You train your employees and sell to your customers, right? Well, yes, but you should be training your customers, too.
We’ve written before about the benefits of continuous learning in the workplace. Like your employees, your clients crave knowledge, but unlike your employees who often have access to a learning platform, clients don’t always know where to find the information they need
Case in point: there's a lot of information — typically hidden away in FAQs, User Guides, and Terms of Service — that might better serve your clients (and you) in a learning module.
How do customers use your product, for example? What "hacks" can make them a top performer? How different is your new upgrade from the classic version they've been using for years? All of this is important information that might go unnoticed in a document, but may be more digestible in a course format, which is designed to make sure learners retain information.
The most important reason for training your customers, however, isn't the learning itself. It's the engagement. When you offer education to your customers, you're speaking directly to them in a way you can't when you're marketing, selling to them, or even providing customer service.
That teacher-student relationship will let you build brand loyalty, get out in front of problems, and make sure your customers have the right information when they need it.
1) Training builds loyalty
Want loyal customers? Teach them. You're investing in their success by teaching them how to excel when it comes to your product or service, and customers respond well to that. For software-as-a-service businesses, where churn is often an issue, education is a great way to keep customers engaged and coming back to you for more information. Some companies may even consider offering certifications, as Litmos does with its Dojo Training. Such credentials offer more than information to your customers, they let them display their talents so they can improve their own business.
2) You're teaching customers how to get the most out of your product.
Your customers invested in you and your product or service. Why not make sure they're getting the most out of it? By providing training, you can onboard customers effectively at the start of their relationship with you. Then, as they grow more confident, you can release training as they need it: micro-training related to new releases, for example, or hacks to make their use of your service more effective.
3) Ongoing training is also ongoing marketing
Last month, Jeannie Walters wrote about how education in marketing helps to increase conversion rates. Good news: if you're engaged in ongoing customer training, the tips and tricks you're sending out to existing customers also serve as marketing. After all, who doesn't like to learn a new hack for something they use all the time? The engagement that training creates keeps your customers engaged, and you can also add training that educates existing customers about other products you sell that they might enjoy.
4) Reduce calls to customer service
Every time a customer gets frustrated and calls customer service, it costs your organization at least $4, according to a report from PWC. Complaints handled online cost less — between 10 and 15 cents per contact, but that's still money you wouldn't have to spend if your customers don't need help. Also, most calls to customer service are about simple things and don't really require the help of a representative. A survey by Bain and Company found that up to 70 percent of calls to contact centers are avoidable or about easily-handled matters. If you address these basic issues in your training when you onboard a new customer, chances are good you'll reduce contacts with customer service. Additionally your onboarding modules can serve as a resource your customers can go back to if they need a refresher.
5) If you don't provide learning, your customers will find it for themselves.
Do you really want your customers going on YouTube to find a tutorial about your product? Do you want them reading message boards and talking to other users about how to hack your product? This is the risk you run when you don't provide customer training. According to a recent study by Google, more than 7 in 10 viewers use YouTube to solve a problem at home, school, or work. If you aren't providing the answer in your own training materials, chances are, your customers are going to head over to YouTube to see if someone online has made a video, answering their question. The problem? Not all the information in those videos are necessarily correct, and some of the workarounds might result in more calls to customer service. By offering that learning before your customers even go looking for it, you get out ahead of their questions and make sure they're getting the right information from an expert: you.