What’s customer education?
I get this question a lot, especially when someone asks me what I do for a living. (Yes, I’m talking about my mom.)
As a proud Northpassian, I wish everyone knew about customer education.
But that’s not the case — and kind of why I have a job.
With all that said, I’m not surprised that there are still people who aren’t familiar with it; it’s still pretty new and if it wasn’t for the pandemic-fueled acceleration of remote working, it’d probably still be wearing some of its invisibility cloak.
Given its relative obscurity, there’s also some misconception about why or how you’d use customer education. I’d wager a bet that most people would link customer education with onboarding, but as more people pull back the cloak, they’ll finally see that customer education is a jack of all trades and can help in many ways.
3 Use Cases for Customer Education
To Improve the Onboarding Experience
Whether you’re new to customer education or just getting started, you probably know, to some extent, that it can help improve the onboarding experience. Although the use cases and flexibility of customer education continue to increase, there’s no denying that it plays a starring role here.
For most companies, customer education at this stage of the customer journey acts as an extension of their customer success (CS) team, helping their customer success managers (CSMs) improve the experience and make it more impactful.
You’re probably familiar with how this works, but here’s a quick story to help:
I recently purchased some SEO software to help me grow a blog I started during the pandemic. Upon signing up (initially, this was for a free trial), I received an automated email that served two purposes:
Say hello and thank me for my purchase, but more importantly, give me with a few pieces of content I can use to help me log in for the first time — think about this as a way for them to get me to give myself a self-guided tour.
The result? I immediately dove into the tool and started using it.
The next day, I received a call from someone on the CS team asking to schedule a call.
For what? To talk about my goals, pain points and more advanced strategies I can use to make the most out of the software.
The conversation went well and I’m off to a great start with the tool.
It hasn’t happened yet, but I guarantee that this same person will reach out again with resources when they release a new feature.
These are examples of the company’s customer education program and the way many companies across industry lines apply it.
Ongoing Product Education
Here’s where we start veering onto a path less traveled (but still leading you toward successful learning outcomes for your customers).
While customer education found its home in the onboarding world, it can have an equal impact after the sale, too. Specifically, a good customer education program can keep customers up to speed on an evolving product and how to keep succeeding.
The key word here: “keep.”
Although closing a deal or getting someone to buy something is a necessary first step, if they stop using it in the days, months and years after that, what’s the point?
There isn’t one.
Now, instead of building a relationship with this customer and growing their account over time (i.e, increasing lifetime value), you’re back to the drawing board — specifically, one that involves a whole lot of costly customer acquisition strategies.
Customer education decreases the likelihood of the above scenario because it consistently provides the knowledge and resources your customers need to realize the value of your product or service.
To Help Your Sales Team Close More Deals, Faster
We’re officially in uncharted water, but let me tell you, it’s water worth exploring.
Customer education can help your sales team close more deals, faster.
Note: There’s a prerequisite for this customer education use case: a CRM-LMS integration.
By integrating these core technologies, your sales team has access to the learning data they can use to have more informed and strategic conversations with prospects.
Here’s an example:
Pam Prospect visits your academy and takes a course on best practices.
What does this tell you? A few things about Pam:
- She may be earlier in her journey given her need to read up on best practices (we’ll assume these are more introductory best practices).
- She only got 90% of the way through the course, which could indicate that a specific topic is tripping her up.
- The fact that she’s taking a certification course could lead you to believe that she’s invested in the topic and something she’s serious about.
With this information, a seller, let’s call them Sammy Sales, can have pointed conversations that close the deal quicker. For example, they can zero in on that potential tripping point and discuss ways to help her overcome that challenge.
By removing sellers with this information, they can skit the small talk and get right to selling.
Why it’s Important to Educate Your Customers
Any business, regardless of the industry, relies on three things to stay in business:
- Closing deals
- Helping customers realize product- or service-value
- Keeping them happy (and using the product or service)
There’s no way around it. Customer education does all of those things.
If you want to learn more about how Northpass can help you launch a customer education program or take an existing one to the next level, reach out today.
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