In the realm of eLearning, organizations often focus on training their internal employees as their primary audience. This is a practical approach given that employees directly impact the organization’s bottomline. However, there are advantages of enhancing the reach of learning programs beyond internal stakeholders and reaching out to the extended enterprise, including customers, which brings in significant returns.
This blog looks at customer training and how you can create a robust learning program for the extended enterprise of your organization.
Customer Training: In a Nutshell
Customer training essentially refers to the process of educating your customers on how to optimally use your products or services to achieve their goals. It is one of the key routes to attracting and retaining customers, enhancing their experience through impactful training. This way, you can optimize the value of your product or service within the customers’ organizations.
There are various forms of customer training based on what your customers want and prefer. Most often, it could include programs like personalized and self-paced learning, onboarding, training at the moment of need, creating a knowledge repository and more.
If possible, your customer training program should incorporate a mix of all these content offerings. This allows customers to consume a variety of training material anytime, anywhere, as per their convenience.
Importance of Customer Training
A study by Talented Learning on the rise of online customer training programs states that 68% of trained customers use products more often, 56% use more product features and 87% use products more independently.
Needless to say, the right customer training program offers substantial opportunities for organizations to create brand awareness, enhance customer relationships, build additional revenue and improve the overall customer experience.
The Brandon Hall Group’s Extended Enterprise Learning 2020 research report states that organizations failing to explore all potential learning opportunities might miss critical chances to improve customer relationships, increase sales, and generate revenue.
While customer training may not be required for every industry, it is specifically effective for companies offering software, technology, and subscription-based services. Such companies need to deliver value at each stage of the customer lifecycle, demonstrate their impact, and ensure they have communicated that value before any renewals.
How Customer Training Helps
Implementing a robust customer training program offers several impactful benefits for both your organization as well as the customer experience.
Benefits for your organization include:
Boost to Customer Retention
When it comes to asking for renewals or upsells, proving the value of your product or service to the customer is crucial. Without tangible evidence of the impact your offering has had, it’s unlikely that customers will be willing to invest more money. This is where customer training comes in.
By providing comprehensive enablement right from the start, customer training empowers your customers to maximize the impact of your product or service within their organization. Once they can witness this impact, your sales team will have an easier time making the case for contract extensions or additional product offerings.
Increase in Engagement
Another significant benefit of customer training is its ability to boost engagement with your product or service. When customers have a thorough understanding of how your offering works and the value it provides to their work, they are more likely to appreciate and utilize it. Implementing customer training programs can expedite the onboarding process, ensuring that all users grasp the full potential of your product or service.
Rise in Revenue
Customer training has the power to enhance revenue both directly and indirectly. Retaining existing customers is far more cost-effective than acquiring new ones, with estimates suggesting that it is 5-25 times less expensive. By implementing effective training, you can cultivate customer loyalty, resulting in higher renewal rates and potential opportunities for upselling. Moreover, you can generate additional income by offering your training as a standalone product.
Creation of Brand Champions
Customer training also plays a vital role in creating brand enthusiasts for your company. When customers can effectively showcase the value of your products or services, they become valuable sales and marketing resources. They can provide testimonials, participate in case studies and events, and serve as references for new prospects.
Reduction in Support Costs
Another significant benefit of customer training is the reduction in customer support costs. Without a training program in place, your support and account teams would have to handle all inquiries related to pre-sales, onboarding, and product usage. As your customer base grows, this can become overwhelming and resource-intensive.
However, with a customer training program, you can centralize common questions and issues, allowing customers to find answers on their own and reducing the need for constant support interactions.
It’s important to note that customer education should not only benefit your company but also provide value to your customers. Understanding why your clients may want customer training and what they can gain from it is crucial.
Here are some benefits of customer training for your customers:
Customer onboarding can be time-consuming and challenging. Implementing well-structured customer onboarding programs enables new clients to familiarize themselves with your product or service, ensuring a smoother transition.
These programs are designed to be scalable, allowing you to extend the benefits to all new clients effectively.
Setting ROI at the Start
Your customers have dedicated their time and effort to your product or service, and it’s essential to fulfill the promises made during the initial pitch. Customer training plays a crucial role in enabling clients to ramp up swiftly and showcase the value of their investment. This, in turn, leads to greater customer satisfaction and enhances their long-term commitment within their organization.
Implementing a Successful Customer Training Program
Here are few steps to setting up an effective Customer Training Program:
Establish Clear Goals
Establishing program goals is essential before diving into any training initiatives. Instead of vague statements like “using our product more effectively,” it’s important to define specific objectives that address customers’ needs. These smaller objectives help identify what information customers require and what actions they need to take to improve.
Moreover, setting measurable goals enables evaluation through simulations, quizzes, or a decrease in support requests. Organizing objectives into modules or sections provides a program structure and helps prioritize which objectives to tackle first based on their significance and customer value.
Choose the Right LMS
Picking the right LMS platform is crucial for successful deployment of training. An LMS allows workforce across the organization to consume learning efficiently.
It is important to choose an LMS with robust features that enable impactful learning including mobile learning, social learning, blended learning, branding customization, advanced reporting, gamification and more.
Create Engaging Learning
Engaging learning experiences are vital to ensure customer engagement and training success. Understanding customers’ needs and delivering training that they find valuable is the key.
Techniques like scenario-based learning, microlearning, mobile learning, and gamification can enhance the overall learning experience and make it more enjoyable. By implementing these approaches, training can become a distinguishing factor to cultivate customer loyalty.
Deliver Training at the Right Time
Delivering training to customers at the right time and in the most useful ways is crucial. A variety of programs can be considered for this, such as providing training before product usage, just-in-time training prior to using specific features, triggering hints or push messages within the LMS, directing customers to support pages when needed, pushing training through email, or embedding it within the LMS.
The convenience and accessibility of training should be a priority, and piloting different delivery models or gathering customer feedback can help determine the most effective approach.
Track and Improve
Tracking and continuously improving training programs is essential. Training initiatives should not remain static, but evolve over time. Regular evaluation, feedback collection, and analysis can identify areas for improvement.
Implementing an effective customer training program goes beyond simply uploading a few documents on a website. When executed well, it can set you apart from competitors, enhance customer loyalty, increase value perception, and reduce the need for day-to-day customer support. Careful consideration of the training content, delivery methods, and evaluation processes is crucial to achieve positive outcomes.