Employee training gets the bulk of the attention in the L&D space. But how much thought have you given to training your customers?
Customer training is an essential for many businesses, especially those in the software and SaaS industry. Effective customer training is a cornerstone of your customer success strategy. It impacts customers’ ability to use your products. It’s also a key opportunity to display and promote your brand values and gain customer loyalty.
Our guide explores the what and why of customer training, key benefits for your business, and tips to execute customer training well. Plus, we’ll see what we can learn from some of the businesses leading the way with customer training.
Successful customer training is a powerful force, and we’re here to help you see and enjoy the benefits!
What Is Customer Training?
Customer training involves educating customers on product usage to enhance their knowledge and satisfaction. It includes online tutorials, user manuals, videos, webinars, and workshops. By providing customer training, organizations empower customers to maximize product value, reduce support inquiries, and foster long-term success and loyalty.
- Empowers customers – they can use self-directed learning to master your product or service
- Frees your customer service and support reps – they’ll have fewer general questions to field
- Delivers value – your customers will be able to maximize their investment
Customer training can start as soon as a customer engages with your service, sometimes before they have started to use your product. The goal here is to predict their learning curve and questions by providing clear answers.
Training customers is valuable at all stages of the customer lifecycle. It comes in various formats, like:
- Onboarding materials & quick start guides
- On-demand training materials
- Knowledge hubs
- Instructor-led demos or classes
- Certification courses
All of these can be leveraged to achieve your goals and provide learning on-demand to new users and long-time customers alike.
But why is customer training so vital? Isn’t an initial onboarding enough for most? Let’s break down the whys.
Why Do You Need Customer Training?
Customer training enables your business to function at its highest level. It’s an opportunity to position your services and products in the best possible way for optimal usage and reception. A customer who is well-informed and trained about your products and services is more likely to return to you in the future.
Communicating your product value well builds brand loyalty for life.
Research by TSIA shows that after training:
- 68% of customers will use the product more
- 56% will use more product features, and
- 87% say they can work more independently with the tool.
Customer training may be especially valuable for your organization if:
- You’re in the software, SaaS, or related industries with the opportunity to retain customers through annual license renewals and give clear support to master your product.
- You have a network of customers, partners, contractors, or distributors who need a strong grasp on your product or service.
- You want to improve customer retention rates.
- You want to free up your customer service team with fewer basic inquiries.
The Top Benefits of Customer Training
These are the top benefits of a great customer training strategy:
1. Save time for your customer service reps
Effective customer training can reduce the amount of time your customer service department must spend with each new client. It’s just as effective when medium or long-term customers can confidently find detailed answers in your knowledge base or product guides,
There will be an up-front investment to design these training materials, but it will ultimately save money when your customer support team can dedicate more time to resolving issues and less on training.
2. Retain customers & build brand loyalty
Your customers will find real value in the goods and services you offer if they’re equipped with great training. This means that customers will be more willing to continue to pay for your products as time passes through commitment to you and your company. Effective customer training can also turn your customers into advocates and champions who recommend you to their network of connections.
Here are a few key ways to create this loyalty:
- Give a great experience with onboarding, using tutorials, microlearning, and anticipating FAQ.
- Provide courses to become certified in your product or software, giving customers a resume boost and additional qualifications.
- Build well-designed learning tracks for customers to complete at their own pace and access anywhere.
3. Improve your products and services
Client training is a great way to get feedback and real-time data on areas of confusion or how customers are using your products. You can use this information to refine your customer training and your products. This promotes a culture of learning inside and outside your organization!
4. Support your sales team in upselling and cross selling
Effective client training supports your sales reps to close the deal when it’s time for subscription renewals. It helps when a new or different product might be a good fit to cross sell.
You’re probably sensing the cycle by now: robust and effective customer training improves satisfaction, product engagement, and builds trust and loyalty. All these things drive revenue, increase your customer retention rates, and enhance your brand reputation.
So you’re ready to rethink your customer training approach. What are the best practices to keep in mind?
Customer Training Best Practices
With a few key considerations, you can design a client training program to achieve all those benefits for your business and customers. Don’t forget to consider your end goals and the best methods to keep training engaging and relevant.
1. Set training goals
Get into the details of what you want clients to gain from your training.
Try to list out what percentage of customers you want to engage with your product in a specific way in a given period. For example, you might want 60 percent of your customers to upgrade to a premium package to access more in-depth features in the next three months.
2. Prioritize microlearning
Keep your training as short and user-friendly as possible. Identify a logical pathway to master your product and break the pathway into chunks that customers can easily work through. Prioritize video content, tutorials, and charts over written guides.
3. Keep content relatable
Overly complex training materials can prevent customers from fully engaging with your product. Remember that every piece of content you make should point out how to practically implement your system in their existing business model.
4. Consider the full customer life cycle
Adding new features or more in-depth material to your training courses is one way to keep your customers up-to-date on the latest trends. Anticipate their needs at each stage of the process and provide resources on demand where needed.
Obtaining a new customer costs five times as much as retaining a current one. Showing customers how your platform, service, or software performs better than anything else on the market will go a long way toward building up their brand loyalty.
Ways to Deliver Training to Customers
Brandon Hall Group research found that 79% of companies said technology was a key factor in their success at delivering customer training. Among companies who said their customer training was effective or highly effective, 2/3rds use an LMS.
What’s the difference? These organizations have learned that an LMS is the ideal platform to host, create, and track customer training.
An LMS provides the central platform for client training materials. It allows for multimedia formats, interactive learning, and it’s simple to track learner progress and get reports in real time. With an LMS, you’ll have full insight into where your customers might be struggling and how they prefer to engage with your content.
Keep Reading: The 6 Best LMS for Customer Training