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LEARN Recap: Win Big With Customer Education

At our debut virtual summit WorkRamp LEARN, nearly two dozen industry leaders shared expert insights on learning and development (L&D), customer education, revenue enablement, and human resources (HR). 

In his panel Win Big With Customer Education, Dave Derington, Director of Customer Education at ServiceRocket and Co-Host of CELab: The Customer Education Laboratory, shares actionable strategies for businesses to build better, more efficient customer education programs. 

Read on to discover key takeaways you can put into practice—today.  

What is customer education? 

What is customer education, and why is it important for your business? 

Both of those questions share the same answer: customer education is all about teaching customers, whether they’re clients, employees, or partners, how to achieve the best possible outcomes from your product. That translates to increased revenue, decreased costs, and other measurable benefits for your business. 

While new trends are always evolving—customer education has three basic goals: 

  1. Changing the way people (and teams) behave
  2. Lowering the barriers to value
  3. Improving how well people work

In short, it’s about working to ensure that your customers are successful

Follow these 6 best practices to improve your customer education program 

So—what’s the best way to approach this challenge? 

No matter what industry you’re in or how large (or small) your business might be, any organization can level up its customer education program by focusing on six core values or best practices that Dave calls “the customer education manifesto.”

Here are the six points he recommends keeping top of mind to help guide you—and your customers—on the path to bigger wins: 

  1. Guide customers to value instead of educating them about every feature, which can be overwhelming. Keep things simple and focus on why this product helps the customer. 
  2. Build scalable customer education programs instead of relying on customization.
  3. Lead with data that’s focused on outcomes over activity. How useful does the product continue to be in the long term?
  4. Focus on being agile—not perfect—and getting to market ASAP. “Why? Because your customer, your employee, and your partner are in pain today. They don’t have time to wait.”   
  5. Design experiences your customers want to learn from—not the same old dry, boring content. Make it entertaining and engaging, like educational content on YouTube and TikTok.
  6. Serve customers when and where they need you—in other words, don’t make them do the work. Remember, these are real people who need solutions fast.

Customer education trends and how can your business can use them

Dave identifies three key trends in customer education: video content, product convergence, and the overall focus and language of customer education 

Language and focus

You must be attuned to the customer, putting the customer before the education.

It’s vital to speak the language of customer success with a focus on metrics and pain points like churn, retention, long-term customer value (LTV), and customer acquisition cost (CAC).

Read more: 7 Customer Education Metrics to Measure Success

Video Content 

Your educational content must be aligned with how people want to consume content—which, as data increasingly shows, is video.  

Create short, interesting, and informative videos, like popular “how-to” content on YouTube. You’re looking to replicate people’s experience on YouTube but within your learning management system (LMS).

Product Convergence 

Prioritize budget-friendly, multi-functional solutions that can solve two (or more) problems with a single product or platform instead of relying on multiple tools. 

Also, promote collaboration across teams and departments. 

Identify your company’s stage in the maturity model

Whether it’s misaligned messaging, knowledge gaps, information silos, or all of the above, organizational growth often means organizational chaosand that chaos costs valuable time and money. 

Fortunately, there’s good news: you can control the chaos by using a maturity model, a growth model designed to help you think strategically about how to build an educational program that will drive greater customer success. 

There are four basic stages in the maturity model: 

  • Stage 1 — Reacting
  • Stage 2 — Performing
  • Stage 3 — Scaling
  • Stage 4 — Optimizing 

In your program’s early stages, you might be measuring simple metrics like completion rates and user engagement on the platform—but as your program matures, it’s important to start tying those metrics to ROI and actionable results like churn, customer health, and revenue growth. 

The goal is to align enablement, marketing, and other departments across your organization so that you can avoid duplicating your efforts—and get products to market faster. 

Tying it all together: Combining enablement with education for  scalability and efficiency 

Dave recommends building a customer education flywheel, which helps bring everyone at your organization—from enablement to L&D and beyond—into alignment with each other. 

This makes it easier to work together without wasting time on duplicative tasks or avoidable miscommunications. 

The three main benefits of taking this approach are: 

  1. Binding content updates to your product development lifecycle  
  2. Leveraging and coordinating your efforts with greater efficiency 
  3. Sharing knowledge to affect scale  

Last but not least, you should also consider designating a knowledge czar, committee, or panel—an expert (or team of experts) on the “hows” and “whys” of the product. 

With support from executive leadership, your knowledge czar (or committee) also plays another key role: helping to keep different teams and departments aligned, such as marketing, enablement, and customer support.  

4 steps to win big with customer education

The upshot for businesses? If your goal is to level up your customer education game, there are four steps you need to take:  

  1. Figure out where you stand in the maturity model
  2. Develop a company-wide strategy with support from your C-level leadership.  
  3. Start with small steps or “experiments” guided by your data—and don’t be afraid of failure 
  4. Leverage automation to help increase efficiency

As you go through each of these steps, keep collaboration top of mind. As Dave emphasizes, “We all need to be working at the same time on the same goals to divide and conquer—that’s how we win big in customer education.” 

And with buy-in from your executive leadership, you’ll have the support you need to really bring it home. 

Get scalable customer education solutions that work smarter, not harder 

As Dave puts it, “Learning a new product is really taking a journey into parts unknown.” So why not bring a map to guide your customers in the right direction? 

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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Emily Homrok

WorkRamp Contributor
Emily Homrok is a freelance copywriter with over eight years of writing experience. She graduated from Drexel University in 2011.

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