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LEARN Recap: How to Build a Powerful Customer Ed Program

At our half-day virtual summit WorkRamp LEARN, industry experts shared insights and advice on learning and development (L&D), customer education, revenue enablement, and human resources (HR). 

During their panel discussion Customer Ed: What to Focus on and How to Build a Killer Program, Seth Jones, Manager of Scaled Customer Success at Vanta, and Kristi Thurston, Content Strategy Manager at Meta (Kustomer), share what it takes to build a high-quality program to help your organization grow. 

Customer education is vital to engage users, drive cross-sells and upsells, and increase customer retention. A TSIA study found that 68 percent of customers used a product more after training, 56 percent used more features, and 87 percent were able to use the solution more independently. 

However, scaling your customer education program as your business grows takes time and effort. In the current market, teams are looking for ways to improve efficiency without adding head count. But even with these challenges, providing a positive customer experience is essential to retain customers and turn users into brand advocates.

When is it time to build a customer education program?

How do you know it’s time to create a customer education program? Based on the research, the sooner, the better. Forrester found that a formalized customer education program increases bottom-line revenue by 6.2 percent and decreases customer support costs by 6.1 percent.

A customer education program can solve specific problems that companies face. Demonstrating this to leadership can help you make the case that it’s time to invest in a customer education program. “So I think for us, we had two major problems that we were trying to solve,” Jones says. “One was how can we actually engage our customers in onboarding and implementation at scale? Then number two was about identifying the areas our customers are having a hard time getting started with.”

Another important consideration is reducing the strain on your customer success team and implementation managers. For example, if your team spends a lot of time walking customers through in-depth details of how to use your platform, you’re in a great position to create an on-demand program that customers can use to educate themselves.

Read more: Signs it’s Time to Invest in a Customer Education Program

Where do you start when creating your education program?

Knowing where to start can be a significant challenge, especially for small teams. Kristi and Jones advise companies of all sizes to start small. Don’t try to “boil the ocean” in the early stages.

One of the best ways to approach your customer education program is to find out what’s already being done, where that process is successful, and what’s missing. 

Kristi shares her teams’ process: 

“We went to the implementation team, and we said, ‘what’s the order you guys go in? How do you follow the customer to give them the best understanding?’ Because we already know they’ve been doing this a long time and probably already have a really good formula that works. But we also went and chatted with other teams that were downstream, and we said, what are some of the downstream impacts that grind your gears?”

If you don’t already have customer training, you can create it by mapping the customer’s journey using your solution. Create a map based on the activities that make a happy, engaged customer. This gives you goals and milestones you want every customer to hit, so you can create your program and content accordingly.

Read more: 7 Customer Education Metrics to Measure the Success of Your Program

How do you get users to adopt your new customer education process?

Kristi and Jones share that you need your team’s full support to encourage customers to use the new educational portal. It’s helpful to name it, so it’s easy to direct customers to “Go to Kustomer University if you have questions.” 

If you have customer service personnel or implementation teams that help onboard customers, they can be your first line of support to encourage customers to use your new program. You can also include directions to check out your education program on your website, contact page, and even within your software. 

Or, you can use the creative approach Jones’s team accidentally took—the customer success team offsite happened the week the education program launched. On their out-of-office messages, they included, “If you have questions about Vanta, check out Vanta Learning.” 

As users adopt your customer education program, you can start to track how they’re doing and note improvements in revenue, customer retention, customer support tickets, and more. 

A successful customer engagement program can have a significant impact on your customer experience and your long-term goals. Provide the resources your customers need to benefit from your products and services. Providing a positive customer experience can strengthen customer retention, create upsell opportunities, and increase revenue.

Looking for more actionable tips and insights from People, Revenue, and Customer Success leaders? Don’t miss WorkRamp LEARN Spring, March 23rd at 9 am PT. Get your free ticket!


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Anna Spooner

WorkRamp Contributor

Anna Spooner is a digital strategist and marketer with over 11 years of experience. She writes content for various industries, including SaaS, medical and personal insurance, healthcare, education, marketing, and business. She enjoys the process of putting words around a company’s vision and is an expert at making complex ideas approachable and encouraging an audience to take action. 

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