Customers will spend 17% more for a good experience and 76% of them expect companies to understand their needs.
Said another way, customers value good experiences and will pay more for them.
This is why your customer success (CS) team is so important. But for your CS team to be this essential part of the company, you need to put them in a position to succeed.
Customer education helps you do that.
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Setting Your CS Team Up for Success With Customer Education
If you walked up to — or Slacked — anyone on your CS team and asked them if they had the bandwidth to take on more work, I bet they’d say no. (I’m sure some of them would say yes, but only because they want to help and not because they actually have the time.)
This is the reality of working in CS, especially for those doing so for scaling and maturing ones with potentially thousands of customers who expect a white-glove experience. As a result, CS teams spend all of their time treading water and covering the bare minimum — at no fault of their own — to get the customer up and running.
Why is this a problem?
Because this isn’t why you hired them. Your CS team is a band of power users who should be spending their time sharing advanced tips and having strategic conversations.
By putting a customer education program into action, you’re giving your customers the information and resources they need to do a lot of the heavy lifting themselves — for example, taking an introductory course before the kickoff call or digging into your help center to solve their problem without having to reach out to support.
In turn, your CS team has more time to have these value-add conversations — you know, the ones that grow the accounts and generate more profits.
Acquiring customers is great, but you know what’s better? Retaining them and growing the account over time.
Because acquiring new customers can be as much as 25x MORE expensive than retaining existing ones.
In a cash-strapped world that has many teams fighting for budget, any opportunity to save some cash should be welcome with open arms.
If you’re having trouble envisioning how customer education can create more upsell opportunities for your CS team, here’s an example from HubSpot.
How does this help HubSpot generate upsells?
This is what someone would see when they visit the landing page for HubSpot’s course, “Marketing Made Easy with Marketing Hub Enterprise.”
Someone coming to take the course could see this customer education content and inquire with their customer success manager (CSM) about how to use HubSpot’s CRM (for this example, we’re assuming they’re only currently using HubSpot’s Marketing Hub).
And even if they don’t reach out directly, the CSM can see this learning activity and start the conversation accordingly (i.e., “Hey, I saw you took the course about our CRM. How did you like it and do you want to learn more?”)
You’d even benefit from them taking the course about the free marketing tools.
Increased product and feature adoption. By getting this customer deeper into the product and more comfortable with all it has to offer, HubSpot’s creating a power user and brand champion. Not only will this person be easier to retain, but they’re more likely to share their positive experience with their peers, giving you a shot at acquiring a new customer without the hefty price tag that’d otherwise come with customer acquisition.
Onboarding is the single most important step of the customer journey.
Don’t believe me? Here’s a stat to back up that lofty claim: A study found the biggest predictor of customer churn was poor onboarding, representing 23% of churn.
So, it should go without saying that optimizing the onboarding process should be a huge priority.
How does customer education help your CS team with onboarding? Two ways:
- It speeds it up
- It makes it more impactful.
Let’s look at this from both angles.
From a speed standpoint, we’re looking at the time to value (i.e., the amount of time it takes a new customer to realize the expected value of your product or service). A successful onboarding doesn’t just mean it went smoothly. For it to be truly successful and beneficial in both the short and long term, it needs to happen quickly.
A customer education program does this by allowing customers to do some of the work themselves and on their own time — there’s no waiting around for CSMs.
In regards to impact, a customer education program, especially one built on the back of a learning management system (LMS) gives you the ability to customize and personalize the experience, ensuring customers stay on track and work toward the correct learning outcome.
Leveling Up CSMs with Customer Education
The importance of a customer success team can’t be overstated, nor can your duty to arm your CSMs with the knowledge and resources they need to successfully help your customers.
The best way to do this repeatedly is with customer education. With a customer education program, not only are you keeping your team informed, but you’re winning them back time they can spend having more strategic conversations, generating more upsell opportunities and optimizing the onboarding experience.
What’s not to love?