Your organization’s offerings won’t bring much value if your customers don’t know how to best adopt or interact with your products. Businesses are waking up to the fact that it’s in their best interests to provide value early, and often, through seamless customer onboarding and improved customer training efforts.
When you consistently deliver a high-quality customer experience, customers become powerful brand advocates. While this sounds simple, setting up the foundations of how to offer training solutions that can scale and deliver consistent value isn’t a one and done initiative. Read on to learn more about the importance of implementing robust customer training efforts and how your organization can create a scalable program with ease with the help of the right LMS.
Defining customer training and education
Customer training, also commonly referred to as customer education, is essentially content that’s designed to onboard, engage and retain your new and existing customers. It is also part of extended enterprise training. Courses or programs are intended to help users of your product or service understand your company and improve time-to-value.
The importance of a robust training program
Customer expectations are at an all-time high, with 66% of them expecting companies to understand their needs and expectations.1 If your organization can’t guarantee their expectations are adequately met, they can easily take their business elsewhere.
Strengthen your customer experience strategy and training to ensure a competitive edge
Industry leaders consistently cite a lack of product adoption as a top customer journey challenge. With a comprehensive training and education program in place, customers can leverage products or services with ease.
- Developing an effective customer training strategy is paramount to retaining customers, reducing churn and receiving important feedback on your products or services. It’s also the foundation for long-term customer satisfaction and loyalty.
For example, Anheuser-Busch faced the monumental challenge of strategizing for over 15,000 North American employees, yet their success lies in orchestrating a corporate learning transformation that enhanced adaptability and future readiness.
The essence of leveraging customer training for product adoption is encapsulated in such success stories. In episode 1 of the Return on Intelligence podcast, host Al Kinnear delves into scaling impactful learning experiences, featuring an illuminating conversation with Devin Hastie, Director of Commercial Learning at Anheuser-Busch, unveiling the triumphant narratives within successful organizations.
Moreover, a thriving learning culture extends beyond internal teams. An example is Anheuser-Busch's innovative partner training program, BrewU, as shared by Devin Hastie in a recent episode. BrewU trains approximately 400 wholesalers across North America on effectively selling and promoting their products. Using Absorb LMS, the platform engages learners through web-based, self-led content and offers certification, skills badges, and personalized learning journeys to enhance job performance.
When both employees and retail partners are equipped with insights from a robust learning culture, they possess the skills and confidence to efficiently handle inquiries and address concerns. This not only optimizes the customer experience but also fosters trust and credibility, ensuring prompt resolution of customer needs and issues.
In-depth customer training program insights
Customer training programs are multifaceted initiatives that play a pivotal role in enhancing the customer journey. They encompass a range of objectives, benefits, and approaches tailored to different stages of the customer lifecycle. If you aren’t already sold on customer training, here's an overview of what makes customer training programs essential.
Objectives and approaches of customer training programs
Customer training programs aim to achieve several key objectives and approaches:
- Onboarding objective: Ensure that new customers can quickly adapt to your products or services, minimizing the learning curve and maximizing their early experience
- Onboarding approach: Introducing new customers to your products or services, ensuring they feel comfortable and empowered to use them
- Product training objective: Provide customers with in-depth knowledge of your offerings, enabling them to use the products to their full potential
- Product training approach: Focusing on the specific features, benefits, and capabilities of your offerings
- Certification program objective: Offer certification or skill validation to customers, reinforcing their expertise and boosting their confidence in your brand
- Certification program approach: Creating structured programs that validate customer expertise and build trust in your brand
Benefits of customer training programs
Prioritizing customer education offers a host of compelling benefits, including:
- Improved customer satisfaction: Well-trained customers are more satisfied and likely to engage with your products effectively
- Enhanced customer loyalty: Informed customers tend to be more loyal, driving customer retention rates
- Upselling opportunities: Educated customers are more likely to explore additional products or services you offer
- Positive word of mouth: Satisfied and knowledgeable customers become advocates, promoting your brand through word-of-mouth
- Increased revenue: A well-executed customer training program can lead to higher revenue streams
With these insights, you're better equipped to understand the scope and potential of customer training programs, and we'll further explore creating a scalable customer training program in the following sections.
Creating a scalable customer training program
While the strategic importance of introducing proper customer education initiatives is clear, like a lot of things the execution of how to build the program is just as important. Here are targeted tips for scaling your customer training efforts successfully:
1. Assess educational needs
Before making changes or improvements to the programs you already have in place, review what’s currently there and assess any customer educational needs that aren’t being addressed. Consider any barriers to success your customers might face, such as:
- Is the onboarding overly complicated?
- Do they know how to start using your product?
- How long does it take for them to become proficient?
- Are they engaging with the content? If not, why not?
- How is the transition from onboarding to ongoing enablement?
- How are their needs evolving, and how are we keeping track of that?
The answers to these questions ultimately set the foundations for your training and education programs moving forward.
2. Re-evaluate current training content
With a clear picture of areas for improvement, take stock of the training materials you have in place and determine whether they’re meeting your customers’ needs or acting as barriers.
The reality is that your customers want access to what they need, when they need it, while they’re working. Are you providing training that means they have to stop and step outside of their regular work, or are you creating relevant learning experiences that are engaging, integrated into workflows, and enhancing their experience?
Here are a couple of ways to optimize your current training content for impact and relevance:
- Create microlearning modules: Break down long training sessions into short, focused modules that customers can access within their workflow to quickly get specific skills or knowledge
- Provide just-in-time training videos: Share instructional videos that customers can watch when they encounter specific challenges, helping them get new skills on the spot
3. Offer virtual, flexible, and on-demand training opportunities
In-person training can be costly, inefficient and difficult to scale as your customer base grows. Instead, start hosting virtual instructor-led training (VILT) — where information is delivered to customers in a virtual, online environment. This can help your organization reduce training costs significantly while producing the same results. It’s important to remember these sessions can still be highly interactive through the use of digital tools like chat, polls and questions.
A significant obstacle to onsite customer training is the inability to provide support at the customer’s time of need. By offering flexible, on-demand training programs your customers can access resources whenever and however they prefer with no restrictions on time zone, location or room capacity. You can create an archive of content through recorded webinars, infographics, slideshows and more to develop on-demand learning opportunities, which ultimately reduces customer reliance on support and success teams.
4. Use FAQs and feedback as a source of training content ideas
Addressing customer support inquiries is an invaluable resource to foster new training content ideas. You can compile your most frequently asked questions and use them as a foundation for developing new material. This might include questions surrounding a particular product feature, update, or general “how-to” questions, which are typically the most common. Creating training content that teaches customers to understand your offerings and use them correctly can help mitigate and field repetitive questions.
Frequent customer questions can be useful beyond training content inspiration. You can also use common inquiries to create a knowledge base for customers, so they find answers to simple questions quickly, without having to create a customer service ticket.
The backbone of customer training: A modern LMS
An LMS serves as the central hub for delivering, managing, and tracking training content and progress. With the right LMS offering your customers will get a seamless learning experience, making it easy for them to access and engage with your training materials.
This makes choosing the right LMS for customer training a critical decision. When doing your research consider factors such as scalability, user-friendliness, and integration capabilities. Your LMS should align with your organization's growth objectives and be able to adapt to changing customer needs.
Here are some key areas an LMS can support you:
Creating engaging training content
Keeping your content current, relevant, and easy to access to ensure a positive learning experience is one part of the puzzle. The second part is making it engaging. Engaging content is the heart of any successful customer training program, so you need to be able to easily tailor your content to meet the specific needs of your customers. Consider the use of multimedia, microlearning, and interactive elements to keep customers motivated and involved in their learning journey.
Personalizing training for different customer segments
One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to customer training. Personalization is key. Use customer data to create tailored training experiences for different industries, roles and users. This targeted approach increases engagement and ensures that customers receive training content that's relevant to their specific needs, ultimately leading to higher satisfaction and proficiency.
Measuring the impact of customer training
Effective customer training should have a measurable impact on your business. Key performance indicators (KPIs) play a vital role in tracking this impact. By monitoring KPIs such as customer satisfaction, product adoption rates, and customer retention, you can gauge the effectiveness of your training program. All while strengthening your customer relationships and your bottom line.
Building stronger customer relationships through training
A well-crafted training program can contribute to improved customer engagement and retention. By offering valuable training experiences, you enhance customer loyalty and transform customers into advocates for your brand, fostering long-lasting relationships.
Seamless integration with CRMs for enhanced customer experience
Integrating your customer training program with your customer relationship management (CRM) system streamlines data synchronization, allowing for a more comprehensive understanding of your customers and their training progress. With this data, you’ll be able to deliver a consistent and holistic customer experience, where training is seamlessly tied to your customer relationship management efforts.
Navigating regulatory and compliance aspects of customer training
In certain industries, regulatory and compliance considerations play a pivotal role in customer training. Use your LMS to ensure that your training program complies with all relevant guidelines, rules and industry-specific regulations, and to track and document compliance-related training activities to remain compliant.
Evolving your customer training strategy
A customer training program should never remain stagnant. Continuous improvement and adaptation are crucial. Actively gather feedback from customers to understand what's working and what needs enhancement. Make improvements based on their input to create a training program that evolves alongside your customers' needs, ensuring its long-term relevance and effectiveness.
Leverage an LMS to kick-start your customer training program
For a great customer experience, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more, and a robust, comprehensive customer training program is the linchpin toinimproving the customer journey.2 With Absorb LMS, you can elevate your customer education opportunities with ease. As the leading customer training LMS on the market, Absorb LMS can help your organization implement customer training programs that:
- Ensure customers get the most out of your offerings
- Earn your customer’s trust and loyalty
- Act as a powerful competitive advantage
- Creates advocates to build your brand and drive revenue
At Absorb, we understand the importance of powerful customer onboarding and training efforts, and we’re here to help. Learn more about customer training through Absorb LMS, Or, if you’re ready to drive positive business outcomes, track customer success and foster an advocate community, request a demo today.