What is Customer Training?
Customer training is onboarding and teaching customers to properly use a product or service. Quality customer education should reduce the time to value a customer experiences. This type of training is a segment of the 'extended enterprise,’ which refers to any external stakeholders important to your business - like resellers, partners, and customers.
Anyone involved in the eLearning space is familiar with employee training and its benefits - faster employee onboarding, better performance, lower costs in the long run - but what about customer training? Do these same benefits apply? What does successful customer training even look like?
In its simplest terms, customer training aims to improve the customer experience by providing content and other materials to educate and support the users of a product.
Customer training programs are most found in the tech industry, specifically SaaS, because of the complex products found in this space. For B2B SaaS companies, customer onboarding is crucial for reducing churn and growing the company; therefore, customer training is paramount.
Benefits of Customer Training for B2B SaaS
Product complexity has increased, and with that has come lower adoption rates, higher churn, and lower profitability. The primary focus for a lot of tech organizations these days seems to be new customer acquisition.
The truth is - while acquiring new customers is important, focusing on the success, satisfaction, and retention of current customers is the key to long-term profitability. In fact, 70% to 90% of SaaS profits are generated through renewals and up-sells, according to Userlane.
This is where customer training comes in. A trained user of your product is more likely to realize its promised value, and less likely to churn. Beyond that, customer training builds customer loyalty, which leads to referrals, case studies, and many more benefits.
What Is a Customer Training Program?
A customer training program is the process an organization puts in place to onboard and teach customers. The program could include a series of one-on-one demos, a series of webinars, in person training, or an on-demand, self-paced online training program delivered through a learning management system (LMS).
Customer success and customer support teams are typically tasked with creating customer onboarding and training programs. In the B2B SaaS, it is becoming increasingly important for these teams to be able to automate training so they can focus more on customer relationships. As companies grow, they are rarely able to scale training with one-on-one instruction. Using a designed customer training program with a learning automation tool becomes necessary.
How Does a Customer Training Program Reduce Churn and Maximize Revenue?
Even if your product has the most powerful functionality on the market, if your customers struggle to understand how to use it to achieve their goals, they will simply get frustrated and look elsewhere.
However, a robust product with lots of functionality doesn’t have to be difficult or frustrating to use, especially if customers are adequately trained on how to use it.
Well-designed customer training programs are motivating for customers and prospects alike. Being able to assure a prospective client that they will receive all the information and guidance they need can help you win deals. Not only is their hesitation removed during the sales process, it also makes customers excited to jump in and learn all the ways your product can help make their lives better.
This excitement not only leads to higher sales initially, but also increased adoption, customer satisfaction, and retention rates in the long run, all things that are key for sustainable SaaS growth.
Research by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company (the inventor of the net promoter score) found that increasing retention by just 5% can increase your profits by more than 25%.
If done correctly, a focus on customer training programs can not only create loyal customers, it can also provide so much value that those customers become passionate evangelists of your product.
For any company that wants to achieve long-term profitability and success, creating product evangelists is a top priority. Customer training just happens to be one of the best ways to achieve this goal.
Customer Training Software: The Benefits of Using a Customer-Focused LMS
A learning management system (LMS) helps companies deliver training to their selected users. Traditionally, this meant their own employees, but as product complexity has increased for B2B SaaS organizations, the need for a customer-focused LMS has grown. Using customer training software for a customer training program provides a real-time learning experience that improves product training and customer satisfaction.
- Quality corporate LMSs are specifically built to help organizations quickly implement customer training programs that are accessible, scalable, and engaging.
- The right learning platform aids the organization with a great user experience; adding course content is fast and easy, you can control who has access to the information, and progress can be tracked and reviewed.
- A strong customer training software for B2B SaaS companies should allow for a variety of media formats and provide templates to help build training content more quickly.
- A customer-forward LMS is great for the customer, giving easy access to self-paced modules and course content they can get on-demand.
- The right training platform should give an organization the ability to assess users retention of the training through tests and quizzes, and should provide the ability to implement gamification.
Unfortunately, most corporate LMS companies lack the flexibility to truly place the customer needs at the center. This is why Raven360 was born specifically as a customer training platform; Raven360 gives teams the control to accelerate onboarding and training with a methodology and delivery platform that creates product experts at scale.
7 Steps to Create a Wildly Successful Customer Training Program
1. Conduct Customer Surveys and Interviews with Your Ideal Customers
The very first step to developing your customer training program is finding out what the training needs of your customers actually are. However, you want to prioritize select customers. Typically, these customers receive the most value from your product and enthusiastically recommend it to others already.
Begin by conducting surveys with these select customers to determine areas where they are the most confused about your product. In addition, survey your customers on what their most important and desired outcomes are that they are hoping to use your product to achieve.
Follow up with 1-on-1 interviews to get even more detailed feedback, if possible.
2. Gather Current Training Content and Identify Gaps
Once you have identified your top training priorities for your customer training program, it’s time to start gathering the existing training materials you already have, and identifying gaps where new training needs to be developed.
Reach out to marketing, sales, product, and customer service teams, as they will likely have developed their own training content to help customers navigate and use the product to achieve their desired outcomes.
Identify any customer training needs that have yet to be addressed, and begin prioritizing which training content to create first.
3. Work Collaboratively to Create New Training Content
Customer success teams shouldn’t be siloed off to develop customer training content after products have already been developed. Instead, customer success team members should be part of the new product development process, from beginning to end.
Many B2B SaaS companies must develop training content incrementally as new features are released. Creating training content at each stage of the product development process can be key to keeping your user base updated and happy with the product. To do this effectively, customer success, marketing, and product development must be on the same page.
Regardless of what your content creation process looks like, seek to involve key members from different departments within your company, as they can add unique insights you won’t have access to on your own.
4. Test and Gather Feedback
Before deploying your new training content to all your customers at once, it’s important to allow a group of selected customer learners to go through the training and provide feedback. These learners can provide a fresh, outside set of eyes on the training materials you’ve developed and allow you to get new perspectives and ideas on making the training even better.
Once the training content has gone through any revisions, it is ready to deploy your customer training program.
5. Deploy and Improve Using Tracking and Analytics
After deploying a customer training program to users, closely track what training content your users are using, completing, and getting certified in. Using metrics such as completion rates, retention rates (from tests and quizzes) and training video completion rates, companies can assess and improve their customer training programs.
It’s often what content customers don’t consume that provides the most valuable insights. Knowing which training videos or courses are being skipped entirely can be extremely insightful as well.
You can also allow customers to rate how useful each piece of training content is. All of this data helps training teams refine their customer training program based on customer feedback.
6. Provide Continuous Training to Maximize Retention and Upsells
Your customer training program is not a “set it and forget it” type of initiative. Even if you successfully get your customers to their initial “quick wins,” you must still be there to assist them in continually progressing toward their long-term business goals. By proactively providing customer training and guidance every step of the way, you minimize churn and maximize customer retention.
In addition, by monitoring the training progress of individual customers, you can see which of them are highly engaged and may be more open to up-sells on related products or features.
You can also discover which customers are not engaged with the training at all, and are at risk of churning, so you can reach out to them proactively.
7. Achieve Increased Revenue Growth and Profitability
With a successful customer training program, not only are free-trial users more likely to upgrade to a paid plan, but existing customers are also more likely to upgrade to higher plans, as well.
The increased satisfaction from your customer training program will also lead to increased referrals and word-of-mouth from happy customers (product evangelists), ultimately resulting in increased revenue, ROI, and higher profit margins.