What is Customer Training + How to Develop & Manage an Effective Training Program
In this post:
Customer training is educating your customers on how to use your products or services. You can provide customer training at scale to anticipate users’ needs and proactively provide training content to help them solve common pain points.
Effective customer training can be a competitive advantage, especially in a crowded industry with minimal differentiation.
Providing customer education and helpful resources can strengthen your relationship with your customers, from attracting them to continuing to pay for your products or services.
The problem: One report found almost half of the customers surveyed haven’t used education offerings from the bands they’ve purchased from. A quarter of customers aren’t given the option altogether.
Educating your customers is a sound investment in their success and yours.
For every dollar companies spend on customer education, they earn $6.70 per year. In this article, discover how to produce and maintain a profitable customer education program for your organization.
How can customer training maximize customer value?
Customer value measures how much users think your products and services are worth compared to competitors.
The goal is to raise customer value as high as possible. It plays a role in acquiring new customers and maximizing revenue from those you already have. When users have a positive customer experience and see the value in your product, they’re bought into your brand and are reluctant to switch providers.
Read more: How to Use Customer Education to Improve Customer Experience
Training helps to maximize customer value because users truly understand your product offering.
Through customer education, they’ll learn how to use your product to solve their challenges—a competitive advantage that can set you apart.
Customer training example: Matillion
Matillion is a SaaS company that makes it easy for businesses to automate and accelerate work using data.
Its product suite could be interpreted as confusing or advanced to some customers. To ease those customers into purchasing, Matillion invested in WorkRamp’s Customer Learning Cloud to scale customer education.
Matillion created an online academy to educate customers using:
- Badges and certifications to promote learner engagement
- A selection of learning formats, including knowledge checks, videos, and flip cards
- WorkRamp’s API to pull information from their customer training portal into their own data warehouse to make better-informed decisions
More than 9,000 customers have enrolled in Matillion’s customer training program within just two years. Some 5,500 of them completed the course, resulting in 596 certified customers in a year.
Erick Ferreria, Senior Data Manager, Matillion Academy, says: “If you know how to use a product, you’ll feel more confident and engaged. That’s what WorkRamp helps us deliver with Matillion Academy. It’s been so impactful to driving product education and engagement at scale.”
Benefits of implementing a customer training strategy
Now that we know what customer training is, let’s look at the advantages of implementing a customer training strategy in your business.
Improved customer metrics
Businesses use customer success metrics to determine how happy users are. You can tie these customer metrics into company-wide key performance indicators (KPIs) to forecast future financial performance.
Common metrics influenced by customer training include:
- Product adoption. Some 68% of customers report using products more after training. When customers are engaged, there’s the opportunity to upsell or cross-sell other products and services.
- Customer satisfaction. A study by Forrester found companies that invest in customer training see an 11.6% increase in customer satisfaction. Often, these happy customers are more inclined to share your products with their network. New customers are most receptive to this type of word-of-mouth referral.
- Customer loyalty. The same study found that companies with a formalized customer education program see a 7.4% increase in customer retention. This retention can lead to greater profits for your company—just a 5% increase in retention can grow company revenue by up to 95%.
Reduced ramp time
Ramp time is the average time it takes for a customer to buy your product and become fully engaged.
With a customer training strategy, you’ll improve satisfaction faster and limit customers’ time to second-guess whether their purchase was worth it.
You might also see a reduction in refund requests or customer churn as a direct result of proactive customer training.
Read more: Signs it’s Time to Invest in a Customer Education Program + Checklist
Fewer customer support needs
Did you know that the average company spends 11 percent of its annual recurring revenue on customer support?
Customer training, however, can limit these costs by decreasing the volume of tickets your support team has to process.
Your team can signpost customers toward learning materials that answer their questions, significantly reducing the time spent per inquiry.
“In times like these, organizations are looking to identify cost centers to be efficient about spend. It’s more important than ever to invest and be able to do more with less.”
— Tony Vaughn, Director of Customer Outcomes Enablement at ServiceNow
Plus, learners can use your customer education academy to find the answers they need—no human interaction is required. No wonder companies with a customer education program experience an average 6.1 percent decrease in support costs.
Potential for more brand ambassadors
For some organizations, the biggest benefit of training customers is that they become brand ambassadors.
Ambassadors go out of their way to promote and share your business with their network.
Some 93 percent of customers trust this type of endorsement (more than review sites, influencer endorsements, or advertising).
It’s exactly what happened for MikMak. Sabena Vibhakar, who used WorkRamp as MikMak’s Director of Effectiveness and Enablement, 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.”
Customer training best practices
Ready to start training your customers to get the most value from your product and excel in their roles?
Follow these best practices to ensure your customer training program remains helpful and effective.
Determine your ideal customers
The first step in any customer training program is to determine the type of person you’ll be educating.
A buyer persona details the common characteristics your ideal customers share. This can include demographic data (such as their age, gender, and income) or psychographic data (their thoughts, feelings, and concerns).
Pay attention to psychographic data—particularly regarding customers using your product. What do your happiest customers rave about? Who was your product made to serve?
Once you can answer these questions, you will craft more effective marketing and sales enablement content and know how to best educate the customers who fit your buyer persona.
Identify gaps and set training goals
Once you know who you’ll be educating, comb through any existing learning materials and set goals for your customer training program—both for your company and the customer.
Say you have a series of product walk-throughs that guide new customers through setting up their accounts, for example.
- The first step in this process highlighted that most customers use your products to solve a certain problem, yet the available training doesn’t resolve the solution using your product
- Similarly, you find that 20% of customers drop off within the first month of joining your platform
In both cases, it makes sense to produce a new customer onboarding program that features your existing material alongside a new module.
A customer’s learning objective would be to become familiar with the interface. Your company’s training goal is to reduce churn.
Use customer training software
You’ve filled the gaps in your customer training program. But when customers are looking for learning materials, they can’t find them. They’re scouring their inbox to find the video you sent immediately after signing up.
Make the process easier with a customer learning management system. You can organize training materials in an easy-to-use dashboard and build a branded learning academy.
WorkRamp’s customer LMS also allows you to:
- Create customized learning paths
- Certify customers who take (and pass!) your training courses
- Quiz customers at the end of each module to reinforce learning
- Upload a variety of content formats to your academy using an intuitive drag-and-drop editor
Qualified put this into practice with their academy, Qualified University. Their team uses WorkRamp to organize articles, product information, and certifications all in one place.
“We want customers to market for us; they should be shouting from the rooftops about our product,” Tony Vaughn, the former Director of Customer Education at Qualified, shared during a webinar. “Customer education is a type of marketing we can’t pay for. Your program can drive product adoption and build awareness.”
Measure the impact of your efforts
Customer training takes time, money, and effort. Make sure these resources aren’t going to waste by regularly monitoring the impact of your customer training program.
The Learning Cloud fromWorkRamp has native reporting capabilities for admins to create custom reports and track learner progress.
- How many customers have enrolled in your training program
- The percentage of participants who complete each training session, module, or course
- How satisfied customers are with their learning experience
You can integrate WorkRamp’s customer LMS with a suite of business intelligence tools—including Salesforce—to measure the wider impact of customer training on company performance, product adoption, and retention.
Implement the best customer training program
Customer training is a big investment that can pay dividends in the long term.
Use this customer training guide to build and sustain a program that helps your customers succeed.
From product demonstrations to live training sessions, you can improve customer retention, reduce ramp time, and increase overall business performance with a formalized customer training program.
Discover how to use the Learning Cloud to build an effective customer training program. Contact us today to schedule a free, personalized demo.
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- What is an LMS? A Guide to Learning Management Systems June 4, 2023
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Elise Dopson is a freelance writer for B2B SaaS companies. She’s also the co-founder of Peak Freelance and mom to an adorable Spaniel pup.
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