Master customer enablement with this guide. Discover strategies to empower customers, enhance product adoption, and foster long-term loyalty and satisfaction.
Some products just need to come with an instruction manual. Yes, we’re looking at you, IKEA furniture!
The instruction manual and the trusty Allen wrench are basic components of the IKEA customer training strategy to help you make the most of your new kitchen cabinets or bookshelf. But what about when you can’t make sense of the manual, or you’re convinced that a piece is missing? (Or does that only happen to us?!)
You’ll likely head right to their website to search their FAQ or to double-check the assembly manual. You might find their official YouTube channel to search for a video to help you. The knowledge base on their website and the assembly videos are part of their customer enablement strategy.
As a business, customer enablement is your way of supporting your customers in the short term to put training into action so they will have the best results with your product or service. Yes, there is some overlap between customer training and customer enablement. But keep reading for a closer look at the specifics of customer enablement and how including enablement strategies in your training will bring a new depth to your end-user experience.
What is Customer Enablement?
Customer enablement is the tactical side of customer training. It refers to the strategies and tools you use to help customers understand and use your products. It’s similar to the connection between sales training and sales enablement, where enablement is the practical application of training knowledge and the focus is on tools and techniques to achieve greater success.
Customer enablement has a wide range of applications, but it is most common in B2B SaaS and technology sectors where customers purchase a tool or subscription and require ongoing support to make the most of their investment.
Here are some examples of customer enablement in action:
- Providing dedicated customer success team members to answer questions and share personalized product updates with each customer
- A well-rounded onboarding process designed to show customers exactly what they need to get started, and where to turn when they’re unsure or need help
- Monitoring product usage rates and developing appropriate materials to improve lesser-used features or aspects of the product or service
- Offering an upsell at just the right time – when you know a customer has plateaued or has a new problem that you can help solve
- Using multimedia training content to increase customer engagement and their interest in learning more.
Your overall approach to customer training may stay largely the same over time, but customer enablement strategies can be designed, implemented, and swapped around easily to solve specific problems.
Why Do I Need Customer Enablement?
Customer enablement is an essential next step if you’ve already started your customer training process. Without enablement strategies in the mix, you may still struggle with low customer engagement or retention rates and a high churn rate. Confusion and ignorance are your biggest enemies in this battle. Why? Because a confused or frustrated customer may start looking elsewhere.
Customers are looking for results and a sense of connection and personalization from the products, services, and subscriptions they choose.
- 81 percent of consumers say a positive customer service experience increases the likelihood they’ll make a repeat purchase.
- 70 percent say they’ve made purchase decisions based on the quality of customer support.
Enablement strategies will help you equip customers with accurate information and get creative with how you share product features and use cases. And that accuracy and creativity will go a long way in your favor!
The Benefits of Customer Enablement
Don’t skip out on customer enablement activities. Here are some of the positive ripple effects that you could see after implementing practical customer training methods:
1. Higher product adoption rates
Give your amazing product features and applications the love they deserve through customer enablement. Users will be more likely to test features after seeing a simple tutorial, use case, or highlight, which in turn will keep them tuned in for future updates.
2. Identify customer needs
Customer enablement gives you a direct view into the struggles and unanswered questions that may be causing customers to turn elsewhere. This insight will help you to prioritize future product updates and create the most-requested features. Feedback from your end users is pure gold, so don’t overlook enablement as a key way to get their input as they are actually using your product.
3. Enhance your brand
Successful customer enablement builds your reputation as a customer-first business, and can earn you more referrals than any other strategy. Confident customers will be excited to champion your brand.
4. Gain a competitive edge
A reputation for great customer training and support becomes a great selling point in discussions with prospective customers.
5. Grow with your customer base
Great customer enablement can be scaled to support a growing customer base without a significant increase in budget. This is particularly true when you use an LMS for customer training and enablement. Adding new users is simple and cost-effective since they can all remotely access the same content libraries and training resources.
6. Reduce your support workload
Offer on-demand training resources to save some time for your customer service and support teams. Empower your customers to find the answers they need before they even need to open a support ticket. But if they do, your reps will be available sooner than ever before thanks to your proactive customer enablement!
7. Stop the churn
When customers feel supported and see results from your product, they are less likely to switch to competing solutions. This allows you to provide support and new features they need over a much longer period, all while building brand loyalty.
Four Core Components of Effective Customer Enablement
Want to be sure that your customer training strategy includes enablement? Incorporate these four elements:
1. Effective product onboarding
Onboarding is essential. The first impression lasts for a long time. Analyze where customers tend to drop off during the process. The drop-off could be a sign to save that information for a later time, or it could highlight where you need to improve or update content. Take notes from your real customers to hear what training they actually needed to get up and running in the beginning, and what can wait until further on in their customer journey.
2. Continuous training and education
Continuous learning is a competitive advantage, so think of your customers as students you want to see become lifelong learners. This could be accomplished with certification courses and targeted training matched with each customer’s company size, industry, or region.
Keep your training content updated regularly, and offer it in shorter, specific chunks (aka, microlearning) to keep learners interested. Your customers will be more likely to watch a 3-minute video on a new feature than they will be to complete a 35-minute course.
3. Active customer support
Access and confidence are so important in customer enablement. Shout your different support channels from the rooftops and ensure that every customer-facing team or employee knows what resources are available to help customers who have questions or problems to solve.
Improve consistency in your messaging and support process with an LMS. The LMS becomes the authoritative source for all support manuals, FAQs, policies, and legal documentation, solving the problem of multiple versions of manuals that conflict with each other and are time-consuming and costly to update.
4. Listen up
As we mentioned earlier, feedback from the customer enablement process is pure gold. Here are a few ways to listen and learn:
- Share customer stories frequently within your internal teams. It could be an engineer sharing about the most common problem they’ve seen recently, or a member of the implementation team walking everyone through their most recent project, highlighting the problems they were able to avoid. These real stories will spark new connections and ideas within your customer success team to improve the experience for everyone.
- Invite customers to a 30-minute interview to get their perspective on what’s working well and where they would like to see improvements. They could even share a glimpse into their unique business goals so you can see opportunities you may have to support them with more training or developing new features.
Great customer training puts a high value on enablement. Theoretical brand or service knowledge may be the start, but your training can’t end there.
It’s Time to Get Practical
If you’ve adopted a customer training strategy, but things haven’t ‘clicked’ yet, customer enablement could be the missing piece you need.
Continu is the leading LMS to help you achieve customer enablement. We provide a stable, central learning platform, and a wide range of content authoring tools with comprehensive reporting features. You add your customers and start designing learning paths to guide them along the way to a better understanding and a better grasp of how to use your product in their context.