Customer training can mean different things to different people. It can also look vastly different at various customer journey stages and life cycles, from awareness to advocacy. Yet this training itself has multiple purposes that can help a company eventually improve sales, have a healthy retention rate, and ultimately have a stronger bottom line with reduced expenses. Yet why does it matter? The money was already collected, and it is on to the next customer, right? So why should resources be allocated for customer training?
The business model has changed these days. Primarily, there is a lot more competition out there and transparency in pricing and features, making it just as important to gain new customers as it is to retain existing customers.
In addition, since customers have more options when selecting their products and services, they also have more power, so to attract them to come and look at your product and buy it needs to come with a bit more conviction of the overall experience. Part of that comes from customer training, so the customer feels empowered and knowledgeable about the product they are about to buy.
Part of the onboarding process is to provide a certain level of training. The more comprehensive the customer training is, the more engaged the customer will be with the product or service. They will end up using it more often, up to the point that they will become dependent on it to help them with their day-to-day activities and growing the business. This helps customers with this type of empowered training to become advocates very quickly internally with their current company and through word-of-mouth actions as well. No matter how great the product or service is, it will ultimately require social proofing from customers who are fully equipped to know how to use it.
Having the right training and resources on hand and easily accessible to the customer will only ensure the customer training happens and crosses those initial learning curves and barriers that can come from using something new. In fact, with a more educated customer, it will make it much easier down the line for upselling, as the customer training allows users to become experts and eventually come up with the need for additional features to enhance their already positive experience.
Training doesn’t just stop with the onboarding portion. Many companies these days are offering certificates for customers who take a series of courses, and they are proudly able to show off the level of expertise they have on those particular products or services. That will have these customers continue to use the product more because of how much time they’ve devoted to it.
This can be done through the system itself or as part of a healthy marketing campaign for existing customers. Your customers will not only be retained, but it could also lead to upsell opportunities at the same time since the customer already finds the product or service relevant and useful.
This is an important one that often feels nice to have. When you build out the right type of customer training, whether through comprehensive approaches or even through certification, there seems to be an inherent need for some to be able to teach what they know to others. That starts to build out and foster a sense of community online where the right businesses will open up social media communities and forums specifically set for users to engage with one another and answer each other’s questions.
Customer training helps to only engage and empower users to share their use cases freely. Someone may be taking the training and has a question about a particular feature, while someone else has an answer that helps resolve the situation. Customers helping other customers is a win for your business because these types of customers typically turn into advocates for your business.
On top of the sense of community, you’re basically having your own customers provide customer support related to your product or service. That means less of a need for dedicated customer support staff since the community builds a higher level of authenticity and knowledge bank through their active communication.
You can even promote community leaders from the pool of customers themselves if they’ve taken enough of the customer training you’ve developed. This leads to a hybrid advocate who’s there to push your branding, product, or service while being available to answer any and all questions.
The final area that customer training helps is through the feedback loop. Any chance to have high levels of engagement with your customer is a great place to get honest feedback about what to do better. Does there need to be more support? An enhanced feature? More competitive pricing? Whatever the feedback is on your product or service, it basically ends up being a navigation point to work on since it’s coming straight from your customers.
Once those issues are heard and resolved, then you can take action on it by going back to the customers with the communication that their feedback has been heard and implemented. This can lead to extremely loyal customers who feel that the company is authentic and cares about its customers. Higher retention means more advocates, which means improved sales.
You also end up having a higher level of satisfaction from each customer, and it all starts with customer training. Don’t provide just an FAQ and a video or two on each module. Instead, build out the customer training that makes the most sense based on the user personas you’ve developed. This precise and specific approach to customer training will help provide the maximum benefit because it will allow customers to immediately find success with the new product or service they received from you. Don’t wait any longer and either work to revamp your existing customer training platform or build one from the bottom up.