The business landscape has never been more competitive.
Thanks to the internet, your target customers can buy products from almost any company—no matter where that company is located—with a couple taps on their phone.
How can your business stand out in this hyper-aggressive environment? There are many ways, of course. But one of the best ways is to provide comprehensive customer training.
In this article, we’ll cover what customer training is, why it’s essential in 2023 and beyond, and how to create a winning customer training program for your organization.
What is Customer Training?
It’s pretty simple, customer training is the act of training one’s customer base to effectively use one’s products and/or services to achieve their business goals.
It’s important to remember that the best customer training programs are ongoing. You should train your customers at every stage of the customer lifecycle, from onboarding to offboarding. Doing so will give your company the best chance to increase customer loyalty and revenue.
(Note: If you’re looking for customer training examples, study the HubSpot and Salesforce programs. Both companies do a great job when it comes to educating customers.)
Why is Customer Training Essential in 2023?
We know what you’re thinking: “I’m busy. I don’t have tons of time to build a customer training plan? Is it really necessary, or is this one of those here-today-gone-tomorrow strategies?”
We get it. You want to make sure that you invest your time and resources into a proven plan that will help you grow your business. Customer training has the potential to do so.
Here are three specific benefits you’ll enjoy once you build a customer training program:
An engaged customer is a good customer.
Think about it: the more engaged your customers are, the more likely they will be to use your products, realize the full benefit of said products, and continue paying for them.
A well-designed customer training program will supercharge engagement for your company. Once this happens, your retention metrics will go through the roof. Speaking of…
Higher Retention Rates
Your customers will only pay for your products and/or services if they help them achieve their goals. Customer training makes this a much more likely scenario.
Think about the tools you use on a regular basis. Microsoft Excel, Google Docs, Slack, etc.
These are great apps. But if you didn’t know how to use them, they’d be worthless to you. You wouldn’t continue using (or paying for) worthless apps. That wouldn’t make sense.
The same goes for your products and services. Customer training will teach your customers how to use your offerings, ensuring they have the knowledge they need to remain customers.
More Revenue in Your Bank Account
Lastly, customer training usually leads to more revenue.
How so? Engaged customers are more open to upsell and cross sell offers. And high retention rates lead to higher sustained income. In fact, studies show that a small 5% bump in customer retention can boost company profits by 25% to 95%. Nice!
So, to recap, a proper training program has the potential to improve customer engagement levels, which will lead to greater customer retention and revenue numbers.
The only question is, how do you actually build a winning customer training program?
How to Ensure Your Customer Training Program is Up to Snuff
Wanting to build an effective customer training program and actually doing it are two different things. Luckily, all you have to do to ensure your program is a success is follow these 6 steps:
1. Know Your Customers
People buy your company products/services because they help them achieve their goals. You need to identify what these goals are so that you can provide relevant training materials.
For example, ClickMeeting offers webinar and online event software to thousands of users in 125+ countries around the world. Our customers come to us because they want a simple and affordable way to reach their audiences with live and prerecorded video content.
Knowing this, we would want to create a customer training program that teaches users how to set up, market, and run events on the ClickMeeting platform. We would not want to create materials that focus on hosting custom courses, a la Teachable and Thinkific.
Figure out what your customers want out of your company’s products. Then create a customer training program that helps them achieve those specific goals.
2. Determine Your Training Goals
You have a general idea of what to teach your customers.
Now you need to drill down and get specific. The easiest way to do this is to create SMART goals. SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based
So, you don’t want to “Create materials that teach customers to use our products effectively.”
You want to, “Create a concise training video that teaches our customers to use Feature X during the onboarding process. This video needs to be completed within the next four weeks.”
Do you see the difference? The second goal is specific—it explains exactly what needs to be achieved. It’s measurable and time-based—it must be completed in four weeks time. It’s achievable—planning and shooting a video in four weeks is definitely possible. And it’s relevant—teaching customers to use Feature X will help them and improve your business.
3. Invest in the Right Technology
Now that you know exactly what you’ll teach your customers, you need to invest in a few technology solutions that will enable you to deliver your training materials effectively.
There are a lot of options available to you. The ones you choose will depend on your current resources and the way you want to present your training to customers.
If you have a non-existent budget, for example, you may decide to create written materials that can be hosted on your company’s blog. In this situation, you might not need to invest in any tools, outside of the ones you already have: a website, blogging platform, etc.
If you really want your customer training program to shine, though, we suggest creating video content. And when it comes to video, you can’t go wrong with ClickMeeting.
ClickMeeting has all the tools you need to shoot live webinars, which you can record and add to your customer training library for future use. And unlike other webinar solutions, ClickMeeting is really easy to use. Trust us, you’ll be up and running in no time.
One of the best things about ClickMeeting is its affordability. Use our platform for free for 30 days. We won’t even ask for your credit card number! After that, plans start at $25 a month.
Assuming you’ve decided to create video content for your customer training program, you’ll need a way to host it. The aforementioned tools Teachable and Thinkific are good options.
No matter which technology platforms you decide to invest in, make sure they’re each user-friendly, easily accessible on mobile devices, offer analytics dashboards, and integrate with the other tools you already use, or plan to use in the near future.
4. Create Highly Engaging Content
Your customer training program has come a long way. Unfortunately, none of the work you’ve accomplished so far will matter if your content isn’t engaging to your target audience.
The good news is, you’ve already taken a major step towards creating engaging content: you’ve identified what your customers actually need and are committed to giving it to them.
Now you just need to follow a few best-practices to make sure your content hits the mark.
- Work With a Talented Host: If you’re creating video content, consider hiring someone to host your training modules. This will provide consistency for viewers.
- Prioritize Clarity Over Everything: Your videos should look great. But never sacrifice clarity in favor of a certain aesthetic. Your customers need to understand what you teach. To help with this, shoot many short videos, rather than a few long ones.
- Organize Your Content in a Logical Way: Your content should flow from one video to the next. It should also be easy for customers to find the specific training they need.
- Publish Your Content in Multiple Formats: Video content is great, but not every customer will prefer this content medium. If possible, fill your customer training program with videos, articles, etc. to make sure it’s an ideal fit for everyone.
- Provide Additional Help When Needed: Your customers should have easy access to your company’s support team. That way, if they have questions, they can get answers quickly. Consider setting up some kind of membership group, too, so customers can interact with each other. This will help alleviate the burden placed on support reps.
5. Promote Your Customer Training Program
You may have created the greatest customer training program the world has ever seen. But if your customers don’t know about it, does it even matter? Not really…
You need to promote your training materials so that customers can take advantage of them.
You can do this in a variety of ways. For example, you can send emails to your company’s email list. Or post about your customer training program on social media. If your company creates software, in-product notifications can be highly effective as well.
Here’s another idea: create a certification program, in which customers can gain recognition for completing your training modules. This will gamify the education process. If your company sells popular software, it may prove to be an important, career-boosting resource, too.
6. Measure Your Customer Training Efforts
Finally, take time to evaluate the success of your customer training program. Is it actually beneficial to your business? Or is it just wasting company time and resources?
There are multiple metrics you can analyze to answer these questions.
A couple of the more obvious ones include the number of customers who register for your training program and the number of customers who complete individual training modules.
But to really understand the effectiveness of your efforts, we suggest tracking a few other KPIs as well. Keep an eye on your company’s retention rate, for example, as well as customer spend, customer satisfaction scores, and the number of customer complaints received.
Supercharge Your Customer Training Program
A well-designed customer training program will help differentiate your company from competitors, while boosting customer engagement, customer retention, and overall revenue.
To make sure your training program is up to snuff, follow the tips outlined above. If you get to know your customers, determine your goals, invest in the right technology, create engaging content, promote your training to the world, and measure your efforts, you’ll succeed.
Speaking of technology, have you tried ClickMeeting yet? Get started for free right now. With our platform, you’ll be creating amazing training videos in minutes—we’re sure of it!