What’s the Business Impact of Customer Training?

customer trainingCustomer training is having a moment, post-pandemic.

It’s long been known that customer experience is the key to customer happiness and loyalty, but training wasn’t always thought of as a part of the customer experience journey. During the early days of the pandemic, however, customer experience changed. Websites were overloaded by folks trying to get help from home, organizations were trying to get new remote software up and running, and 24/7 customer care became more important; consumers were working round the clock from home and they expected customer service to be available around the clock as well.

All of this changed customer experience and created demand for customer education. Organizations had to get learning into their hands of their customers and fast. According to research, in 2021 more than 60% of IT vendors increased their investment in customer training by more than 30%. Most of those vendors were focused on new developments caused by the pandemic: remote delivery, new products, and features that responded to the lockdown.

Post-pandemic, however, customer education teams are growing. The 2022 Customer Education Council Report finds that 63% of customer education teams are growing, attracting talent from several disciplines, including Customer Success, Customer Marketing, Community and industries such as Higher Education.

The reason for this growth? Customers want to learn, and that can have a tremendous business impact on your organization.

How does customer training benefit your bottom line?

  1. Trained customers are loyal customers: Keeping existing customers important to businesses who want to keep their existing customers around because churn is expensive. The Harvard Business Review reports that acquiring a new customer is between five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing customer. One of the best ways to reduce churn is by helping your customers use your product well. No one likes to be mystified by a brand new product. They want to hit the ground running, and solve their business problems as soon as they get started. When you invest in customer training, you are investing in your clients’ success with your product. According to the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA), trained customers tend to renew their subscriptions more often than untrained customers.
  2. Properly onboarded customers appreciate the time you take with them: There’s a reason the Customer Education Council finds that onboarding programs are the top objectives of 94% of customer training programs. When you invest in customer success at the start of your relationship, you are setting up that client for success with your product. By opening your customer relationship with your clients with an onboarding course, you establish yourself as the expert when it comes to your product. You’re also managing their expectations. If their relationship with you started with learning, they can expect more learning will be coming later in the relationship.
  3. Improve support (and reduce support tickets.): You want your customers to use your product the way it was intended. But that’s not always how things go. Customers are individuals; they do their own thing, don’t read the instructions, and sometimes try to hack a product so it meets a variety of needs, and those hacks often result in a call to customer service. You can gently head those calls off with customer training. Considering that the average support desk ticket in North America is $22, those calls can pile up and cost your company a lot of money. They can also trigger disgruntled customers and that’s not something your organization wants: According to analyst Esteban Kolsky, founder of ThinkJar, only one in 26 unhappy customers will complain to the company but 13% will complain to others about the company, in person and online, and that isn’t good for business.

Customer training keeps your clients coming back

Probably one of the best reasons to provide training is that your customers are hungry for it, and they will seek it out even if you don’t provide it. They’re likely to use Google, YouTube, and other forums to help them find the information you haven’t provided, and they may not be happy about it.

By giving them the learning they want, you make sure they have all the information they need to use their product, and you keep them happy: Bain & Company found that improving customer retention rates by just 5 percent can increase profits by 25 to 95 percent.