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Customer Enablement: What it is & Why it Matters for Businesses in 2023

How can you ensure your customers are satisfied and loyal to your business? The answer: putting a solid customer enablement strategy into place.

In the simplest terms, enabling your customers means ensuring they get the most out of your products. If you enable customers, they will be more likely to return to, refer, and spend more with your business.

For instance, according to a Zendesk report, 81 percent of buyers say a good customer experience makes them more likely to buy again. 

Yet, 79 percent of B2B companies neglect customer enablement, despite increased focus on customer retention. 

Despite the potential it can unlock, 79 percent of B2B companies neglect customer enablement. Don’t let your organization make the same mistake. Instead, use a learning management system, like the Learning Cloud from WorkRamp, to build a simple and effective customer enablement strategy.

What is customer enablement?

Customer enablement equips your customers with the necessary knowledge, skills, and resources to successfully use your product or service for their specific use case. Enablement goes beyond traditional customer support and focuses on proactive strategies, like customer education, to help users get the maximum value from your solution.

The goal of customer enablement is to empower customers to use your product successfully, leading to greater customer loyalty, satisfaction, and advocacy. The better training and support your customers receive, the better results they can achieve—and in turn, the more likely they are to continue making purchases from you.

Why is customer enablement so important?

Customers are always learning new things. They know how to solve problems and become pros with your product. It happens throughout the entire customer journey. 

Without your help, customers will educate themselves. However, that isn’t necessarily good news. If you aren’t guiding them through the product, they may learn the wrong things—and worse, decide not to adopt your product.

For example, they might not notice or know about a feature that would be highly useful to their organization and decide that your product can’t really help them achieve their goals. Customer enablement helps your business avoid these types of scenarios. 

Read more: Signs it’s time to Invest in Customer Education + Checklist

Customer enablement is important for a number of additional reasons. By equipping users with the knowledge they need to get the best value out of your service or product, enablement helps enhance customer satisfaction. This is crucial because satisfied customers are more likely to remain loyal and recommend your brand to other prospects.

Effective customer enablement can also increase your revenue. Providing your customers with a positive experience can lead to more upselling and cross-selling opportunities. Satisfied customers are more likely to renew their subscriptions or make repeat purchases, contributing to a steady revenue stream and sustainable business growth. At the same time, they are less likely to contact your team for assistance, lightening the burden on customer support.  

Customer enablement is critical for businesses as it boosts customer satisfaction, drives loyalty and advocacy, reduces customer support costs, and fuels revenue growth. By investing in comprehensive customer onboarding, training, and ongoing support, businesses can empower their customers to succeed, creating mutually beneficial relationships that are key to long-term success.

Customer enablement vs. sales enablement 

Customer enablement and sales enablement both aim to boost an organization’s success. However, there are two big major differences between them:

  1. Their broad objectives are different. Customer enablement aims to boost customer loyalty by delivering a fantastic experience with your product or service, while sales enablement is more focused on optimizing the sales process to drive more revenue. 
  2. They target different parts of the customer journey. While there are various customer journey models, most include, at minimum, the stages of awareness, consideration, decision, and loyalty. Sales enablement targets customers throughout the selling process, while customer enablement provides resources, knowledge, and support to customers after they’ve already made a purchase.

Sales and customer enablement also differ regarding the topics they address, the way they seek to educate, and the level of guidance they provide. For example, customer enablement might involve product tutorials that are specially designed for onboarding new clients, while sales enablement deals with topics like negotiation tactics for salespeople. 

You can see how sales and customer enablement compare side-by-side by using the chart below.

sales enablement vs customer enablement

Here’s a recap of the core differences:  

  • Customer enablement helps customers use your products and services. It offers live chat and email support. As part of the post-purchase phase of the customer journey, it can include personalized onboarding and best practices. 
  • Sales enablement gives your sales teams the resources to sell your products and services more successfully. The goal is to optimize the sales process and, in turn, drive revenue growth.

Customer enablement vs. customer success

Customer enablement vs. customer support enablement: they might sound similar, but that one extra word makes a significant difference. How are they different, what does each achieve, and why should your business focus on both? 

Customer enablement refers to teaching customers how to use your product or service to meet their organizational needs. The idea behind customer enablement is to help customers accomplish their goals by using your product or service. This leads to positive business outcomes like increasing customers’ trust in your brand and making it more likely for them to recommend your product or service to others. 

Customer support refers to the reactive assistance and guidance you provide for customers when they have questions or issues. Customer support enablement is precisely what it sounds like: providing your customer support team with the tools, product knowledge, and training that will enable them to deliver top-notch service. 

It pays for businesses to implement strong customer enablement and customer support enablement strategies, which go hand in hand. After all, to provide your customers with the best support, you need to provide your support teams with the best training resources. 

An LMS enables you to simultaneously deliver both types of training—along with sales enablement training, diversity and inclusion training, and many other types of training programs. 

Read more: Customer Success vs. Customer Support

Benefits of a strong customer enablement strategy

A customer enablement strategy can benefit your organization in the following ways. 

  • Improving your product adoption rate 
  • Boosting customer engagement and satisfaction 
  • Enhancing brand loyalty and customer retention rates 
  • Decreasing the volume of support tickets you receive 
  • Increasing your bottom-line revenue

Let’s examine how a strong customer enablement strategy contributes to better product adoption rates, higher customer engagement, increased brand loyalty, and decreased demands on your customer support resources.

Adoption rates 

Product adoption is crucial for achieving revenue goals and business growth. When customers adopt a product, it indicates that they see value in it and are willing to invest their time, resources, and money into using it. Higher product adoption rates translate into increased sales and revenue for businesses.

The more proficient customers are with your products and services, the more likely they will adopt them. Getting people to adopt your product is complex if they’re waiting for support or misusing it. Customer enablement helps users get up to speed on your product quickly and helps them to use it more effectively.

“We have built a help menu everywhere within our product,” says Chauncy Cay Ford, Director of Customer Enablement at Quantum Metric. “So if our customers are overwhelmed or can’t remember what happened at that demo, no big deal, this help menu is always there for them.”

With Quantum Metric University, Chauncy was able to evangelize customers. Nearly 75 percent of customers completed training in their academy and were working towards becoming product champions. 

Engagement and satisfaction 

When customers feel engaged, they are emotionally connected to your brand and its products or services. This leads to increased customer retention, repeat purchases, and positive word-of-mouth recommendations, which are all valuable for sustaining and growing a business.

Providing tailored customer enablement resources like educational content, support, and guidance increases customer engagement. A personalized approach results in a more complete understanding of your products and services, increasing satisfaction. 

Here’s a real world example: Spinify found that after building a customer curriculum with WorkRamp’s Customer Learning Cloud, learner satisfaction increased to 95 percent in just seven months. Spinify focused on creating content in varying modalities like flip cards, video, audio, and more to keep learning fun and interactive—an approach that makes training more engaging and accommodates different learning styles

Using WorkRamp’s easy-to-use interface, their team could easily create new courses within 2 to 3 days. That’s just a fraction of the time needed to create traditional employee training software, which can take weeks or even months. WorkRamp lets you move faster to stay agile and ahead of the curve.

Learn more about how WorkRamp’s Customer Learning Cloud can help you create resources to empower users.

Loyalty and retention 

Customer loyalty is essential to ensure users stay with your brand vs. switching to a competitor. Investing in customer enablement fosters long-term relationships, which translates into higher customer loyalty and retention rates. 

Sabena Carim Vibhakar, former Director of Effectiveness and Enablement at MikMak, shares how certifications helped retention rates. 

“We’re really looking to increase retention and renewals, to maximize the value of our customers over time,” she said. “By encouraging customers to become MikMak certified with WorkRamp, we’re helping them get maximum value from their investment, building brand equity within our buying centers and inspiring customer loyalty.” 

Read more: Why You Should Create a Customer Certification Program

Resource optimization 

Effective customer enablement allows you to optimize resources by reducing the burden on support teams and lowering support ticket volume. Customer enablement is crucial in resource optimization by promoting self-sufficiency and reducing reliance on support resources.

When customers are adequately enabled, they can troubleshoot and resolve common issues on their own. And when customers have the necessary knowledge and tools, they can articulate their problems more effectively. This enables support teams to understand and address the issues more efficiently, reducing the time and resources required for problem resolution.

Studies show that customer education drives a 6.1 percent decrease in support costs, enabling you to allocate resources more efficiently.

Revenue and profits 

Customer enablement drives business growth and success by empowering customers.

When customers have the resources they need and have a positive experience with your products and brand, they are more likely to invest in more products or speak highly of their experience. This puts you in a better position to increase revenue through upsells or cross-sells. 

Overall, investing in customer education has been shown to increase bottom-line revenue by 6.2 percent

Actionable customer enablement strategies and best practices 

Now that you understand the basics—and benefits—of customer enablement, let’s look at a few top enablement training best practices and strategies to try today:

  • Using a customer enablement platform 
  • Coordinating with sales enablement teams 
  • Providing exceptional customer service 
  • Implementing the feedback you receive from your customers 
  • Offering personalized upsells 
  • Turning satisfied customers into brand advocates

1. Use customer enablement platform

Customers don’t want to waste time shuffling between multiple apps or websites to get the information they need. Customer enablement platforms offer a convenient, streamlined solution by providing a centralized location where customers can easily access educational resources, support materials, community forums, and more. 

One example of a customer enablement platform is a learning management system like the Learning Cloud, which offers on-demand tutorials, webinars, and product documentation. With the Customer Learning Cloud from WorkRamp, you can:

  • Scale onboarding, training, and certifications with a customizable customer academy
  • Use learning paths and robust assessment tools to educate customers on your product
  • Track the ROI of your customer learning programs to ensure you’re meeting your targets and make adjustments accordingly 
  • Segment learners to deliver relevant, on-point content 
  • Design partner certification programs to ensure customers are up-to-date on their training

The best part? You can also track success metrics and determine the revenue impact of customer training through WorkRamp’s Salesforce integration

💡 Take action: Select an online learning platform that meets your customers’ needs and regularly update it with relevant, high-quality content to drive customer success.

2. Coordinate with sales enablement teams  

Collaboration between customers and sales enablement teams ensures a seamless customer journey from pre-sale to post-sale support.

By aligning their efforts, they can create a comprehensive plan that includes product training, access to relevant resources, and ongoing support. All customers get the same level of guidance, no matter their size or complexity, so they can get what they want faster and easier.

Qualified first used WorkRamp to build their customer education platform. After such positive results, they also used the LMS to build their internal sales enablement team. They found they could coordinate efforts and resources between teams, maximizing efficiency and reducing the need to create resources from scratch.

Rather than building training content for each persona, internal sales, and success teams could use versions of the same content. By using the WorkRamp content library, Qualified created focused product training and improved their ramp time.

💡Take action: Establish communication channels and regular meetings between both teams to align strategies, share insights, and drive continuous improvement.

3. Provide great customer service

Efficient customer service is crucial to resolve issues quickly, ensuring customer satisfaction, and fostering loyalty. Plus, 93 percent of customers will likely make repeat purchases with companies that offer excellent customer service.

MikMak used WorkRamp to train internal teams and customers, and partners. “Our Go-to-Market team within Customer Success is passionate about ensuring our partners and customers are certified on our platform,” says Sabena Carim, MikMak’s Director of Effectiveness and Enablement. “They wanted a robust way to train them to get the most from our platform and reduce the number of calls to our CSMs. WorkRamp was the perfect solution for that.”

Support teams that respond promptly and effectively to customer inquiries using live chat, email, and phone channels demonstrate a commitment to customer success.

Train customer support staff in product knowledge and communication skills, and provide them with the necessary tools to deliver exceptional service.

Read more: How to Create Effective Customer Service Training

4. Implement customer feedback

The best way to enable your customers is to learn what they need—and the best way to learn what they need is to ask. You can use many methods to gather feedback, such as surveys, social media, and community forums.

“Invite your customers to come and carve out time to allow them to tell their stories,” says Kristi Faltorusso, Chief Customer Officer, ClientSuccess. “And you can’t be afraid of customers who have a negative experience to share. A story is a story, and that’s how we learn. That’s how we get better. So invite customers to come. It’s more powerful if you hear what’s working or not from them.”

The feedback you receive will help you refine product features or develop new resources. That means you can provide a better experience and deliver greater value for customers, increasing the likelihood that they will remain loyal to your brand.

Customers want to know their ideas are being taken seriously. Actively seeking and implementing customer feedback demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement and customer success.  

5. Offer customized upsells 

Personalized upsell opportunities help customers win by offering them additional products or services.

Based on a customer’s usage patterns, suggest upgrading to a higher-tier plan with advanced features tailored to their needs. 

Let’s say you sell project management software to other businesses. One of your customers, a mid-sized marketing agency, often exceeds its subscription plan’s user limit, which causes disruptions.

You suggest upgrading to a higher-tier plan with advanced time tracking and resource management features. Providing a customized solution helps the customer streamline their processes and improve their efficiency. 

Bottom line: Use customer data to identify upsell opportunities, and create personalized offers that fit your customers’ needs.

6. Turn loyal customers into brand advocates

A brand advocate is any person who generates trust in your brand by sharing positive comments and sentiments, like leaving a rave review of your product or recommending your brand to a friend. Research shows that 92 percent of consumers trust word-of-mouth marketing, while 76 percent trust “regular” people more than advertisements, making brand advocacy a powerful—and cost-effective—tactic for building buzz.

Loyal customers can become powerful brand advocates, driving word-of-mouth referrals and strengthening your reputation. A company might create a referral program, rewarding customers for recommending their products or services to friends and colleagues.

Your organization might consider creating a referral program and rewarding customers for recommending your products or services to their friends and colleagues. The key is to identify your most loyal customers by analyzing data, then provide them with incentives and opportunities to share their positive experiences—for example, through testimonials, case studies, or social media engagement.

Improve your customer enablement plan today

Customer enablement plays a pivotal role in ensuring customer satisfaction and retention. By implementing a well-rounded strategy that includes a robust LMS and customized upsells, you can help customers maximize the value of your products and services. 

The Learning Cloud from WorkRamp can help you create on-demand training targeted at your customers, teaching them how to maximize your product’s value. That leads to better product adoption rates, greater customer loyalty and retention, and less strain on your customer support team, enabling you to go farther—faster.

Want to learn more? Contact us to schedule a free demo. 

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Michael Keenan

WorkRamp Contributor

Michael is a SaaS marketer living in Guadalajara, Mexico. Through storytelling and data-driven content, his focus is providing valuable insight and advice on issues that prospects and customers care most about. He’s inspired by learning people’s stories, climbing mountains, and traveling with his partner and Xoloitzcuintles.

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