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Customer education is a very important part of a successful business. However, despite its importance, it’s still sometimes overlooked. It might sound obvious, but customers won’t be willing to buy a product they don’t understand how to use. And while some products are fairly intuitive, you can’t assume that customers will be able to figure out how to use more complex products on their own.
If you want to convince these customers that your product is worth purchasing and provide them with a great experience long after making the purchase, you can benefit from creating a customer education plan.
There are a few ways that a better customer education program can benefit your business. Here are a few examples:
Planning a successful customer education strategy isn’t easy.
You can use these steps to guide you as you develop your training resources:
The first thing you should do is write a clear mission statement. Your mission statement should lay out your goal for your customer education program so everyone is aligned and working toward the same objectives.
Think about what you want to accomplish with your education program beyond simply helping customers learn.
What business outcomes are you hoping for? How do you hope the program will impact customer experience? Make sure you communicate with all the different departments that will be affected to determine whether your objectives are realistic or not.
The next step is to put together the team that will be responsible for creating your customer education program. At a minimum, your team should include a subject matter expert and an instructional designer.
Your subject matter expert will help by providing the actual information that customers learn in the courses. This should be someone who has an exceptional knowledge of the product so they can communicate it effectively to learners.
Your instructional designer will be familiar with designing educational courses and graphics. This person will take the information outlined by the subject matter expert and convert it into effectively formatted training materials.
Once you have an idea of what you’re creating, you’ll need to allocate the resources to turn it into a reality. Don’t expect to transform your customer education program overnight. It'll most likely take some time to build momentum and develop your program into the booming success you’re hoping for.
Do whatever you can to communicate with financial decision-makers, aka leadership, to convince them of the benefit of allocating funds toward improving customer education. You can also borrow or trade resources with other departments. Wherever you look for the resources, just focus on progressing one step at a time.
After you’ve figured out where to get the resources to put your plan into action, it’s time to create the actual content for your customer education program. As mentioned before, this step will fall mostly to your subject matter expert and instructional designer.
When you’re designing content for your customer education program, keep the following factors in mind:
You’ll need a way to deliver the content you’ve created to your customers. One of the most effective and convenient ways to deliver online education to your customers is with a learning management system (LMS), like Northpass. An LMS is a great tool for keeping a large database of learning materials organized and easily accessible to customers, employees or any kind of user.
Next, it may also be a good idea to create some certifications that your customers can earn for completing various education courses. This is a great way to improve customer engagement with your courses. When customers feel like they’re working toward something concrete, it can help keep them motivated and encourage them to retain what they’re learning.
Offering certificates to customers who complete training courses is also a good way to create advocacy. When someone earns a certification from one of your courses, they’ll be more inclined to share about your training program with other people in their network. Few people will tell someone else about the training they just completed, because it just doesn’t sound very interesting. People are much more likely to talk about the new certification they just earned because it indicates an improvement that makes them look good.
Once you have your customer education program ready to go, you might want to devote some time and resources to customer education marketing. Your training resources won’t do customers any good if they don’t know the resources exist or how they can access them. A learning management system is one of the best ways to keep your customer education courses accessible.
You can also consider doing some internal customer education marketing. This can be a great way to get all departments on board with the project and convince executives that the program will provide a lot of value to the company.
The final step of the process is to gather feedback and implement it. Give your customers plenty of opportunities to tell you what they think of your customer education program, either by building them directly into the education experience or by reaching out to ask for feedback directly. Use the feedback you gather to make iterative improvements to your learning materials.
Make sure you analyze how well your customer education courses meet their goals. For example, are customers achieving the learning objectives? Are the metrics you’re using to measure success (time to value, product adoption, etc.) improving as expected?
You should also consider customer experience. Even if your course material is working, customers may be hindered from reaching learning objectives by the clunky, unintuitive course design. Asking for feedback can show you where you need to improve either of these areas.
Customer education is already an important part of running a successful business and it looks like it will continue to play a central role. Online customer education has gained a considerable amount of traction and new techniques and trends are continually emerging.
Here’s a bit of what you can expect from the future of customer education:
One of the best tools you can use to drive your customer education program is a learning management system (LMS). Northpass is an online LMS that you can use to deliver an exceptional customer education program even if you have no prior experience with online education.
The Northpass learning platform is designed with usability and scalability in mind.