Businesses have a greater responsibility to their customers than simply delivering products to them. If you purchased a product from a company and then never heard from the company again, you probably wouldn’t consider that a very positive customer experience. The moment that a customer completes their first purchase from a business should be the beginning of a relationship, not the end.
Once the customer has committed to the product, it’s up to the business to support the customer and empower them to use the product successfully. Educating your customers can lead to many kinds of positive outcomes, like improved product adoption and customer retention.
Although customer training is important in almost every industry, it’s more important for some types of businesses than others. The SaaS (software as a service) industry is unique because SaaS products are often more complicated than other types of products.
The learning process may be very challenging because the product may require a high level of technical knowledge, or it may be unlike any kind of software the customer has seen before.
Customer training software is one of the best tools for training SaaS customers. The best SaaS LMSs (learning management systems) provide scalable, customizable online learning environments that can keep your client training content organized and provide high-quality learning experiences for customers.
This type of streamlined customer training process can work perfectly for SaaS businesses that need to train customers to use complex products successfully.
Before we look further into the topic of customer training, let’s start at the beginning. What is customer training? Customer training is the process a business uses to equip its customers with the skills and knowledge they need to use the business’s products successfully. Customer training is especially important for SaaS companies because SaaS products are complex software solutions that few customers could use successfully without guidance.
An effective customer training program ensures customers are guided toward the software’s value as quickly as possible. Without any form of customer training in place, SaaS customers would take much longer to realize how to use products effectively, resulting in negative consequences for the business, like lower customer engagement and higher customer churn.
When you use a learning management system like Northpass to build an effective customer education program, you can improve customer engagement and retain customers for longer.
Effective customer education also makes it possible to reduce the number of support tickets your customer service team receives. This not only indicates that your customers are getting the help they need from your training resources, but it also means your support team remains available to help customers with more complex problems.
Creating a successful customer training program at a SaaS business might sound like a daunting task, but it’s actually very achievable if you follow some simple best practices. First of all, a world-class customer education strategy needs to be backed by a competent team. Here are the roles you’ll need to fill to put together your customer training team:
Customer education lead – the person in charge of the customer education initiative. They are responsible for ensuring the customer education program becomes a reality.
Executive sponsor – a business leader who makes sure the customer education program remains in line with the business’s larger strategic goals.
Subject matter expert (SME) – this person knows the product information inside and out and is responsible for building content that will teach customers everything they need to know.
Instructional designer – someone with experience designing online education courses who can translate the content your subject matter expert writes into modules that are structured effectively.
Technical lead – this person understands the technical aspects of your online academy and is responsible for ensuring a smooth learning experience from a technical standpoint. Using a learning management system like Northpass can make it easier to create a fully-integrated learning experience.
Obviously, your customer training program should benefit your customers by empowering them to use your products successfully. However, if you follow customer training best practices, your customer training curriculum can actually drive profit at your business as well. Consider the following SaaS training best practices:
The primary purpose of each of your customer training courses should be to help the customer learn how to get more value from your products. However, you can also use customer training to introduce customers to new products or features. Customers might not even know about a particular feature or realize they want it unless they are offered a training course that demonstrates its value.
Your customer education content can not only benefit your current customers but also attract new ones. When you open up your customer training academy to the public, you can start to establish your business as an authority on the topics you cover with your training content. Once people start to recognize your business as a reliable source of information in your industry, you’ll likely see more organic site traffic and faster organic growth.
While maintaining a library of free training content has many benefits, it can also be a good idea to charge customers for your very best content. You can offer the fundamentals for free while also maintaining some paid training content that teaches customers about more specific, advanced aspects of your products.
You can use the following steps to develop a customer training strategy for your business:
The first step to building a successful customer education strategy is to choose goals for your program. Your customer education goals should align with your business’s overarching goals as well as empower your customers to use your products successfully.
Once you’ve chosen a goal for your customer education strategy, you need to find the resources to turn it into a reality. If you don’t have an unlimited amount of resources to pour into your training strategy, it might seem like there’s little hope of creating a worthwhile training academy. However, starting small and focusing on specific gains can help you make incremental progress and maintain perspective. You can also try borrowing excess resources from other departments.
Once you have your goals and the resources to achieve them, you can start creating training content. Your training content should be designed to help customers achieve better outcomes with your products. For SaaS customers, this might include building courses that teach customers how to use specific technical features. However, training content can take many forms and does not have to be restricted to product instruction.
Once you have your content created, it’s time to make it accessible to customers so they can take advantage of it. A learning management system like Northpass is one of the best means of organizing your content into a centrally accessible online learning academy.
After your customers have had a bit of time to interact with your content, gather feedback and find out how you can improve the learning experience. Analyzing the impact your customer education efforts have on various metrics, such as customer engagement and customer retention, can help you determine whether or not your training program is meeting its goals. Some of the best customer training examples have an iterative, feedback-centric development process to thank for their success.
Effective customer training requires the right tools. It would be very difficult to build and maintain a comprehensive online customer training program without any kind of software for support. One of the best customer training tools for SaaS companies is learning management software. An LMS like Northpass can introduce a variety of benefits to your business’s customer education strategy:
A learning management system enables you to house all your customer education content in a single online academy that’s accessible via a customer portal. This creates a convenient online learning environment for your customers where they can access training content any time they want.
An LMS-powered customer academy can be accessed by many customers at one time — unlike traditional customer education courses that usually have maximum capacities. This makes it possible for you to scale up your customer base without committing more resources to customer education.
Northpass comes with powerful analytics features that help you analyze the feedback you gather from customers so you can improve your training courses.
Before a customer can get value from any kind of product, they need access to a reliable customer education program.
Customer education is a long-term strategy that continues throughout the whole customer journey. Some of your training content will appear in the customer onboarding process, but some of it will be used for ongoing training long after the onboarding process is complete.
Customer training programs are valuable for nearly every kind of customer, but SaaS customers, in particular, need training content that can help them succeed with your business’s products.
You can’t expect customers to automatically understand the value of your software solutions and how to use them. If you want customers to engage with your products and ultimately continue giving you their business, you will need to offer them training content that leads them toward success. A SaaS training platform like Northpass is one of the best tools for delivering effective training content to your customers.