A customer education program can serve many different purposes, from improving onboarding to increasing customer retention and boosting engagement. There are a lot of different aspects of customer education that contribute to these outcomes.
One feature you can include in your program to help you reach these goals is customer education certifications. Offering certifications to customers who've completed certain courses is a great way to keep them engaged and help them feel empowered to use your product.
When customers have a tangible goal in sight, it often motivates them to work harder toward that goal. That’s just human nature. We all like to feel that we’ve accomplished something when we finish a task and providing certifications for your customers can help them attain this sense of achievement. Offering certifications is also a great way to build customers’ confidence with your product to help them get the most out of it.
Customer Education Definition
But what is customer education? Customer education is the process of using educational resources to improve the customer experience. Customers can gain value from educational resources because they help them use your products successfully. When customers can use your products successfully, it often fosters customer loyalty.
A good customer education strategy is measurable. You can use metrics like customer retention, customer lifetime value (LTV) or product adoption to measure the effectiveness of your customer education program.
The importance of customer education doesn’t stop with business objectives. Customer education benefits both businesses and customers alike.
For businesses, customer education is a way to improve the aforementioned metrics like customer retention and product adoption.
For customers, adequate education enables a better experience with the brand and the product.
Customer Education Certifications: The Best Way to Get Customers to Engage
Getting customers to engage with your learning academy can be difficult. Even when you provide the resources for customers to learn about your products, there's no guarantee they’ll use those resources.
Using a learning management system (LMS) to create an organized, accessible customer academy is a great start, but you’ll probably still need to do more to advertise your academy to customers and get them to recognize the value it holds.
One of the best ways to stoke customer engagement with your education material is to offer certifications for completing courses. Certifications encourage engagement in a lot of different ways.
Here are some examples:
Certifications encourage customers to share about your customer academy with their network. When someone gets a new certification for completing a training course, it’s natural for them to want to show it off.
Customer education courses aid your customers’ professional development by teaching them new skills. When those skills are certified by your brand’s academy, it fosters positive relationships with customers and can lead to improved brand loyalty.
Customer education certifications give customers a reason to stick with courses to the end to earn the certification. This can improve the course completion rate.
Certificates that expire can create a reason for customers to return to your academy to keep up their certifications. Or, if your certifications don’t expire, simply introducing new courses and certifications can entice customers to return to your customer education resources.
A great example of a successful customer education program that uses certifications to promote engagement is HubSpot’s customer academy.
Hubspot offers many different certifications that learners can earn by taking courses through the HubSpot academy. These courses are open to anyone, whether or not they’re a HubSpot customer.
After earning a certification, users of HubSpot’s academy can share their new accomplishments with their professional network by posting the certification on LinkedIn. Not only does this give customers a concrete reason to get the certifications, but it also turns each customer who earns one into a brand advocate.
When that customer’s colleagues or other contacts see the certifications they’re earning from the HubSpot academy, it increases HubSpot's visibility and credibility and may even convince more people to utilize the learning resources they make available.
One of the hardest parts of creating engagement with your learning academy isn’t getting people to use your education resources, it’s getting them to come back. There are all kinds of learning resources available on the internet, so you need to give your customers a reason to use the resources you’re offering. One of the best ways to create this incentive is through certifications.
When customers are working toward certifications, they now have a reason to engage with that course in particular. Even if they can find the information elsewhere on the internet, there’s nowhere else they can get the certification. Offering certifications can get customers to return to your academy time after time to complete certifications they’ve previously started or earn new ones.
Customers are also more likely to complete courses all the way if they know there’s a certification on the line. It can be challenging to get customers to remain engaged with educational resources because most people simply don’t enjoy sitting through training courses.
You can improve engagement by keeping courses interesting with multiple content formats, and digestible with short module lengths, but there will probably still be customers with who you struggle to fully engage. Certifications can encourage these individuals to devote themselves fully to the course so they can earn the certification.
Project Lead: The customer education lead is in charge of the whole operation. This is the person who is responsible for keeping goals aligned and tracking and reporting progress.
Subject Matter Expert (SME): The subject matter expert is someone who knows the product information or other course content inside and out. This person should be able to provide all the required expertise to create effective learning content. This person can also help create certifications because they are the one who understands what knowledge is required to be an expert.
Instructional Designer: The instructional designer should be someone who is familiar with designing educational courses. This person will be responsible for turning the content that has been developed by the subject matter into a course with an educationally sound structure.
Graphic Designer: The graphic designer’s job is to present the course in a way that is visually appealing for customers. They might also help design interactive elements such as infographics or quizzes.
Technical Lead: The technical lead is the person who is responsible for making sure the customer education resources are integrated correctly with the rest of your technology stack. One of the best tools your technical lead can use for this purpose is a learning management system like Northpass.
These are some of the most important customer education roles that should be involved in building your customer academy. As you’re building your courses, make sure you consider factors like certifications and plan those into the design.
You should also remember to collect customer feedback about your academy after it’s live. Even if you didn't build certifications into your academy, you might discover through customer feedback that adding them could greatly improve the program's success.
Customer Education Software
Clearly, there are a lot of different benefits that come along with offering certifications to customers. When customers have the opportunity to be certified, it encourages engagement with your learning academy and fosters positive relationships with customers. However, creating these certifications and integrating them into your customer education plan is easier said than done.
To include certifications in your courses, you’ll need to use the best customer education tools for the job. Customer education software, like Northpass, can equip your team with all the capabilities needed to create engaging training courses and offer certifications to go along with them.
Northpass enables you to create custom certifications to be awarded to customers when they complete certain courses. For example, these certifications can include logos or the name of the certified person. They can also display the date on which the course was completed and the date on which the certification expires.
Customization in general is a great way to get customers to engage further with your learning academy. Northpass comes with several other features that enable a high level of personalization for individual learners. This includes certifications and other features such as customizable learning paths or relevant content suggestions. Personalization tokens can be used to present learners with content tailored to their unique needs.
You can also use Northpass to set milestones throughout the customer's education experience to give them bite-sized goals to work toward. If you want to improve user engagement with your training academy, a customer education LMS like Northpass could be the perfect tool to help you do so.