An effective customer training program is a surefire way to drive engagement and sales, build brand loyalty, and increase user satisfaction. However, customer training differs from internal employee training in key ways that will affect your planning. This means you need a thoughtful and well-planned approach as you design your client training, giving extra attention to format and delivery methods.
To help guide you through the process, we’ve laid out 12 steps to build your customer training course and materials. After following these steps, you’ll be equipped to build a client training program for maximum results.
Let’s dive in!
1. Set great goals
It’s not just a cliche – every learning initiative should start with realistic SMART goals! As you start to redesign or improve customer training, get detailed about what you want users to gain from your training.
Here are two examples of great goals you could set for your training program:
- Within 6 months, 75% of new users will be successfully completing the 90-day onboarding sequence.
- Within 3 months, 2/3rds of active users will have tried our newest feature.
2. Identify real customer needs
Get your customer service team, sales reps, and account managers involved in the process to determine:
- How do our customers currently get information about our products and services?
- Who do they contact most often?
- What are the biggest pain points of our customer journey? (onboarding, technical support, account management, etc.)
Contact a sample of current customers to ask for their input on:
- Their onboarding experience.
- Any difficulty they’ve had with certain features, or any technical issues.
- Their interest in future training webinars, discussion forums, and certification courses.
- Their current level of satisfaction with their understanding of your product and business.
All of this feedback will inform your decision-making on what to prioritize as you build & structure new customer training content.
3. Assess current materials to identify gaps
To determine the type and format of training that your customers need most, take an audit of all your current training materials, product guides, forums, etc.
Analyze web traffic and common search keywords on your website or support forums to see which questions are asked most often. You can also leverage Google scraping techniques to gather additional data on user queries and trends.
Then gather any current data you have on product usage rates. To get even more detailed, compare renewal and customer retention rates from your sales team.
This will give you further insight into the overall picture of where most customers are struggling or where engagement drops off.
4. Design your training courses
Now it’s time to outline a training pathway that you want clients to take, from implementation to becoming a veteran user.
Set clear learning objectives for each sequence of training videos and materials. Start with a sketch / outline of the content and collect the necessary collateral and media relevant to each course.
5. Pick the right platform
This is a vital step in the process! Businesses are widely choosing an LMS to deliver customer training because they can flex to support employees, customers, contractors, partners, and more!
A learning management system can be highly-customized to deliver training to specific segments of customers. It also offers real-time reporting to give visibility into customers’ challenges and how they like to interact with your training content.
6. Create short content
Be sure to keep your customer training short, sweet, and engaging!
- Evaluate materials from the perspective of a user who needs the answer ASAP!
- Offer a wide variety of formats including videos, tutorials, troubleshooting guides, and quizzes.
- Answer targeted, specific questions as opposed to only broad and vague descriptions.
- Break content up into bite-sized learning modules.
7. Keep content relatable & updated
Create your customer training content with the non-technical learner in mind! Be sure to teach features and actions in several different ways.
Your customers care most about the benefits and outcomes from using your products. Clearly demonstrate the purpose and expected results of the product and features you’re training them to use.
Over time, expand the scope of your customer training to share new business applications of existing features.
8. Support informal learning
Many SaaS businesses opt to create forums where customers can discuss, troubleshoot, and share ideas for ways to use their software with each other. This is a great way to turn clients into champions and advocates for your brand, since they gain a sense of ownership from mastering your products and sharing their knowledge with others.
9. Track training progress
If you choose an LMS for customer training, you’ll have detailed insight and real-time reporting on how and when clients are using your training content. You can calculate ROI based on usage of your training courses compared to customer satisfaction, renewal and retention rates.
Go even further by looking for evidence over time that customer service tickets for help on general questions have decreased as a result of your customer training!
Over time, this data will determine where you spend your efforts on new training materials. A customer training LMS also gives a simple way to get feedback on individual courses and modules to refine content continuously.
10. Make all departments aware of customer training
As we’ve mentioned in step 2, customer service, sales, marketing, IT, and account managers are all important pieces in the puzzle of customer training. To support your training efforts, be sure that all your teams know where to guide customers to find the answers.
This is where it comes in handy to have an LMS specifically for your own team members too – so that they know and understand what the customer is experiencing and have a central source of information to refer back to as they help customers.
11. Keep in touch with customers
Customer training is not a one-time event! Keeping your customer engagement high will require consistent demonstration that your platform performs better than anything else on the market. This goes a long way towards building brand loyalty.
Don’t just spend an hour or two at the beginning of their onboarding with you – train them throughout their lifecycle. Anticipate their needs at each stage of the process and provide resources on demand when they need them.
12. Offer incentives for completing customer training
Some SaaS companies have so clearly demonstrated their value that they offer formal customer training certifications – valued on resumes and on the job. Cisco, for example, offers extensive client training courses to master their products.
While you may be starting smaller, consider supporting customers and driving engagement with incentives. Maybe it’s a discount on their next month of SaaS, or a gift card to a coffee shop or the Kindle store. Whatever you decide, your customers will appreciate the recognition and stick around for more valuable content.
Frequently asked questions
What is a customer training program?
A customer training program is a course or materials created to help users use your products. Client training helps your customers understand how to maximize their investment and use your product effectively. Ultimately, you want them to master your product and become a champion for your brand.
Comprehensive, on-demand customer training also takes a big burden off your customer service and support teams. With fewer general questions to answer, they can focus on more technical inquiries and improving training materials.
Training customers is valuable for clients at all stages – starting with their initial purchase and continuing with everyday usage. Customer training uses multiple formats, like:
- Onboarding materials & quickstart guides
- On-demand training materials
- Knowledge hubs
- Instructor-led demos or classes
- Certification courses
Finding the right balance of these formats will help you achieve your customer training goals for both new and long-time customers.
Why have a customer training program?
Your organization needs a customer training program because supported customers are engaged customers! A great client training program will improve engagement with your products, increase customer satisfaction, and build brand loyalty.
At the end of the day, all those things drive revenue, increase customer retention and enhance your brand! It’s truly a cycle that – once started – will continue to build a culture of learning.
Why choose Continu for your customer training program?
Continu is an ideal platform to deliver customer training. As the leading modern learning platform, Continu can be your single source for all workplace learning – inside and outside your organization. Here are a few key reasons to consider Continu:
1. Centralize your customer training materials
Continu keeps all your customer training materials in a central location for easy access. Customers can access answers from any device, any time, and keep track of their progress if they enroll in a certification course, for example.
2. Integrate with commonly used tools
Continu has seamless LMS integrations with tools like Slack, MS Teams, Google Calendar, and Zoom to connect your customers to training materials in the most-used tools in their daily workflow.
3. Increase customer engagement with your product
Continu can boost your average customer engagement rate to 92%, compared to the industry standard of 11%. Our platform effectively uses multimedia training, microlearning, and an intuitive UX to make training a delight for your clients.
4. Track progress in real-time
Measure how your customers are progressing and where they may need extra support with custom reports and real-time data.
5. Build customer-focused learning tracks
Create and personalize learning tracks that will help your customers to learn your platform correctly and become confident advocates. Learning tracks offer a pathway and incentive to master your product, encouraging clients to keep moving through the training.
Want to see how Continu supports effective customer training?