In the modern business world, every day starts with new, sophisticated products on the market. Companies (especially in the B2B SaaS industry) release innovative products and services with complex functionality around the clock. They develop them, promote them, and in the end, sell them. But what happens afterward?
When the customer buys your product or service, you start sharing one common goal - for them to be successful. The better results they get by using your products, the better it reflects on your reputation and future sales. But the problem is that all these new and exciting products require your customer base to have the knowledge and skills to use them. If they don’t, they won’t be able to recognize their total value.
So, how do you help them overcome the learning curve and get the ROI they hoped for? The answer is simple: with a customer education program.
What is Customer Education?
Customer education gives your customers the right educational content they need to use and get value from your product. Customer education is a vital part of customer onboarding, customer retention, and customer loyalty.
Now that we’ve gotten this far, another essential thing to understand is what a customer education program is not. There are many ways to educate your customers, but creating one training session, webinar, or article isn’t a customer education program. Having FAQs at the bottom of your website, building a knowledge base, and hiring a customer success team or a customer education team is an excellent start, but those activities alone are not enough.
Implementing a customer education strategy is vital for improving many business outcomes, including customer experience, product adoption, enablement, retention, and customer churn. Well-designed customer education programs should continuously evolve to solve new pain points and impact measurable business metrics. In addition, they should allow each customer to get the in-depth product knowledge they need to be successful at their particular point in the customer journey- based on their skills, job role, or business needs.
Benefits of a Customer Education Program
For years, companies have avoided training and educating customers. The common assumption behind that decision was that the more knowledge a customer has, the more likely they will search for alternatives. Luckily, today we know better.
There are countless benefits in creating a customer education program, mainly reflected in the B2B SaaS world. In today’s hyper-competitive market, customers thrive on information and learning. They will search for information elsewhere if you fail to fulfill their educational needs. That may result in switching to a competitor that empowers them and teaches them how to get the most out of their product.
In the end, educating your customers benefits you as well. Let’s look at what your company stands to gain by investing in creating a customer education program.
1. Faster and Better Onboarding
It’s no secret that the more streamlined your onboarding process is, the more positive the experience will be for your customers. Users often consider onboarding a first indicator of how smooth their product use will be.
Now, imagine being able to onboard customers consistently, with little interaction from your team. This is precisely where the customer education program comes in. Instead of educating large groups of users, it allows you to do it at scale.
That means you get to:
- Build a consistent learning experience
- Ensure everyone starts with the same information
- Educate a broader range of users
- Build on trust and a good reputation
Customer education platforms, such as a learning management system (LMS), automate your onboarding, help users reach their goals faster, and ultimately increase customer satisfaction. LMSs are also crucial for creating on-demand tutorials that learners can access anytime, providing additional value over traditional in-person training. Having an LMS is also an extra selling point for potential customers.
2. Return on investment for Customer Success Managers
Customer success teams invest much time in delivering value to clients. However, if they focus on onboarding tens of customers daily, they won’t be able to develop business relations with the existing ones. That may directly influence the team’s return on investment, which comes from recurring revenue from renewals and upsells.
Using a customer education strategy, your users can access all the tools and resources they need to understand your product and its features online. As follows, customer success teams can focus on those clients that need a little extra help. That will improve business goals such as customer lifetime value, retention rates, and your bottom line.
3. Positions you as a Market Leader
As mentioned earlier, companies used to avoid disclosing too much information to the public. They assumed their users wouldn’t need them anymore and the competition would take advantage of their resources.
Today, being the “education leader” proves you know your industry better than anyone else. And proving you know the best practices in your field will quickly turn you into a go-to business in your niche.
As a result, new customers are more likely to buy your products, and your existing user base is less likely to leave. That is one of the reasons why all top brands are already focusing on customer education. They understand that winning in your industry is harder without proving that you know the space better than anyone else.
4. Lowered Training Costs
The total cost of acquiring new customers can quickly get sky-high. Your employees cost money, and so do your marketing and sales efforts, the software you use, customer training, and more. All those factors add up quickly, with little ability to scale. Let’s not forget that as your business’s complexity increases, so are the training needs. When it comes to that point, any efficiency will help.
Most successful companies have already moved past the 200-page user manuals. They understood there were more efficient ways to educate customers on their services or products. However, many still need to spend extra resources to provide their customers with that training.
A good setup customer education program can help you lower your training costs and increase its quality. By switching to an online learning platform, you can build a set of standardized training programs delivered consistently. While this may need an upfront investment, it will reduce education costs in the long run.
5. Reduced Support Tickets
Did you know the average cost per support ticket is $1.60 per minute? This means that with every ticket you avoid, your organization saves more.
With customer education programs, common questions can be easily turned into help articles. Most common training becomes video courses and online academies. That way, your customer support and success teams won’t have to work through hundreds of emails, phone calls, and chats daily. By removing repetitive questions and minor issues from the queue, you can resolve several challenges for your business, such as:
- An overworked and stressed support team
- Unhappy customers who churn
- Repetitive tasks
- Lack of product knowledge
Investing in a customer education program will make your employees attend to complex issues quicker because fewer tickets are in the queue. Reduced support tickets also mean fewer employees dedicated to responding to them. While you teach your customers how to use their product knowledge to solve their issues, your support team can focus on more critical tasks. That not only decreases your support costs but also decreases users’ frustration. Ultimately, that will result in customer satisfaction and available resources for other critical business tasks.
6. Improved Product Development
Now that we know a customer education program can reduce the number of tickets in the queue, let’s focus on the remaining ones. As users become more familiar with your product, their support tickets will be less basic, repetitive questions. Instead, they will become a great source of information on which features must be improved or implemented. In a way, this is unsolicited feedback on your product.
Even the best teams occasionally need to catch up on something along the development lifecycle process. Reading a high-quality support ticket gives you the data to make smart product decisions. After all, no amount of customer research can replace the knowledge gathered by your support team. They are the ones who talk to customers and hear about their frustrations, joys, product requests, solutions, and more. Ensuring they receive high-quality tickets by educating your customers will do wonders for your product development.
8. Improved Customer Adoption and Engagement
You probably realize that customer education is an important initiative. But could it also influence user engagement and adoption? Absolutely!
The customer education program has a direct impact on the following:
- Product usage rate: if they know how to use your product, they will do it more often
- Customer independence: the less help they need, the more comfortable they feel
- Customer satisfaction: the higher their ROI is due to your product, the higher their happiness level is.
For adoption and engagement to occur, your customers must master your product and make progress in achieving their goals and milestones with it. A robust program will include assessments, quizzes, and the ability to become certified. Customer education improves the overall experience and increases customer engagement with your brand.
9. Increased Customer Satisfaction
Keeping your customers satisfied with your product or service is non-negotiable. We all know that a satisfied customer is loyal, and loyal customers are more profitable. Satisfied customers are more likely to refer new customers, be part of case studies, and provide positive reviews. Customers who don’t know how to use the features your product or service offers won’t be satisfied with the purchase and are more likely to churn.
In the end, the final goal of the customer education program is to ensure your customer reaches their milestones. Only then will it be valuable to your business too.
10. Increased flexibility and availability
With a customer education program, you don’t have to worry about time zones, geographical locations, or room capacity. The “anytime, anywhere, and on any device” flexibility lets you support more customers in reaching their goals. Users can engage with the program and use the resources quickly, which is the perfect solution for our fast-paced times.
Finally, a well-planned education program ensures all your customers get the same high-quality training experience. With customized content and learning paths, turning every user into a product expert is easier than ever.
As you can see, creating a customer education program can provide many benefits. It will ensure that all your customers access the right tools and resources. At the same time, you can close up to 95% of your deals due by including training in your sales process. After all, the revenue comes from customers that are better informed, more engaged, and more loyal. And in business, win-win’s are always a good thing.
To find out how Raven360 can help you build a successful customer education program that will increase customer loyalty and retention, check out our customer training solutions.