How to Keep Customers Engaged Through Ongoing Training
April 25, 2022
Education is one of the best ways to retain customers. Research shows that ongoing training increases product adoption, boosts renewal rates, and improves customer satisfaction scores. Some 40 percent of respondents named customer education an important tool for reducing churn.
Maybe you’ve built a program, but engagement isn’t quite what you expected. Your customers’ attention is divided among many things: from daily standup calls to meeting performance expectations and managing teams. And let’s not even start on work-life balance and increasing workloads, making it even harder for them to focus on your program.
A customer education program can help keep learners engaged and energized amidst competing priorities. Discover eight ways to create an effective customer ed program that increases engagement and retention.
How to keep customers engaged through ongoing training
1. Create an academy
A customer academy has the potential to keep customers engaged, especially if you’re a software company. Take HubSpot as an example. You can take free marketing, sales, and customer support courses within its HubSpot Academy program.
The courses are made up of on-demand classes taught by industry experts to help people advance their careers and businesses. Classes are geared toward in-house professionals and business owners. After completing a course, you can add a recognized certificate to your LinkedIn profile.
The HubSpot Academy serves as a lead generation and customer retention tool for the brand. By building an academy for your organization, you can:
- Work with recognized experts to establish authority in your field
- Gather data on your audience so you can better understand their needs
- Discover what course content customers are interested in
- Gain positive PR and organic traffic
Interested in building an academy for your product or service? Learn How Kustomer Built a Customer Education Program From the Ground Up.
2. Offer certifications
Certifications are another smart way to keep customers engaged through learning. Perhaps your team is lean and doesn’t have the resources to build an entire academy at the moment. In that case, certifications and credentials are a great alternative.
Demand for certifications and credentials has increased during the pandemic. Certifications and Badges create brand champions who genuinely advocate for your product, helping customers become better acquainted with your products and services.
According to Sabena Carim, Director of Effectiveness and Enablement at e-commerce software solution MikMak, certifications positively impact product adoption. To educate customers and partners on MikMak, her team reuses the same content for internal training. Using WorkRamp, they can create branded websites for customers to take self-service certifications.
Sabena’s goal for certification is simple: reduce customer churn.
“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.”
— Sabena Carim, Director of Effectiveness and Enablement, MikMak
The more you develop a certification program, the more weight it holds in your industry. As your program becomes a popular certification, it will encourage customers to engage with your learning content and complete the program.
3. Provide blended learning experiences
To say instructor-led training is oversaturated is an understatement. Blended learning, also known as hybrid learning, combines educational materials with opportunities for online interaction.
Blended learning tactics include:
- Recorded videos
A modern learning management platform will be the key to success with a blended learning program. A recent customer education survey found that 56 percent of respondents use online training to improve their learning offerings.
Learning management platforms help increase engagement through online training so that people can take courses at their own pace with pre-recorded or scheduled instructor-led courses.
4. Format learning content correctly
Researchers have found that a typical learner’s attention span is between 10 and 15 minutes. Your content should be easy to consume and stress-free to keep people engaged. Customers are busy enough with their daily responsibilities. In order to achieve a high completion rate and satisfaction score, content should be formatted to meet various learning styles.
Customer service CRM Kustomer takes advantage of formatting by keeping learning content short, between 3 to 5 minutes per lesson. If a lesson ran longer than 10 minutes, they’d break it into a new section. Kristi Thurston, Kustomer’s Learning Solutions Manager, recommends “focus first on what the learning experience will be like, then fit the content into that.”
Kustomer uses a fun, upbeat style for learning content. They don’t use formal slides. Instead, they create high-energy, exciting videos with a casual voice and tone to engage their audience. As part of its interactive strategy, the brand uses a mix of Flashcards and Buttons to keep learners engaged.
“The moment that something is passive, distractions can come in. So, if you’re keeping them active and things are visually changing, you’re keeping something interesting. Create visual interest and an activity to do.”
— Kristi Thurston, Learning Solutions Manager, Kustomer
Guidelines to follow when creating your learning content:
- Lessons should be 3 to 5 minutes
- Break up longer lessons (over 10 minutes) into sections
- Limit courses to 20 minutes
- Show videos instead of slides
- Make learning content more engaging by adding interactive elements
- Deliver lessons with a casual, high-energy voice and tone
5. Gamify learning
Gamification involves adding gameplay elements to learning activities such as point scoring, competitions, and awards. Now called “edutainment,” gamification encourages program engagement and makes learning fun — keeping customers active longer.
Badges provide insight into your overall customer learning strategy. You can see which clients complete specific workflows and tailor future courses by tracking badges earned.
6. Personalize training
Learning is fueled by personalization. Imagine starting a degree program that didn’t explain how you would graduate. How motivated would you be to complete the course?
Learners want to know how much time and energy they’ll need to invest. Establish a clear learning path to show why they need the course, what they have to do, and what results they can expect.
Consider these factors when designing a learning path:
- Key features: What product features are critical to their success?
- Pricing plan: Can they access every tool mentioned in the program?
- Top use cases: Are you training customers to excel in their top use cases?
Find out where your customers are on their learning journey by asking them. Create a learning path by starting with a quiz that determines their knowledge of a particular topic. Your customer education programs will be more engaging if you provide a personalized learning path for your users.
7. Introduce social elements
The promise of social learning— be it with employees, partners, or customers— is improving engagement and learning retention. A recent study found that 91 percent of learning and development professionals believe teams that learn new skills together are more successful. Individuals who used social features watched up to 30x more learning content than those who didn’t.
You can connect with customers and partners through social activities such as:
- Slack channels where customers can connect and discuss learning material and showcase badges and certifications. Learners can take advantage of Slack to receive immediate support and stay updated on new product features.
- Collaborative training opportunities such as group classes or workshops, in-person and online.
- Taking classes from experts with experience with your product and providing access to them.
While customers aren’t part of your internal team, they still enjoy connecting with other people like themselves. Customers will be more engaged if you can help them network and enjoy each others company while educating them at the same time.
8. Build a knowledge library
Building a knowledge library or a database with helpful articles is another way to improve engagement in your customer education program. Think of your knowledge library as your customers’ Wikipedia.
You can have experts in your organization write articles based on customer experiences. Your best customers can also contribute articles to the database to help others. This enables people to solve problems without your help and can increase the satisfaction of your customer education program.
Continuous training to maximize retention and upsells
Customer education isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it strategy. You want to assist customers toward their long-term goals even if they adopt your product or service quickly. The tips above will help you provide excellent training and guidance to your customers throughout their lifetime, maximizing retention and creating upsell opportunities.
Learn more about how WorkRamp can help you build a fun and effective customer education program. Contact us to request a free demo.
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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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