How Customer Training Creates Product Evangelists
In the mid-2000s, the software-as-a-service (SaaS) business model was rapidly growing in popularity and would soon be ubiquitous. Unfortunately, SaaS vendors were running into a major problem.
While these companies were investing heavily into customer acquisition and expanding rapidly, their products were becoming increasingly complex. Customers were having to spend more and more time figuring out how to use these products, leading to frustration, low adoption rates, and higher churn.
SaaS vendors quickly realized that it was no longer sustainable to spend significant amounts of time and money acquiring customers, only to quickly lose them because the product was too complex and difficult to use.
Retention is the Key to Profitable Growth
To solve the growing problem of churn, many companies began deploying teams of employees to proactively reach out to at-risk accounts and teach customers how to use the company’s products to achieve their desired outcomes.
The logic was sound; by delivering more value to customers, companies would receive more value in return.
In practice, this meant learning about the individual needs of customers, recommending products, and then instructing customers on how to use those products to achieve their desired outcomes. In return, those customers would reward the company with loyalty and return purchases.
The process of educating customers on how to derive more value from products proved to be extremely effective at reducing churn and increasing retention, ultimately resulting in a dramatic increase in profitability.
In fact, companies that focus on customer retention are three times as likely to increase market share as those focused solely on acquisition. Research done by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company (the inventor of the net promoter score) showed that increasing customer retention rates by only 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.
How Training-Led Growth Turns Customers into Passionate Evangelists
If done correctly, a focus on customer training can not only create loyal customers, it can also provide so much value that those customers become passionate evangelists of your product.
While all companies have loyal customers who regularly buy from them, product evangelists take it a step further by believing so strongly in your product that they can’t help but enthusiastically spread the word about it to their colleagues and friends.
In other words, these customers are so passionate about your product that they gladly become volunteer salespeople for your company.
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.
For these reasons, we use the term “Training-Led Growth” for the practice of using training to increase customer loyalty and retention.
Here’s what Training-Led Growth looks like in action:
1. Start with an Enjoyable On-Boarding Experience
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 your customers can dive into your product and start getting “quick wins”, the more likely they are to keep coming back to use it over and over again.
Research by the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) reveals the impact of training on several key areas of customer adoption:
- 68% of trained customers use products more often
- 56% use more product features
- 87% use products more independently
2. Reduce the Need for Customer Support
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.
In addition, 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, adding up to enormous, long-term cost savings.
3. Provide Continuous Training to Maximize 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.
4. Achieve Increased Revenue Growth and Profitability
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 happy customers (product evangelists), ultimately resulting in increased revenue, ROI, and higher profit margins.
Choose the Right Customer Training Tool
While one-on-one customer training has proven to be extremely effective, it is also very difficult and expensive to scale. At a certain point, it is no longer feasible to just keep hiring employees.
You will need to find a way to automate the process and provide training to all of your customers in a way that’s easily accessible 24/7 from any device.
The Benefits of Using a Corporate Learning Management System
According to Salesforce, companies who want to implement a successful and scalable customer training program should consider using a learning management system:
“Customers have always needed training; back in the day it consisted of 300-page user manuals and costly onboarding sessions. Today, it’s becoming increasingly more efficient to deliver augmented programs online. By implementing an extended enterprise LMS software, your customer education program can support customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at a much lower cost than what you’re accustomed to today.”
Enterprise LMSs are 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.
Important Corporate LMS Features to Look For
Unfortunately, few LMSs 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:
- Instructor-led Training: Train your users in a live environment.
- Face to Face Classes: Offer group training anywhere in the world and collect payments online.
- Virtual Instructor-led Training: Train customers using a virtual classroom or conference app.
- On-Demand Training: Users can log in at any time and go through training, completely automated.
- Hands-On Labs: Create a virtual “lab” for your software where users can test without risks.
- Fully Mobile, Use Any Browser or Device: Works on iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux.
- As Easy as E-Commerce: Users pay for training and funds get transferred to your bank account.
- Video Training & Coaching: Use video coaching and peer reviews for life-like lessons and assessments.
- Gamify Training: Encourage continuous learning and upsells with leaderboards and badges.
Unfortunately, most Corporate 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 all of the gaps in their knowledge.
Why Choose Raven360 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’s 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.