:
- Advertising: a tool where companies persuade potential consumers to go through with a purchase.
- Documentation: a passive reference that often only provides troubleshooting and technical information.
Instead, education gives customers the skills they need to make more informed buying decisions and understand how to use a new product.
Why It Matters
Some businesses believe educating consumers is risky. After all, the more knowledge clients have, the more likely they’ll look around carefully for alternative service providers. However, there are many reasons why consumer education matters.
- Building trust. A magazine article from the MIT Sloan School of Management reveals that consumer education increases trust in the product and is ultimately beneficial to the company and the industry as a whole.
- Improving customer satisfaction. Investing in customer training effectively teaches multiple clients about how to use your services. Doing so raises satisfaction significantly.
- Better customer support. When customers have the right knowledge, they will have fewer complaints and ask fewer questions. Your customer service department can then focus on more complex issues.
- Raising retention. It’s common for a company to provide free trial periods to clients so they can learn the ropes before choosing to buy the full version. In the same way, customer retention training raises the confidence your customers feel when using your product or service.
Consumer education only works well if you do it right. Let’s explore some of the best practices and useful implementation tips.
Customer Education Best Practices
So you’re interested in teaching your clients what they need to get the most out of your service? Here are some of the best ways to do so:
- Know who your customers are. Why are they interested in your product? What do they already know? What can they benefit from knowing? Answering these questions guides your education.
- Leverage the staff you already have. Certain members on your team already interact with your clients. Talk to your salespeople, sellers, and customer support teams to find out where customers are having the most trouble.
- Generate insightful content. Whether you’re building a new website or a video, create helpful, concise, and repeatable information to share with your customers.
- Use in-store displays. Point-of-sale displays are another avenue for retailers to teach clients about products. Appealing to the sense of touch and immediate contact is incredibly impactful.
- Create video tutorials and online webinars. “Show, don’t tell.” Demonstrate how your product works through videos and use webinars to engage clients.
- Provide scenario-based learning. If you have a chance to make mistakes and retry without consequence, you’re more likely to continue using the product. Let your customers get comfortable with your service before charging for it.
These are by no means exhaustive. Brainstorm other creative ways to engage clients through education.
Tips for Implementing a Customer Education Program
It’s time to start giving potential buyers the information they need. Consumer education doesn’t have to be complicated. Start simple and build up from there. Don’t be afraid to tweak your practices over time. Consider these other tips too:
- Choose a performance metric. Think about what you’re trying to achieve specifically with this consumer education program. Doing so allows your company to measure success objectively.
- Take advantage of all communication channels. Share educational content through company blogs, social media, and forums.
- Invest in a learning management system (LMS). Customer training software like LMSs is one of the most efficient ways to get material to the consumer. Remember the video tutorials and scenario-based training sessions we mentioned earlier? Customer education software can host and deliver any multimedia content quickly and cheaply. You can also scale the program to as many clients as you’d like without additional cost.
You can use these tips to improve your implementation of customer education and better understand what your clients want whenever they interact with your product or service.
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