Customer retention has always been top of mind for business leaders. But with the economy in a constant state of flux and customer acquisition strategies losing impact, the spotlight on retention and durable growth, i.e., growing in the most efficient way possible, is brighter than ever.
CEOs and other top-level executives are looking for the efficiencies they’ll need to weather the economic downturn.
Joe Ucuzoglu, Chief Executive Officer at Deloitte US, said, “CEOs’ outlook on the broader economy worsened significantly, but by and large they remain cautiously optimistic that their own organizations can continue to perform well in the midst of uncertainty and change. CEOs remain committed to prioritizing investments in key strategic areas including talent and digital transformation.”
No business will go completely unaffected while the economy course corrects, but those operating in the B2B world’s choppy seas face an even more challenging task.
With an ever-increasing field of competitors and rising customer expectations—73% of consumers say a good experience is key in influencing their brand loyalties—finding and keeping customers is harder than ever.
B2B companies looking to boost retention and the customer experience are embracing digital customer education.
Those that aren’t, are burning some serious cash.
The Lofty Expectations of B2B Customers
Every product or service takes time to master.
Someone using Shopify’s website builder must master the tool to customize their website and launch something to help them grow their business.
A Salesforce customer must wrap their heads around the platform to drive a better return on investment (ROI).
This is not news.
Helping your customer achieve these outcomes is critical, but the path to get there can be daunting.
Expectations are through the roof.
B2B customers are different—and 80% expect an experience better than B2C.
Consider what B2C buyers expect and then multiply the importance by 10.
- Consumers will pay 17% more to purchase from a company with a reputation for excellent service.
- More than 75% of consumers view brands more favorably if they ask for and apply customer feedback.
- Eighty percent of customers are likelier to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences.
- Almost all customers say an "immediate" response is "essential" or "very important" when they have a customer service question (10 minutes or less).
- According to Dimensional Research, 72% of customers say explaining their problems to multiple people is poor customer service.
These stats tell a story.
B2B buyers want to do business with companies that value their feedback, offer personalized support, and, most importantly, do it quickly.
Those expectations extend to how you train them about your product or service.
Unfortunately, the path to meet these expectations have always been paved with traditional training formats and tactics, like PDFs, emails, and required training sessions with customer success managers (CSMs)—that directly conflict with the expected reality.
Not addressing that void ASAP is diminishing the customer experience and costing you some serious cash.
Why Not Prioritizing Digital Customer Education is a Costly Mistake
Companies have always relied on in-person training, support reps, and traditional help centers to "guide" their customers to successful outcomes.
Recently, we've seen online chat hots and AI-powered training come to the forefront.
And sure, all of these tactics get the job done, but at what cost?
Consider the time and money you invest in manual customer training, i.e., you put the onus on CSMs to onboard, train, and retain your customers.
We’ve found that the average CSM dedicates at least 30% of their time to tasks to 1:1 training, e.g., sending emails, hopping on Zoom calls, firefighting, etc.
Now consider a company with 20 CSMs.
That equates to 12,480 hours and $780k annually.
Considering the ideal amount of time CSMs should spend on customer training is about 10% of their days, traditional customer education costs this company $520K a year or 8,320+ hours of training time.
Modern-day CSMs aren't set up to train customers quickly or efficiently—and it’s literally costing companies thousands of dollars.
This doesn’t even consider the subpar experience tethered to these tactics.
What customer wants to generic PDF emailed to them?
What customer wants to carve an hour out of their day to meet with a CSM?
What customer wants to dig through a help center to find that one article that may or may not answer their question?
None, none, and none.
Now consider that 67% of customers report a terrible customer experience as the reason for switching businesses. Not delivering learning content and support in the way they expect certainly falls into the “terrible customer experience” bucket.
Again, that’s costing you big time.
Embracing Digital Customer Education
Okay, you're interested in launching a digital customer academy.
Where to start?
First, company leadership has to reimagine customer education, and they need to understand "why" the shift is necessary.
This starts with looking at education through the lens of the customer rather than through the company.
If a customer can learn to play the guitar through an app on their phone, then why shouldn't learning about your product be just as interesting and rewarding an experience?
Another important distinction is that digital customer education is more than just a one-time way to improve how you teach your customers about your product.
It's a way to equip your customers with the knowledge that'll carry them through their journey with you.
When a customer’s empowered with knowledge and easy access to information, you develop a more positive customer experience and create deeper, longer-lasting relationships that build over time. It's how you increase the customer lifetime value (CLTV).
Finally, you must embrace learning data—the measurements and information you collect from your customers' behavior and actions throughout their learning experience.
You need to see it as a vital sign of customer health, as it's a powerful indicator of customer satisfaction and retention and a way to generate an accurate Net Promoter Score (NPS).
You can use this learning data to determine which parts of your digital academy are working, which parts need work, and which parts need an overhaul.
Executing Your Digital Academy
Once your company has reframed its thinking and bought into the new age of customer education, it’s time to execute.
That means a new infrastructure built on a learning management system (LMS).
Your LMS should be set up to deliver a seamless learning experience that feels like an intentional part of the customer journey.
This learning experience must quickly provide your customer with everything they need to know about your product without asking themselves, "Okay, now what?"
A proper LMS will put digital learning operations in place that free your CSMs and other customer-facing teams to focus on building and driving those all-important customer relationships rather than losing so much time out of their days to training and educating customers.
This enables you to restructure customer-facing departments, saving you money as they easily do more with less.
A smart LMS also produces learning insights and analytics that give your teams access to robust data, enabling them to monitor the reach of your digital academy, ensuring every new customer can learn every aspect of your product.
This produces stronger customer relationships and leads customers to invest more in your company as those relationships flourish.
It's Time to Plug the Drain with a Digital Academy
Implementing a digital customer academy not only provides your customers with fast access to all the information they need, but it can also improve your company's bottom line by mitigating the downsides of traditional training methods and improving the overall customer experience.
If you're ready to create an innovative and respected digital academy for your customers, Northpass's team of experts is here to help you craft and implement the ideal strategy.
To get started, reach out to book a free demo to learn more about our cutting-edge LMS products.