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Bridging the Gap: An Ultimate Guide to Customer Training

Chances are you’ve devoted a lot of time and effort to training your teams, but have you ever thought about how to train your customers? Your business has its own set of unique needs and may require customer training for a variety of reasons. This need is even greater if you work in the software and SaaS fields. 

Effective and pleasant customer training is a cornerstone for the customer success strategy at your business. Not only does this training impact their ability to use your products, but it’s also a huge opportunity to reflect your values. 

Find out why customer training matters, some key tips to execute it properly, and more in this ultimate guide to customer training. 

What Is Customer Training? 

Customer training is training (either paid or free) that is available to your customers so that they have a better understanding of how to use your software or SaaS. Of course, these customer training strategies can also be adapted for other industries. 

When a customer first signs up for your service, you should offer them training right away, even before they start to use the product. The goal here is to anticipate their learning curve and the questions they might have and provide clear answers. 

Why Do You Need Customer Training?

If you are wondering why learning how to train your customers matters, then you are in the right place. Many business owners eventually conclude that customer training is essential for their overall success, but why? 

The truth is that every business needs customers to turn a profit. However, customer training enables your business to function at its highest level. A customer who is well informed about your products and services is more likely to return to you in the future. 

When a customer understands the importance and the value of what you offer, you build brand loyalty for life. Not to mention that your customers will find real value in the goods and services you offer if you train them well. 

This means that customers will be more willing to continue to pay for your products as time passes because they are committed to you and your company. Never underestimate the power of brand loyalty and refining the value proposition of your product. 

Customer training can minimize the amount of time your customer service department must spend with each new client. In the end, it may cost you something to put together training material, but it will ultimately save you money when your customer support team can dedicate more time to resolving issues and less on training. 

How to Train Your Customers

Now that you know the benefits of customer training, it is time to move on to the details and finer points to help you navigate these new waters. When you are ready to learn how to train your customers more effectively, these tips will give you a great starting point. 

Set SMART Goals

You may have heard this applied to other aspects of your business in the past, but the SMART model works well for training your customers as well. Before you can dive into creating the material you will use to educate customers, you first need to set measurable and achievable goals for both the business and the customer training. 

One of the easiest ways to do this is through the use of SMART goals, where SMART stands for: 

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound 

It isn’t enough to simply say that you want your customers to learn more about your product. You need to get deep into the details of what you want them to gain from your training. A good way to express this would be 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. 

Create Short Content

People have short attention spans and are eager to start using the software and services that they paid for. You might be providing them with high-quality customer training, but it will do you no good if they don’t engage with it. Make it feel achievable for them to complete the training, and they will be more likely to follow through with it. 

It can also help to keep all of your training documents organized in one section on your website. Create a tab with resources for your clients where all videos, papers, and downloadable graphics are kept in line. This makes it easier for your customer, who no longer has to search for the specific video they want. 

In general, the best thing to do is keep your training as short and user-friendly as possible. 

A lot of people will prefer video content to written manuals. If you decide to go this route, break up your training into several bite-sized pieces that allow your customer to work through the material as they need it. It is better to post ten 5-minute videos than to post one 50-minute video. 

In addition to video content, consider adding quick visuals that your customers can use to teach themselves how to use your software or platform. Rather than create a detailed white paper that few people will read, make some handy charts. Hire a graphic designer to create infographics for your customers to print out and refer back to when needed. 

Downloadable files are an easy way to keep your material top of mind for customers. They can save them directly to their desktop for easy access when they have questions. 

Keep Content Relatable 

The goal should be to keep all of your training materials as simple and relatable as possible. Use everyday language that is easy for anyone to understand. While it can be easy to dive right in to the tech features that make your SaaS business the best, it can be confusing for customers who may not know much about the technical side of things. 

Overly complex training materials can prevent customers from fully engaging with your product. They may feel that they don’t understand what it is or how it works. Their frustration at trying to learn something new will build until they decide to go with another company that promises an easier onboarding. 

Remember that every piece of content you make should point out how easy it is to implement your system into their existing business model. 

Support Informal Learning 

While your formal training program is essential for customer training, you also need to establish a means of informal support for your customers. This can take the form of a Facebook group, a message board, or a Q&A session at the end of a scheduled webinar. 

Make sure that you have at least a couple of customer service representatives available to answer questions, but they won’t have to be the only ones monitoring the conversation. An informal setting also allows other customers to pitch in and answer the most pressing questions. 

This is why it helps to develop a learning and development strategy with every team member. This strategy allows your staff to learn more about the product, providing them with the support they need to answer these informal questions from your customers. 

Make All Departments Aware of Customer Training

Learning how to train your customers is important for everyone — not just your customer support staff. As a general rule, your customer service team members will be the first in line to support a new client. They will be the ones fielding most of the questions and issues that users flag while in the middle of onboarding to your software. 

However, your marketing team is equally vital in this process. They should be utilizing their voice and advertising to show customers just how easy it is to use your software, service, or goods. 

With skilled marketing, a customer may choose to go with your company over another brand because they feel confident that all of their questions are going to be answered thoroughly during onboarding. 

This is where it comes in handy to have a learning management software specifically for team members so that they know and understand what the customer is experiencing and how to train customers. Continu is one program you can use to keep all of your data in one convenient location for employees to refer back to when necessary. 

Keep in Touch with Customers

As you learn how to train your customers, it is important to remember that it may not be just a one-time event. 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. 

The truth is that obtaining a new customer costs five times as much as retaining a current one. This statistic points to the fact that keeping your customers satisfied and consistently teaching or showing them how your platform performs better than anything else on the market will go a long way toward building up their brand loyalty. 

Don’t just spend an hour or two at the beginning of their onboarding with you. When you learn how to train customers, you should train them throughout their lifecycle. Anticipate their needs at each stage of the process and provide resources on demand when they need them. 

Offer Incentives for Completing Training

You might have the best training program in the world, but it won’t matter if your customers never engage with it. One way to ensure that more people will spend time watching training materials is to offer them an incentive. This might be a discount on their next month of SaaS, or it could be a gift card to a local restaurant in their area. 

No matter what you decide to offer, make sure to keep tabs on the percentage of customers who complete the training. You might try out a few different types of incentives to see what works the best for your business (and your bottom line). 

Track Progress with Your Training

Now that you have a solid training program set up for your customers, you need to spend some time figuring out how to measure success. This is an important component for setting SMART goals, and those goals do you no good if you don’t follow through with tracking and measuring data. 

Make sure that your customer service representatives keep tabs on how many customers are completing the training videos, when they utilize certain functions, and how pleased they are with the entire process. 

You should also track how much time you have saved your customer service employees by implementing this training. This is a key metric for determining how effectively you are customer training. Measure how many minutes they spend responding to email requests for help or answering customers’ questions on the phone. 

Compare this amount of time to how much they spend after you begin integrating a training session for your customers from the very start. You may find that your employees will be significantly more productive during their work hours. 

You can also send out a survey to see how your customers rate their experience with your brand in the beginning. This could provide valuable information for how to train your customers in the future. There is no substitute for seeing how your training videos and process holds up quite like asking direct questions about your courses and training. 

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