In a world where customer expectations are rising higher with every passing day, providing value extends beyond the product itself. In fact, 88 percent of customers now say the experience a company provides is as important as its product or services1, and as those products and services become more complex, the ability to provide self-service customer training options has become more important than ever.
Before customers make an investment, educating them about the market and your product or services can provide the additional background information they need to commit to a purchase. Likewise, after a customer has made a purchase, a successful customer training portal can provide you with the ability to guide them on how to effectively use your product or services to get the most value from it. Time is a valuable resource for us all, and that includes your customers. So, anything that allows them to quickly and efficiently discover and unlock the full potential of their purchase is a valuable tool for any business looking to enhance customer satisfaction.
How valuable, exactly? Studies have shown that having access to educational content makes consumers 131 percent more likely to commit to that initial investment.2
Fueled by Learning Management Systems (LMS), customer education portals have emerged as powerful tools to achieve this goal. This article will explore the significance of customer education portals, their role in enhancing customer product knowledge and satisfaction, and practical strategies for businesses to implement effective self-service training initiatives.
Customer education portals vs. traditional support
Where traditional customer support methods are reactive, requiring customers to seek help when issues arise, having a customer education portal in place allows for a proactive approach.
Instead of submitting tickets to your support or client advocacy teams or simply waiting for help with their problems or questions, training portals allow customers to explore training materials, troubleshoot, and enhance their knowledge on their own.
As opposed to traditional customer support methods, a successful customer training portal provides a level of flexibility that allows users to learn at their own pace. While it doesn’t necessarily mean that one on one support is no longer an important offering, this self-service approach allows your customers to receive information and guidance that they need, as they need it. While also catering to both seasoned users looking to deepen their expertise and newcomers seeking basic knowledge. The result is a more engaged and knowledgeable customer base that is able to access information on whatever they want, whenever they want it.
LMS: The backbone of a successful customer training portal
An LMS serves as the backbone for creating a truly effective customer education portal. Providing a centralized hub for organizing, delivering, and tracking training content, as well as for upskilling admins on new features or functionalities within the portal itself, having a solid LMS to support your self-service customer training initiatives gives you access to features like course management, progress tracking, assessment tools, and more. With all of these capabilities working together, it becomes much easier for businesses to manage the entire training lifecycle.
The top 3 benefits gained from using an LMS for customer training include:
1. Centralized content management
LMS platforms offer a centralized hub for organizing training content to help in streamlining the management process. Unlike traditional methods that often involve scattered files, folders, and varied storage locations, using an LMS for customer training provides a more centralized approach to enhance efficiency by allowing administrators to easily organize and update content in one location. With simplified content management, you can ensure consistency across training materials, allowing for a more cohesive and standardized learning experience for your customers.
2. Efficient delivery and accessibility
LMS platforms enable the delivery of training content to your customers anytime, anywhere. Unlike in-person training or the manual distribution of materials, LMS platforms offer the flexibility of remote access. This means that learners can engage with content at their convenience — even on mobile — something that only enhances the learning experience but also accommodates a global audience, making it a more efficient and inclusive method of content delivery compared to more traditional approaches.
3. Real-time tracking and progress monitoring
One of the key advantages of using an LMS for customer training is that they provide you with the ability to access real-time tracking and progress monitoring. Unlike traditional methods where tracking progress typically involves manual record-keeping and the delayed feedback that this brings, LMS platforms are able to provide immediate insights into user engagement. This allows administrators to track metrics like completion rates, assess quiz scores, and identify areas where learners may need additional support, empowering businesses to adapt and tailor training content based on actual user performance.
Designing effective customer training content
To create an impactful customer education portal, businesses must develop content that directly addresses common customer pain points and needs. Understanding what exactly it is that your customers are looking for and the challenges they face in gaining the knowledge that they’re after can allow your business to tailor training materials to provide practical solutions that deliver.
Some common pain points include:
- Complex product knowledge: Any business providing more complicated products or services typically finds that some customers will struggle with fully understanding its offerings. A customer education portal powered by an LMS can break down the details on what it is you have to offer into digestible modules, providing structured learning paths and self-help training resources that can enhance customer confidence.
- Inadequate Onboarding: If your customers often seem unaware of how to use your products or services effectively, it may be a result of insufficient customer onboarding with the LMS. Leveraging an LMS in a customer education portal allows for the creation of comprehensive onboarding courses that allow you to guide users through all of the essential functions and features that you offer step by step.
- Limited access to information: Customers that are looking for information to guide their purchasing decision often face challenges accessing it when it’s needed. A well-implemented LMS for customer training ensures 24/7 accessibility to a centralized knowledge base. This empowers users to seek information at their convenience, reducing their dependency on support teams and promoting a self-service approach to problem-solving.
- Outdated customer product knowledge: For businesses that provide regular updates and enhancements to their offerings, outdated or obsolete product information can regularly lead to confusion. But an LMS-backed customer education portal allows for real-time updates, ensuring that training materials evolve alongside product developments. This guarantees that users are equipped with the latest information, reducing the risk of misinformation, and promoting accurate product understanding.
- Varied skill levels: Customers come with a range of different experiences, and that includes the level of technical skill with which they approach your products or services. An LMS allows you to develop personalized learning paths, enabling content to be catered to their needs. This ensures that novice users aren’t left scratching their heads while more advanced users can get straight to the meat of the issue, fostering a more inclusive and effective learning experience.
When developing a customer education portal to address customer pain points like those above, the delivery method can often be just as important as its content. For example, multimedia elements like video tutorials and interactive presentations serve as a way to break down complex product features into more digestible formats. These visual aids cater to various learning preferences, ensuring that customers, regardless of their skill level, can absorb information more effectively. Likewise, detailed step-by-step tutorials can provide customers with a level of guidance that allows for a more structured approach to their understanding.
Along with these delivery methods, having a solid knowledge base featuring well-crafted articles can be just as useful in combating issues related to limited access to information and outdated customer product knowledge resources. A comprehensive library of knowledge base articles that is regularly updated and synchronized with product developments provides customers with a reliable go-to resource for self-guided learning. These articles can cover everything from basic onboarding procedures to advanced troubleshooting techniques, empowering users to find relevant information at their convenience.
Where self-service customer training gets personal
When it comes to self-service customer training, personalization stands out as a key driver of the engagement and effectiveness of the solution you have to offer. In fact, a study from McKinsey highlights that 71 percent of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions, with 76 percent claiming they get frustrated when this doesn’t happen. However, tailoring the customer training experience within the portal involves understanding the unique needs and preferences of individual users.
Strategies for personalization could include the creation of customized learning paths based on known user roles, skill levels, and historical interactions. By curating content specific to each user, businesses can ensure that customers engage with specific training materials that directly address their challenges and goals. This personalized approach not only fosters a deeper connection between users and the training content but also accelerates the learning curve, leading to increased proficiency and confidence.
Of course, no amount of personalization can help if users are unable to navigate their way through your customer education portal. To allow customers to effortlessly explore and engage with your training materials, any LMS for customer training should prioritize simplicity and accessibility based on the unique needs of the different customers that you serve.
According to a 2022 survey, 81 percent of consumers say they want more self-service options, yet only 15 percent of consumers expressed a high level of satisfaction with the tools provided to them. Overcoming that issue means taking an approach that combines a high level of both personalization and intuitive navigation that ensures your users can seamlessly progress through modules, find relevant information with ease, and track their own learning journey.
By taking a personalized and user-friendly approach to self-service customer training, businesses can promote a positive perception of their training portal, making the learning experience more enjoyable and efficient for everyone that puts it to use. It is this combination of personalization and user-friendly design that creates an effective customer education portal that’s capable of not only imparting knowledge efficiently but elevating the overall user experience.
Boosting customer acquisition with self-help training resources
The ability to serve up easily accessible self-help training resources during the initial process of customer onboarding with your LMS allows for a highly proactive approach to customer engagement. By allowing prospective clients to explore interactive tutorials, informative videos, knowledge base articles, and other educational materials on the topics that they’re most interested in as they need them, you provide them with the ability to gain valuable insights into your offerings at their own pace.
This not only speeds up the learning process but also instills confidence in your ability to solve their problems or deliver the results they’re after, fostering a positive initial experience. After all, a well-informed potential customer is more likely to convert into a satisfied, long-term client.
By seamlessly integrating customer training into your acquisition strategy, you can create a valuable touchpoint that goes beyond conventional marketing efforts, establishing a foundation for lasting customer relationships from the very beginning.
Enhancing customer product knowledge and usage with an LMS
When combined with an LMS, customer education portals are able to serve as a powerful tool for elevating customer product knowledge far beyond the capabilities provided with conventional training. In fact, a recent study from TSIA found that companies that have a comprehensive product training program in place for their customers saw a 68 percent of customers using their product more, 58 percent using more features, and 87 percent of their customers feeling more confident with using their products more independently.
By leveraging an LMS for customer training, your portal becomes an educational hub where customers can explore easily accessible and personalized self-help training resources that empower them to discover and grasp the full spectrum of product features and functionalities — and a well-informed customer base is far more likely to explore and use advanced product capabilities effectively.
What’s more, as customers navigate through the training portal, they can gain more insights into best practices, advanced features, and potential use cases. This, in turn, allows them to fine-tune their understanding of your products and how to extract maximum value from them. Contributing to improvements in customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Measuring the ROI of customer training
Evaluating the return on investment (ROI) of any customer training initiative is crucial for businesses aiming to gauge exactly how effective their program is to justify the ongoing investment.
Some key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to track include:
- Customer satisfaction (CSAT): By collecting feedback through surveys or post-training assessments, businesses gauge the overall satisfaction of users. A high CSAT indicates a positive impact, emphasizing that the training initiative is meeting or exceeding customer expectations.
- Product usage: Increased customer product knowledge allows for greater usage, reflected in metrics like feature adoption rates and frequency of use, shows that customers are applying the knowledge gained during training in their day-to-day interactions with the product.
- Support ticket reduction: As customers become more self-sufficient, support teams can focus on handling more complex issues. Reduced support ticket volume demonstrates both cost savings and increased operational efficiency.
- Time-to-proficiency: A shorter time-to-proficiency indicates that the training program is effective in accelerating the learning curve. This KPI is particularly relevant for businesses with time-sensitive training initiatives seeking to streamline customer onboarding with the LMS and their products.
Through leveraging these KPIs and metrics, businesses can gain a comprehensive view of the tangible outcomes of their customer training initiatives when looking to secure ongoing support and resources from stakeholders. By highlighting how well-trained customers contribute to things like increasing product adoption, decreasing support costs, and enhancing customer satisfaction, stakeholders can see a direct correlation between training efforts and overarching business success.
Finally, to ensure that stakeholders are able to readily understand the results, be sure to communicate these outcomes in clear and accessible formats such as comprehensive reports or dashboards. This way you can make it easier for them to appreciate the positive influence of customer training on your organization’s overall goals.
Maintaining training momentum into the future
When looking at successful customer training portals and the value they can bring to your organization, it’s important to keep one eye on the future. Because as your business grows and the needs around training evolve for your customers and the products on offer, you need to consider how your customer education portal will evolve to keep up.
By leveraging a learning management system for customer training, you can gain a significant advantage in this area.
As businesses experience growth in their customer base, an LMS enables seamless expansion of training resources and content. The centralized nature of an LMS allows for new users, modules, and courses to be added with rapid efficiency, ensuring that training programs can accommodate an expanding audience without compromising quality.
This scalability is particularly important for industries that see regular shifts in customer expectations, technology, requirements, or other factors where the demand for customer training may intensify rapidly. As the customer base grows, using an LMS for customer training grants you the flexibility to adapt and scale training initiatives, fostering a consistent and standardized learning experience for all users.
Likewise, the feedback loop that an LMS provides you with plays a big role in delivering continuous improvements. A well-integrated feedback mechanism within the LMS enables businesses to collect insights on the effectiveness of training materials, the clarity of content, and the overall learning experience. Plus, by soliciting and analyzing customer feedback on training programs you can quickly and easily identify areas for enhancement and tailor content to the evolving needs of your customers.
This feedback-driven approach not only ensures that your training programs remain relevant and impactful but also fosters a collaborative relationship between your organization and its customers. By actively incorporating customer input, businesses can refine training strategies, address pain points, and deliver a training experience that aligns seamlessly with the evolving requirements of their expanding customer base.
For more information on how Absorb LMS can help your business unlock the power of self-service customer training portals in building stronger customer relationships, increasing loyalty, and driving business success, schedule a demo today.