Customer training can reduce client support interactions and improve client retention
When it comes to eLearning, the most commonly addressed audience is an organization’s internal employees. However, there are benefits to expanding your learning programs to nonemployees, otherwise known as the extended enterprise.
One of the audiences for whom training will provide massive returns is your customers. Customer training can help drive positive business outcomes and is an excellent way to foster customer loyalty.
Customer loyalty has continually been highlighted as an area of focus for businesses. Now, it’s more important than ever as millennials have officially surpassed Gen X as the largest generation in the US workforce. Millennials have consistently proven to be an intensely brand-loyal generation. For instance, 28% of millennials have participated in a boycott. Similarly, a recent study by American Express found that 62% of millennials said they tended to only ever buy a preferred brand. Although these stats point to consumer behavior, consumer trends tend to bleed into B2B buyer behavior (e.g., personalization, mobility, etc.), thus pointing to the ever-growing importance of promoting customer loyalty.
So, what exactly does customer training involve, what benefits does it provide, and what do you need to implement an effective customer training program?
What is Customer Training?
Customer training is supporting your customers with the materials and information they need to experience success with your product or service and, more importantly, meet their business objectives.
Customer training can either be guided, self-paced, or a combination of these. For instance, guided customer onboarding is often essential for helping customers launch new software. It’s also usually a good idea to provide material for self-paced learning to empower customers to find the information they require at the point-of-need. Examples of this in action include on-demand training materials or a customer-facing knowledge base.
Business Benefits of Customer Training
According to Brandon Hall Group’s Extended Enterprise 2017 survey, 55% say extended enterprise learning “improves customer relations”, 41% say it “maximizes client retention”, and 26% say it “reduces client support interactions”.
Perhaps the top benefit of customer training is fortifying customer loyalty, which allows organizations to:
Increase revenue and decrease costs – Great customer training can help to increase revenue both directly and indirectly. It’s estimated that the cost of acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing customer. When executed well, the value provided by customer training can increase customer loyalty and contribute to a more positive customer experience. This will translate into increased revenue as happy, loyal customers will be more likely to renew their contract or choose your services again. Similarly, you can also package and sell training to your customers, which can open new streams of revenue (when sold via a subscription, this can open recurring revenue streams).
Improve productivity and innovation – When deployed with the latest learning technology, customer training can also help to improve productivity and increase innovation. When product updates are released, customer training can help ensure a smooth, incident free rollout. Learning technology that encourages feedback and collaboration can also allow customers to provide regular feedback, which encourages innovation.
Implementing Customer Training
The aforementioned survey by Brandon Hall Group found that 76% of organizations use a learning management system for extended enterprise learning. In the same survey, 19% of respondents said that they deliver extended learning to customers daily; 13% weekly, and 16% monthly.
As such, a state-of-the-art LMS is the choice technology for extended enterprise learning programs such as customer training. An LMS can help to:
- Centralize training materials – An LMS is, first and foremost, the central location where your customers (and other learning audiences) can find all of your training materials. As such, an LMS enables customers to easily access courses, experts, and other learning resources.
- Deliver content efficiently – An LMS also enables learning materials to be quickly updated and easily delivered to different learning audiences. This allows for product and service changes (e.g., UI updates, new features) to be communicated quickly and easily.
- Enable formal and informal learning – As a best practice, customer training should support learning as it actually happens, which means leveraging both formal and informal learning methods. A state-of-the-art LMS should have features that support social learning so customers are empowered to learn through social channels.
- Measure success – Perhaps one of the most important benefits of learning technology is that it provides metrics on learner activity, allowing organizations to gather insights to fuel and improve their learning programs. These insights can help make the connection between learning and customer success.
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