How To Start A Customer Training Program
We’ve shared WHY it's important to educate your customers about the software, platform, or services you provide as a business in order to generate revenue.
Now, we will share HOW you can begin developing a framework for customer training and ensure that customers are successful when using your platform or service.
Cater To The Customer and Identify Their Needs
When starting down the path of customer training experiences, the first step you should take is asking yourself, your team, and even your customers, “What problems or challenges do customers face using our solution?” and “What challenges or tasks in their day do you solve?”
This does two things:
Identifies areas of confusion, technical challenges, and potential support issues within your platform. This often requires a great level of empathy with your customers and platform users. Think about the potential pitfalls or challenges that they may face. Better yet, ask your current customers what those challenges are and what resources might make their working life better.
Addresses the customer from their perspective. Depending on their industry, specialization, workflows, etc. the training offerings could be customized to meet specific needs. Often we work with our clients to address user groups and develop “tracks” or “learning paths” that assist focused groups of customers in meeting specific needs within their industry, role, or workflow.
Taking the time to research these questions with customers and team members will drastically improve the success of your customer training program.
Consider Experience Levels
Once you have identified your customer, uncover the experience levels that exist within your customer base. Ask yourself:
Are they extremely technical and skilled in their industry?
Have they had to solve similar challenges before using other tools?
Do they manage teams of people, or are they a one-person team?
Identifying the experience levels and roles the training materials address is critical in ensuring your customer training program reaches your intended customers at their appropriate level of need.
Get Creative With Training Delivery
Now that you know your customers’ challenges with your product or service, what challenges they face in their current projects or tasks, and you know what experience levels exist within your customer community, you can begin to define and build a training framework to address their needs.
Considerations that go into this framework:
Who can assist in writing or creating the materials that address the customer challenges we’ve uncovered?
What would be the best way to share this information with our customers – email series, social media, live in-person workshops, online courses, certification tracks, or interactive apps?
How will you measure the effectiveness or success of the training materials?
Will you provide training for free? Paid per course? Subscription to online library of resources?
How will you measure the ROI of your training program?
Building out this framework may take some time and as with any other plan created for your business, it will almost certainly change over time. Identifying the key resources you have in-house or those that may benefit from an outsourced team can be critical in ensuring that your training initiative doesn’t stall along the way.
Measurement & Evaluation
One of the most overlooked aspects of many training programs is the importance of measuring its effectiveness. Depending on your goals for the program and the needs of the customer there could be many factors or variables that account for “success.”
How many courses did you sell? What was the ROI on the training program production?
Were support tickets and requests reduced? By how much?
Did customers increase platform usage and adoption? Have license sales grown?
Are referrals increasing now that more customers are experiencing success with your product or service?
What do the customers say about the training, product, or service in surveys before and after training events?
Setting a goal for the training program, measuring to those defined goals, and adjusting as necessary are critical for long-term success of any training program.
Wrapping It Up
So there you have it! We covered the initial steps that any organization looking to implement a customer training program should take when starting out. Again, always begin with the customer in mind and seek to solve real problems and challenges they face. Your customers, and your bottom line, will appreciate it.
We are commonly brought in to implement full learning platform solutions and develop courses for organizations, but there is increasing opportunity to leverage social media, email platforms, and customer support portals to provide valuable training content and educate your customers.
In our final post of this series, we will dive into some of the specific resources, tools, platforms, and software we use to meet the challenge of crafting and distributing customer education content and programs.