What Are the Benefits of Customer & Partner Certifications?
April 5, 2023
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From boosting levels of engagement and productivity to increasing workplace satisfaction, there are clear benefits to training your employees. But mastering your product or platform isn’t just useful for your internal team—there are benefits for your partners and customers, both for their organizations and yours.
Of course, customer education isn’t one size fits all. On the contrary, training programs come in various formats and styles, making it crucial to design a customer education program aligned with your organization’s and partner’s needs. For example, you can create customer training with an official certification program.
Discover the additional benefits of customer and partner certifications and how to build impactful programs for team members and users.
In this post:
What are the benefits of customer and partner certifications?
When designed and implemented successfully, certification programs enhance customer experience by helping users get the most value from your product or service. This can also help you reduce customer support costs.
In addition, certification programs can increase brand loyalty by building a deeper awareness of your product’s value and versatility—plus, they incentivize users to keep exploring and engaging with your program.
The more confident and knowledgeable your customers feel about using your product, the less likely they’ll be to seek alternatives. Users who are happy with your product and its value become enthusiastic brand evangelists.
“We want customers to market for us; they should be shouting from the rooftops about our product. Customer education is a type of marketing we can’t pay for. Your program can drive product adoption and build awareness.”
So, how do you build a successful training program? Read on for tips on designing better customer and partner certification programs, plus five metrics you should be tracking to measure program outcomes—and maximize ROI.
How to build successful customer and partner certification programs
Each certification program is unique. Therefore, every program should be tailored to meet the customer or partner’s needs, depending on company size and the required roles or skills.
With that in mind, there are still a few key elements or features that successful certification programs share. For example, it’s essential to clearly define the tasks users need to complete to qualify for the certification. Otherwise, users may get confused or frustrated, making it challenging to track program progress.
It’s also essential to survey your customers early and often so you’re always in the loop about their priorities and what they want most from your certification program. Their needs will likely change as your customers grow—and you need to ensure your content is agile enough to keep pace.
These are just two examples of the many actions you can take to build stronger, more robust certification programs for partners and customers. So what are some other tips for creating certification programs that work?
How to plan your customer certification program
You can’t build a successful customer certification program without generating buy-in and getting support. It’s also essential to define clear objectives so you don’t become overwhelmed by details or “analysis paralysis.”
In short, taking the proper steps to get your program off the ground is just as important as how you build the program itself.
Here are four tips on defining your goals, assembling your team, and ensuring your program rolls out smoothly.
- Generate buy-in by demonstrating your program’s value. Your certification program will only succeed with an adequate budget. Getting support at the executive level is critical to ensure you have the funds to build, deliver, and update content as needed.
- Determine what roles your team needs—and who will fill them. For example, you might want to designate a project lead, instructional designers, and technical experts.
- Set clear program goals and standards. For example, you might set a goal to increase customer retention by a certain percentage. You can see whether you’re reaching your goals by following the tips below on tracking program success.
- Plan how you’re going to launch the program. It’s a smart strategy to test your program on a select group of users, whose feedback can then be implemented to make improvements and adjustments before a large-scale rollout. That translates to a smoother, more positive experience for your customers and partners.
How to structure your customer certification program
Now that you understand the planning and prep work, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of building your program. Here are three tips on eLearning content to include and how to present it to maximize engagement.
Make your customer certification program fun
Scientific research shows that gamification boosts learner engagement, with one study noting, “Engagement in online programs is difficult to maintain. Gamification is the recent trend to increase engagement by including game-like features like points and badges in non-game contexts.”
The study authors highlighted that “12 out of 15 studies [found] positive significant effects in favor of gamification” and concluded, “Gamification is effective in increasing engagement in online programs.”
Tap into the strengths of microlearning
Microlearning uses short, easy-to-consume lessons that help learners make steady progress without feeling overwhelmed.
In addition, since microlearning is fast and convenient, engagement tends to be high, leading to a better ROI.
Choose a platform that supports your needs
Slow, cluttered, or difficult-to-navigate platforms can sabotage thoughtfully designed educational content. In other words, your certification program is only as strong as the system you use to provide it.
Make sure you choose a robust and reliable customer education platform like WorkRamp, trusted by Workiva, HashiCorp, Unity, Reddit, and more of the world’s top organizations.
How to track the success of your customer and partner certification programs
While the value of informal learning is undisputed, data also shows that formal customer training delivers its own advantages. For instance, according to Forrester Research, companies implementing customer training programs see a 6.2 percent average increase in revenue, which is mirrored by a 6.1 percent average decrease in customer support costs.
Since you’re spending less time resolving support tickets, your team is getting more done—and meanwhile, your customers are having a better experience with your product, making them more likely to advocate for your brand.
The hurdle for businesses? You can only achieve these results if your programs work effectively. Issues like lack of a well-defined strategy, engaging content, or clear communication can put snags in your certification program, hurting your ability to impress—and retain—your valued partners and customers.
How can you tell whether your customer certification program is really delivering?
One helpful strategy is to sync your training data in real-time, which gives you instant insight into what’s working well—and what needs to be improved. Another effective approach is to create custom triggers and reports that measure the health of your programs. WorkRamp’s best-in-class certification programs enable you to do both, giving you the tools to drive more engagement and revenue through scalable customer training.
How else can you evaluate program outcomes? Here are five customer education metrics to help you gauge the success of your customer and partner certification programs.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
NPS is based on the question, “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this product or service?” Potential scores range from -100 to 100, and scores over 0 are considered good. Your NPS score indicates customer satisfaction, so tracking (and improving) it is essential.
Customer training academies boost product adoption and increase engagement. The more engaged your customers are—for instance, the more time they spend on the platform—the more likely they are to remain loyal, not to mention being more responsive to your team’s efforts at upselling.
Track whether engagement and product adoption are increasing due to your certification program.
Every time a customer needs help troubleshooting an issue, locating a feature, or answering a question, it requires your customer success team to assist—and potentially makes your customer question the value of your product.
If support tickets are declining, it’s a good sign your certification programs are helping customers use your product successfully.
Conventional wisdom says retaining customers is more cost-efficient than acquiring new ones. Certification programs can increase retention by boosting customers’ familiarity and satisfaction with your product.
Monitor metrics like total users enrolled, the average number of participants, and customer renewals, which will help you evaluate whether your certification programs impact retention levels.
Read more: 6 Ways to Reduce Customer Churn
How many people complete your certification programs? At what pace? With what sorts of exam or assessment scores?
These are all examples of data you should be tracking to measure the success of your program.
Create customer and partner certification programs With WorkRamp
Training is essential to help your partners and customers use your product confidently and efficiently. But certification programs do much more than teach your partners and customers about your product. They benefit your organization by increasing brand loyalty and boosting your bottom-line revenue when implemented correctly.
WorkRamp is the Learning Cloud for all of your customer and employee training needs. Inspire customer and partner loyalty, trust, and confidence with comprehensive learning capabilities. The Learning Cloud can be integrated with all your tools and software, making it easy and efficient to design and track certification programs tailored to your partners and customers.
Don’t just build a certification program—build power users and brand advocates. Contact us to learn more and schedule a free, personalized demo.
Complete the form for a custom demo.
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Emily HomrokWorkRamp Contributor
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