In the modern business world, every day starts with new, sophisticated products on the market. Companies (especially in the software industry) release innovative products and services 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, all these new and exciting products require customers to have the knowledge and skills to use them. If they don’t, they won’t be able to recognize their full value.
So, how do you help them get over the learning curve and get the ROI they were hoping for? The answer is simple: with a customer education program.
What is Customer Education?
Customer education is the process of providing your future and existing customers with the information and skills they need to use your product. It aims to take the information held within your company and turn it into actionable knowledge for your customers to use and learn from.
Now that we’ve gotten this far, another important thing to understand is what a customer education program is not. There are many different ways to educate your customers, but creating one training session or article isn’t considered a customer education program. Having FAQs at the bottom of your website or hiring a customer success team is excellent, but those activities alone are not enough.
A customer education program is a business strategy. It consists of resources used to improve customer experience, product adoption, engagement, retention, and 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 product knowledge they need to be successful - based on their skills, job role, or business needs.
Benefits of a Customer Education program
For years, companies avoided 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, especially reflected in the B2B world. In today’s hyper-competitive market, customers thrive on information and learning. If you fail to fulfill their educational needs, they will search for information elsewhere. 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 take a look at what your company stands to gain by investing in creating a customer education program.
1. Faster 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 look at onboarding as a first indicator of how smooth their product use will be.
Now, imagine being able to onboard customers consistently, without much interaction from your team. This is exactly 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 experience
- Ensure everyone starts with the same information
- Educate a wider range of users
- Build on trust and good reputation
Customer education methods automate your onboarding, help your users reach their goals faster, and ultimately, increase customer satisfaction.
2. Return on investment for Customer Success Managers
Customer success teams invest a lot of time delivering value to clients. However, if they focus on onboarding tens of customers each day, 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 in the form of recurring revenue from renewals and upsells.
Using a customer education program, your users can access online all the tools and resources they need to understand your product and its features. As follows, customer success teams can focus on those clients that need a little extra help. That will ultimately improve customer lifetime value and reduce churn.
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 it’s harder to win in your industry 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, as the complexity of your business 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 it’s not the most efficient way to educate customers on their services or products. However, many are still spending extra resources to provide their customers with that kind of 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 in a consistent manner. While this may need an upfront investment, it will result in fewer education costs in the long run.
5. Reduced Support Tickets
Did you know that the average cost per support ticket is $1.60 per minute? This means that with every ticket you avoid, your organization ends up saving 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
By investing in a customer education program, your employees will attend to complex issues quicker because fewer tickets are in the queue. A reduced number of support tickets also means 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 important 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 consist of less basic, repetitive questions. Instead, they will become a great source of information on which features need to be improved or implemented. In a way, they are unsolicited feedback on your product.
Even the best teams occasionally miss something along the development process. Reading a high-quality support ticket gives you the data you need 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, hear about their frustrations, joys, product requests, solutions, and more. Ensuring they get to receive high-quality tickets by educating your customers will do wonders for your product development.
7. Improved Retention, Renewal, and Expansion Rates
There are plenty of reasons for customers to churn after buying in. It can happen due to poor onboarding, lousy support, competition, or wrong product fit. Customers that barely use your product or service are also at a higher risk of churn, as they get no value from it. Whatever the reason behind it may be, a low renewal rate, in the end, prevents revenue growth.
As you invest in educating your customers, they find new reasons to stay or upgrade. With a customer education program, they will gain access to tips and tricks that will provide them more value. Once they can take advantage of all the features you’re offering them, they are more likely to find reasons to stay. Not to mention, they won’t run into problems that make their user experience frustrating. Put simply; educated customers are more likely to renew and expand and less likely to churn.
8. Improved Customer Adoption and Engagement
By now, you probably realize that neglecting customer education might cost your business more than you think. But could it also influence user engagement and adoption? Absolutely!
The customer education program has a direct impact on:
- 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. Customer education improves their overall experience and reciprocally, 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. Needless to add, customers who don’t know how to use the features your product or service is offering them won’t be satisfied with the purchase.
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 at their own speed, which is the perfect solution for the fast-paced times we live in.
Finally, a well-planned education program ensures that all your customers get the same high-quality training experience. With customized content and learning paths, it’s easier than ever to turn every user into a product expert.
As you can see, creating a customer education program can provide many benefits. It will ensure all your customers get access to the right tools and resources. At the same time, you can close up to 95% of your deals due to 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 product engagement, check out our customer training solutions.