If your organization sells complex products, your customers will likely need guidance on how to set up and use those products to extract the maximum amount of value as possible.
Just as your organization develops training programs for your employees and partners, you will also need to develop training programs for customers, as well.
As we covered in our previous post, the benefits of implementing a customer training program include:
- Increased customer engagement, satisfaction, and retention
- Increased word-of-mouth and referrals
- Reduced support costs
- Increased revenue and profit margins
To accomplish these goals, you must have a customer training tool that is flexible enough to rapidly and securely deliver up-to-date information, training, coaching, and certifications in an engaging way, accessible by anyone, from any device, anywhere in the world.
While many organizations have turned to traditional Learning Management Systems (LMS) in the past to attempt to carry out these tasks, they eventually realize that a traditional corporate LMS is simply not an effective solution.
In fact, a recent LMS trend poll conducted by Brandon Hall found that over 58% of the companies surveyed said they were looking to replace their traditional LMS with a corporate learning tool that would better meet their business needs and objectives.
If you’re considering implementing a traditional LMS into your organization to train, guide, and enable your customers for success, be aware of these key, missing features:
1. Dynamic Learning Capabilities
A traditional LMS provides little more than a static list of resources, laid out much like a college course catalog. Search capabilities are extremely limited, and there’s little in the way of direction or suggestions on what content to consume next.
Unfortunately, this just isn’t how we, as users, interact with technology anymore. Learning is seamlessly incorporated into the workflow, rather than being a separate, designated activity.
When we need to learn something, we search for specific topics and find information and answers in the form of videos, webinars, blog posts, graphics, and other online content.
Platforms like Google, YouTube, Netflix, and Spotify learn our habits and interests, and then suggest more content for us to consume based on our past activity.
In the same way, your customers should have the freedom to select the courses and pieces of content that are most relevant to their individual needs at that specific moment in time. They should also be able to skip around inside courses to find the exact information they need, in whatever order they prefer.
Your customers need a training tool that provides them total freedom and control, making learning exciting, engaging, and far more useful.
Unfortunately, a traditional LMS fails to provide these “dynamic learning” features found in other tools:
Flexible, Open Content Creation
A traditional corporate LMS is a closed system that does not allow you to incorporate learning resources from outside the organization. You are limited strictly to the training resources created by administrators within your organization.
Because it is very difficult to constantly create a vast amount of up-to-date content, traditional corporate LMSs are extremely limited in the value they can provide learners.
Ideally, you should have the flexibility to create and share training and information in whatever length and format you choose, rather than being limited to the long, rigid, traditional course structure of an LMS.
In addition, your administrators should be able to add relevant and useful content from any source, both within and outside the organization. When content can be sourced and curated from a wide array of sources, learning options expand drastically.
The right customer training tool should support any kind of content you already have, and allow you to upload content in any format, such as PDF, video files, Google docs, blog posts, YouTube videos, HTML packages, SCORM packages, and more.
Unfortunately, a traditional LMS will rarely, if ever, provide this kind of flexibility.
Recommended Learning Based on Past Activity
Your customer training tool should provide intuitive navigation that clearly shows users additional content related to courses they are currently taking, recommended courses based on their previous activity, and personalized content tailored to their specific needs.
These personalized suggestions provide clear “next steps” for users, reducing confusion, and maximizing usage and ROI.
Live, Instructor-Led Training and Two-Way Interaction
Watching a pre-recorded video lesson is sufficient in many situations. To maximize engagement and participation, your customer training tool should provide the ability to conduct live, online, video classes where instructors can present information, and customers can engage and ask clarifying questions whenever they get stuck or are confused by the course material.
Self-Labs and Virtual Machines
Your customer training tool should be able to provide learners with access to a virtual machine instance of your software on their browsers with no downloads or installs. This allows customers to get hands-on experience using your tech, without compromising real data or breaking anything.
Custom Learning Paths
In order to maximize user adoption and retention of information, you must be able to send your customers down pre-defined “learning paths” according to their individual needs. A cluttered, one-size-fits-all solution simply won’t cut it.
You need to provide exactly the right content, to the right people, at the right time. This requires that you be able to organize your content based on roles, topics, categories, skills, products, etc.
Some organizations, for example, use their customer training tool to create learning paths that include a combination of live video classes with two-way interaction, classroom learning, self-labs, live practice, and a final assessment.
This kind of dynamic training simply isn’t possible with a traditional LMS.
With a traditional LMS, there’s no added incentive to encourage users to continue learning and acquiring skills. It’s simply a linear, boring series of lectures and quizzes. Because of this, it’s often a painful, uphill battle for customers to complete the training and pass the assessments.
To solve this problem, many organizations are starting to implement “gamification” into their customer training, with surprising results.
According to TrainingIndustry.com:
“In any learning context, students often feel overwhelmed and unsure of their ability to understand and master the material. What a system of progressive rewards does is present learning in a more inviting and less demanding context: a game.
People gravitate to something they expect to be fun. Sitting and listening to someone read a story is far more interesting to the average second-grader than sitting by themselves and filling in a worksheet. Being asked to earn five gold coins by working out the answers to five introductory questions about themselves is often a better alternative to new students than sitting through a two-hour lecture followed by an intimidating test.
This phenomenon has been documented already. Deloitte saw a 50 percent reduction in the time requirements for training and has also experienced much better retention than before their training was reorganized.”
One example of gamification in customer training is to provide dashboards to customers so they can see how far they’ve come, and also see how close they are to completing a course and receiving their next certification.
In addition, you can spark a little competitive spirit among your customers by providing leaderboards so they can compare their progress with that of their peers.
Points, badges, and trophies provide further incentive for continual learning by recognizing customers for their hard work and progress.
Make sure to look for a customer training tool that provides these gamification features.
3. Mobile Options
According to Google, 80% of the global workforce is made up of deskless workers. While these workers may not be doing work in an office from a desktop computer, the vast majority of them are working and receiving communication from their employers using a mobile device.
What customers need in an on-the-go, globally-connected world is the ability to quickly access bite-sized knowledge from their mobile device, as they are used to being able to do with virtually every other service in their daily life.
Your organization needs to be able to give your customers access to your library of content (latest training, best practices, up-to-date product information, etc.) whether they’re at work, in the field, at home, or on their morning commute into the office.
4. Advanced Reporting
In order for your customer training tool to be successful and provide positive ROI, it must help you achieve these key outcomes:
- Ensure your customers are knowledgeable about how to use and fully extract maximum value from your products.
- Help existing customers to develop their skills and knowledge so they can continue to use your products to succeed.
- Help Customer Support and Success teams monitor the progress and accomplishments of customers and step in to provide additional training and support when needed.
Unfortunately, a traditional LMS is not outcome-oriented. The sole purpose of an LMS is to simply provide knowledge through training.
While a traditional LMS may provide simple reports on test scores and display the number of users who completed a course, they typically lack the ability to create in-depth, customized reports on things such as:
- What impact training is having on specific business objectives
- How much time a customer is spending on any given course
- What content was accessed by customers (and which content is unnecessary)
- Which materials are being sent to customers that increase engagement and retention
- Where in a course customers are getting stuck or confused
- How many attempts it took for a customer to pass a quiz or exam
- What skill gaps customers have, and where additional training is needed
- Data visualization to help administrators identify patterns and trends
These are the kinds of advanced analytics and reporting capabilities you need in order to see the direct impact on business objectives that your training is having, and to make any necessary adjustments or improvements.
Instead of a traditional LMS, what your organization truly needs is a customer training tool that is built specifically to improve these outcomes.
If your organization has a strong culture of training and skill development, and you have knowledge that might be valuable to individuals outside your organization, you can monetize this knowledge by selling it as a course.
In order to do this, you need a customer training tool that will allow you to charge for your content through an e-commerce platform that you can set up without any coding.
Ideally, you should be able to monetize ILT, VILT, Hands-on Labs, and On-demand subscriptions. Trainees should be able to log in, use their credit card to pay, and get immediate access to your material.
What Should My Organization Use Instead of a Traditional LMS?
Unfortunately, most LMSs lack the flexibility to truly place the customers’ needs at the center.
A customer training platform like Raven360, on the other hand, gives you the ability to help your customers build a flexible learning path that fills in the gaps of their knowledge.
A customer learning platform like Raven360 serves as a valuable resource that your customers can rely on for answers, useful information, and continual progress toward their long-term goals.
When your customers are fully-engaged and know exactly how to extract maximum value from your products, satisfaction, retention, revenue, and profits all increase dramatically.
Why Choose Raven360’s LMS for Your Customer Training Program
Raven360 is an enterprise-grade, scalable platform that helps fast-growing companies with high-complexity products painlessly train employees, customers, and partners.
Raven360’ secure, cloud-based platform allows you to onboard faster, train better, and retain more customers with these powerful features:
Upload content of any format: Raven360 supports PDF, video files, Google docs, HTML packages, SCORM packages and more. You can author your own material from within the platform or bring in outside content.
- Seamlessly integrate with your existing tools: Integrate with Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box to access everything you already have from one single dashboard, at the right time.
- Always up-to-date: Upload your training material once and users will always have access to the latest version and you won’t have to update your docs on multiple platforms.
- Accessible anywhere, on any device, 24/7: Allow users to access training on the go and at their own pace. Raven360 works on iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux. Users can even access content while offline.
- Dynamic learning experiences: Go from open classrooms where users can access all the material at once to pre-defined learning paths where you dictate how the content is consumed. Manage how you feed your content to increase knowledge retention.
- Self-paced labs: Learners can access a virtual machine instance of your software on their browsers —no downloads, no installs. They get hands-on experience using your tech, without compromising real data or breaking stuff.
- Generate extra revenue: Sell subscription-based trainings through a simple e-commerce platform.
- Keep sensitive information secure: Assign individual and group level access to your content. Prevent confidential information from leaving the platform or landing on the wrong hands, with industry-leading security.