Why It's Time to Slash Your Reliance on Manual Customer Training

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Andrew Brown ·

Apr 06, 2023

Manual customer training, i.e., 1:1 sessions with customer success managers (CSMs), PDFs, webinars, etc.—had its day. 

But it’s quickly falling out of favor, diminishing the customer experience, and putting unnecessary pressure on already strapped customer-facing teams. 

Why? Because manual customer training doesn’t meet the learning preferences of your customers, and they’re drowning your teams in a sea of manual and time-consuming tasks—tasks that prevent them from focusing on customer retention and revenue. 

The result: low product adoption, less satisfaction, and in some cases, churn.

What’s the solution? 

Slash your reliance on these tactics. 

Note: I said slash, not eliminate. 

What Changed? 

The speed at which the world operates has ramped up dramatically in the last decade. 

Technology is in the driver’s seat, and it’s pushing the pedal to the metal. 

Think about how you access entertainment. 

There’s no need to listen to the radio in hopes that you’ll hear that hot new song again when you can find it on Spotify. 

Want to watch something new? Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max give you access to a seemingly endless repository of shows and movies.

This is also true when it comes to learning. 

The information we seek—the answers to any of our questions—can be accessed with a quick Google search. 

We don’t even need a computer anymore; the rise of smartphones has put learning in our pockets. As of February 2021, 85% of U.S. adults said they owned a smartphone

People aren’t simply looking for answers—they’re demanding them in their moment of need.  

These technological innovations are changing the way your customers prefer to learn. 

Masterclass, YouTube, SkillShare, TED Talks, FutureLearn … there are a huge number of quick and interesting ways to discover new knowledge and learn how to do new things. 

All of this changes customer expectations on how they expect you to educate them on your product or service. 

Today, your customers want instant and effortless access to the personalized resources they need to achieve their goals. 

Traditional Training vs. Digital Training: What’s the Difference?

Traditional customer training typically comes in the form of PDFs, help centers, ad-hoc meetings with CSMs, and emails. These tactics often lack a personal touch, take considerable time, and burden CSMs with endless meetings. 

On the other hand, digital customer education refers to using a learning management system (LMS) and a digital customer academy to increase the reach, impact, and efficiency of customer training

Not only does digital customer training improve the customer experience by delivering content in a way that meets modern learning needs, but the efficiencies give customer-facing teams more time to focus on retention, revenue, and serving more customers.

Digital Customer Training in Action: Real-world Examples

Let’s examine some well-known and highly lauded digital academies:

HubSpot Academy

The HubSpot Academy is one of the largest online training resources in the world for knowledge surrounding inbound marketing, sales and customer service. 

It offers its users a variety of certification possibilities to boost their resume and grow their careers, as well as give users access to single-topic courses, short-form lessons and more. 

With the click of a button, anyone from anywhere in the world can teach themselves highly important business skills to elevate their status in their chosen field.

Appcues Product Adoption Academy

Appcues has simplified the creation and tracking of in-app experiences, and no coding knowledge is required from its customers. 

The company’s digital academy offers several easy-to-follow online classes that put the focus on the customer experience, training those customers on onboarding, product launches, turning free users into paid users, improving user engagement, avoiding app abandonment, and more. 

Ahrefs Academy

Ahrefs Academy is a leading developer of online SEO tools and free education materials focusing on marketing professionals. 

There, marketers can watch easily digestible videos designed to teach them the ins and outs of SEO, earn certifications, and quickly learn how to use the different products found in Ahrefs’ large portfolio of SEO implementation and improvement software. 

Sticking with Manual Training Could Be Your Downfall

When comparing the benefits of digital training to manual training, the argument for the former becomes clear—and here are a few reasons why.

Too Expensive to Scale

Manual training methods rely on CSMs and other customer-facing teams. 

These jobs have many responsibilities beyond customer training, yet it takes up a huge portion of their time. 

If this is your chosen method, the only choice you have to keep up with everything is hiring more CSMs, which will quickly become cost prohibitive. 

But if you don’t spend the money to bring in more CSMs, you’ll lose customers to churn. 

It’s a lose-lose proposition, whereas digital training is an upfront investment followed by minor management and upkeep needs. The costs of implementing digital training pay for themselves quickly.

Hard to Measure  

When a CSM is actively training a customer or group of customers, their focus is on the information. 

What they can’t do beyond a general feel is get data to show them what’s working and what’s not. 

Essentially, valuable customer data is unaccounted for, whereas digital training allows you to easily identify the pros and cons of your academy, enabling you to tweak the experience in the best interest of your customers. 

It Sets CSMs to be Reactive Instead of Proactive

Manual training puts CSMs in a reactive state. And while a skilled CSM may be able to relieve customer pain points, they can’t get ahead of the curve because they’re always fighting fires. 

With digital training, CSMs are free to focus on building customer relationships, enabling them to mitigate customer frustration before it takes hold.

Digital Training: The Cost-effective and Customer-centric Future of Learning

When you make the decision to move away from traditional customer training and take the digital route, you’re setting yourself—and your customers—up for greater success, both immediately and in the long run. 

You’ll save money with a leaner customer success team, and your CSMs will have more time to focus on functions that drive your company’s bottom line. 

And to bring your digital academy to its full potential, you need a powerful and flexible LMS. 

So if you’re ready to take this important step in moving your company forward, contact Northpass today to book a free demo of our innovative LMS products.

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About the Author
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Andrew Brown

Andrew is a Content Marketing Manager. When he's not creating, you can find him watching the Buffalo Sabres, obsessing about Scandinavia or exploring NYC.

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