Most business leaders are familiar with Learning Management Systems (LMS) as a means to train employees on company policies and best practices. While the benefits of training employees are obvious, more organizations are beginning to realize the ROI potential of using an LMS to develop a customer training program, as well.
In this post, we’re going to answer all of your questions about why you should be using an LMS for your customer training program, and how to choose the right LMS for your organization’s unique customer training needs.
What is a Customer Training Program?
Just as your organization develops training programs for internal uses, there are also scenarios in which you will need to develop training programs for stakeholders external to your business, as well. This includes partners, vendors, resellers, and customers.
If your organization sells complex products, your partners, vendors, and resellers need to be fully trained on the entire product line so they can effectively sell and support those products.
Likewise, your customers need guidance on how to use your products in order to extract the maximum value out of them as quickly as possible. To accomplish this, you will need to implement a customer training program.
The Benefits of Implementing a Customer Training Program
While the up-front benefits of implementing a customer training program are obvious, there are many important, long-term benefits that you should also consider, as well:
|Increased Customer Engagement: The faster your customers can dive into your product and extract value out of it, the more likely they are to keep coming back to use it over and over again. A customer training program is the perfect way to walk users step-by-step through the crucial first steps of getting started, so they don’t get lost, confused, frustrated, and give up. This initial stage is where most “churn” happens, so it is critical to get right. The faster you can get customers to a “quick win”, the more likely they are to stick with your product.
|Increased Customer Satisfaction: Customers who aren’t given clear guidance on how to use a product typically have to contact support to get help. Oftentimes, they just get frustrated and move on. A customer training program can reduce the confusion, hassle, and frustration users encounter, inevitably leading to increased customer satisfaction.
|Reduction of Support Costs: Because a customer training program reduces the need for customers to contact support for assistance, you simply won’t have to hire as much support staff, which adds up to enormous, long-term cost savings.
|Increased Customer Retention: Even if you are successful at getting your customers to their initial “quick wins”, you must still be there to assist them in making continual progress toward their long-term goals. By proactively providing training and guidance every step of the way, you minimize churn and maximize customer retention.
|Increased Revenue and Profit Margins: Not only are free-trial users who are trained on how to use your product more likely to upgrade to a paid plan, but existing customers are also more likely to upgrade to higher plans, as well. In addition, the increased satisfaction from your customer training program will also lead to an increase in referrals and word-of-mouth from existing customers, leading to increased revenue, ROI, and higher profit margins.|
Why Use an Learning Management System for Customer Training
An enterprise LMS is specifically built to help organizations quickly implement training programs that are accessible, scalable, and engaging.
For the organization, adding course content is fast and easy, you can control who has access to the information, and progress can be tracked and reviewed. For the user, access to course content is convenient, courses are engaging, and they can progress through the training at their own pace.
All of the features that make an enterprise LMS a great solution for training employees can also be used to implement training programs for customers, as well.
How to Evaluate Different LMS Options for Your Customer Training Program
While there are many enterprise LMS options out there to choose from, few of them offer all of the important features your organization will need in order to implement a successful customer training program.
When making your list of potential vendors, consider which of these important features your organization needs:
1. Intuitive User Interface
Even if it appears to have all of the basic functionality you need, most enterprise Learning Management Systems are extremely outdated, slow, and hard to navigate.
Encouraging adoption of these outdated tools is particularly difficult in an age where everyone expects software to be simple, fast, and intuitive.
If you want to maximize the adoption and engagement of your customer training program, it should feel more like Netflix, and less like a traditional course catalog. Make sure that the vendor you choose offers an LMS that is modern, intuitive, and easy to navigate.
2. Mobile Access
In an on-the-go, globally-connected world, your customers need the ability to quickly access bite-sized training from their mobile device, as they are used to being able to do with virtually every other service in their daily life.
Make sure that the vendor you choose offers an LMS that works on as many devices as possible, including iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux.
3. Offline Access
Even among enterprise Learning Management Systems that do provide remote access to users from mobile devices, few allow users to download content for offline viewing.
Unfortunately, most wireless providers impose strict data caps, which means that your customers who are traveling or are without internet access for any reason will be unable to access content and continue their learning on-the-go.
This is why companies like Google, Netflix, and Amazon allow users of their mobile apps to download files, documents, and videos for offline viewing.
Make sure that the enterprise Learning Management System you choose for your customer training program can provide similar functionality.
4. Flexible, Open Content Creation
In a fast-paced business environment, you need the ability to provide up-to-date product information and bite-sized training to customers as quickly as possible.
In order to achieve this, 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 course structure of a traditional enterprise LMS.
The LMS you choose 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.
5. Recommended Learning Based on Past Activity
The LMS you choose for your customer training program should provide intuitive navigation that clearly shows users additional content related to courses they 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.
6. Custom Learning Paths
In order to maximize 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 customers, at the right time. This requires that you be able to organize your content based on customer type, roles, products, etc.
One of the best ways to incentivize customers to complete your customer training program is to offer rewards, such as points, badges, and trophies to recognize their progress.
In addition, your LMS should give you the option 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.
Not only do these gamification features increase engagement, but they also allow customers to share their progress and certifications with their colleagues and friends on social media, which can attract new customers and further establish your brand in the market.
8. Tracking and Reporting
In order for your customer training program to be successful and provide positive ROI, it must help you achieve these key outcomes:
- Ensure new customers are competent and confident using your products.
- Help existing customers continue to use your product to achieve their goals.
- Help administrators spot areas where customers need additional training to increase retention and reduce the need to contact support.
While most enterprise Learning Management Systems 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 (customer retention, conversions from free to paid accounts, churn reduction, etc.)
- How much time a user is spending on any given course
- What content was accessed by users (and which content is unnecessary)
- Where in a course users are getting stuck or confused
- What knowledge gaps users 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 your customer training program is having, and to make any necessary adjustments or improvements.
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 this case, make sure that the vendor you choose gives you the option to charge for your content through an e-commerce platform (ideally, one that you can set up without any coding).
With high-profile data breaches of confidential information in the new headlines on a regular basis, it’s important that you choose a vendor that you trust and feel comfortable handing over your sensitive information and internal documents to.
When choosing an enterprise Learning Management System for your customer training program, make sure your vendor provides peace of mind with the following security features:
- Single Sign-On (SSO): Your vendor should provide SSO, which gives your users the ability to securely access multiple applications with one login and password, managed independently, allowing you to mitigate some of the most common security threats.
- Individual and Group Level Access to Content: You should be able to assign individual and group level access to your content so that only designated people have access to confidential information. With this feature, you can prevent confidential information from leaving the platform or landing on the wrong hands.
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.