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LEARN Recap: Power Tools to Scale Customer Success

The most successful organizations focus on providing a positive customer experience (CX). But the customer experience doesn’t end after a purchase is made. Users need the right tools and resources on an ongoing basis to help them excel in their roles and get the most value from your product or service.

A robust customer education program can turn customers into power users, reduce churn, and turn users into loyal brand advocates. Equipping customers with the right training is essential to their success and yours. 

The Technology & Services Industry Association (TSIA) found that after training, 68 percent of customers use the product more, 56 percent use more product features, and 87 percent said they could use it more independently. 

Driving those kinds of results means lowering the cost of customer support and increasing customer loyalty. But how do you scale customer success and customer education

In this session from WorkRamp LEARN Spring, Amy Elenius, Manager of Customer Education, Gorgias, shares her insights for building an effective customer education program to improve customer success.  

Read more: How to Use Customer Education to Improve Customer Experience

What is scaled customer success?

At Gorgias, scaled customer success is crucial to decreasing time to value for customers. In addition, speeding up these wins means customers are more loyal, more likely to renew, and more likely to become advocates for the brand.

With scaled customer success, you can provide a five-star customer experience without needing a dedicated one-on-one customer success manager. This is especially important for SaaS companies like Gorgias, where most revenue comes from a large group of lower-ACV customers. 

To scale customer success, Amy’s team focuses on removing barriers to product adoption and decreasing time-to-value through customer education. 

Read more: Do More With Less and Scale Customer Success

How customer education provides a competitive edge

An incredible 73 percent of consumers say that CX is a significant factor in buying from one company or another, so it’s clear that having a great customer experience helps you stand out from your competitors. 

Customer education is the other side of the coin, helping you retain your customers. As Amy points out, many companies have webinars or other customer education assets that happen organically, but they’re not necessarily strategic in promoting and tracking customer education.

Instead, you need a dedicated team to plan and develop customer education and a clear process to track the impact. That’s when customer education starts to show a real return on investment

When you have an educational function as part of your customer success plan, you’ll get faster product adoption, higher NPS scores, and greater retention—customer education metrics every organization wants to improve. 

Read more: 5 Benefits of a Customer Education Program

How to be strategic about customer education content

How do you decide how to deliver customer education content? Should it be on-demand, live, or a combination of both? What are some best practices for creating content that engages learners and drives retention?

While there’s no silver bullet or perfect playbook, Amy offers her advice on customer education strategy. 

Designing your customer education program

Gorgias uses two key considerations to prioritize content. 

Which one-to-one functions are they trying to replicate? 

If you can think of your customer academy or community as a person and their specific role, you can use those ideas to create a framework for that part of your education program.

For example, at Gorgias, the community and webinars take on the role of a customer success manager. The help center operates as a support agent. The academy is like an onboarding manager. 

This strategy helps the team easily explain why each part of the customer education program is essential and drives success for the company.

Focus on areas where your customers see the most friction, then overcome the obstacles to adoption

To do this, you need data—a lot of it.

At Gorgias, Amy’s team looks at several data points:

  • Which search terms are frequently used in the help center?
  • Which modules are the most popular in the academy?
  • Which topics drive the most support tickets?
  • Which features have the lowest adoption rates in the first 30 days?

Amy notes that if something affects 90 percent of your customers and you can move the needle for that one thing, you’re impacting a huge group of customers. 

Choosing live vs. on-demand training

While there’s no hard-and-fast rule for deciding between live and on-demand training, Amy shares several factors to consider.

  • Which skills are critical to using the core functions of the product? Resources on these skills should be available anytime, and teams should focus on creating on-demand training.
  • Will a live Q&A session elevate the outcome or create a better experience? If so, the topic is a good candidate for a live training webinar.
  • Is there prerequisite knowledge for this topic? If so, self-paced, on-demand training is ideal. Users can pause the course, visit a reference document or related resource, and get the necessary information to move forward.

Best practices for customer education

As you create or revamp your customer education materials, keep these tips in mind.

  • Use accessible language and avoid jargon or complex words that users may not be familiar with
  • Cater to multimodal learning wherever possible: include visual, auditory, and kinesthetic content as well as examples and use cases
  • Use microlearning to keep learning content short, relevant, and engaging
  • Don’t get hung up on information retention: instead, teach users where to find information when they need it

“We live in this sort of this open book world where memory is far less important than resourcefulness,” Amy says. “If you need something, you go to Google, Chat GPT, or another resource. In SaaS especially, we don’t expect our users to know every detail and to know it from day one. There’s so much out there, and there are so many details that change all the time. So it’s more critical to ensure that your learners know where to find the answer than to have the answer from the get-go.”

Read more: How to Improve Customer Education in 4 Steps

How to get learners to engage and keep coming back

Once you have your customer education resources, how can you get learners in the door and keep them coming back? 

Amy admits it’s a delicate science, and the team is still working on optimizing retention and distributing content. However, she says that introducing customer education early and often is essential. 

Gorgias includes education as part of their sales conversations as a value proposition. They focus on getting several mentions of customer education in front of prospects as early as possible.

This strategy works well—80 percent of first-time Academy students sign up for a second course. There’s also a feedback program to ensure training is engaging and has high-quality content. 

Gorgias keeps courses short and promotes the next course in the sequence at the end of training to encourage students to move forward.

Read more: How to Create a Successful Customer Ed Program

How to measure customer education ROI

What metrics should you use to measure the impact of your customer education program? Amy shares what her team focuses on at Gorgias. 

“We are big on data here. We track everything,” she says. “There’s a number for everything here, which has been really helpful, especially in the early stages of education, to see exactly what’s going on.”

She uses three steps: track engagement with customer education, link that data with user behavior, and then correlate the impact of that behavior on key metrics. 

In 2022, Gorgias launched its Academy and customer community and saw the following results during the year. 

  • Delivered 238,000 minutes of training (five and a half months worth)
  • Had 7,500 new learners and 13,900 course enrollments
  • Had 34,000 educational video views
  • Delivered 253 webinars to almost 3,000 attendeesHad 1,942 members join their new community

 

What was the impact? Amy shares that:

  • New customer onboarding time was reduced 25%
  • Customers that engaged with the Academy generated 223% more revenue for themselves than those that didn’t
  • Accounts engaged in customer education have a 5.2-point higher NPS
  • Customers rated courses an average of 9.25 out of 10

Read more: 7 Reasons to Create a Customer Academy

5 Quick tips for improving customer education

Amy shared five “hot tips” for improving customer education at the end of the session.

  1. Make friends with data. Track everything and use it to prove impact.
  2. Don’t delay the launch of your customer education program—start small and iterate quickly in response to feedback.
  3. Get feedback from customers and let them guide you. No one in your organization knows what it’s like to encounter your product for the first time, but they do.
  4. Reach out to other customer education experts and teams. We can all help each other and champion each other.
  5. Have a tech stack that saves you time.

“I probably use eight tools consistently throughout the day, with WorkRamp being one of the biggest,” Amy says. “If I didn’t have this tech stack that was carefully selected, I think my job would need three people. So tech is really important. Do your research and spend some time finding the right tools.”

Watch on-demand replays from WorkRamp LEARN Spring for more actionable tips and expert insights.

 

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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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