Customer Success

Customer Training 101: Benefits, Types & Tips on How To Build a Client Training Program

Have you been thinking about building a customer training program, but don't know where to start? This guide will help you get started!

Introduction

The customer experience management market worldwide was worth $7.6 billion in 2020. This was a 16.9 perce year-over-year increase from its value of $6.5 billion in 2019. Imagine what it's worth in 2023. I bet it's mind-blowing!

Chances are you’ve invested a lot of time and effort to train your employees. However,  have you considered training your customers as well? Product training shouldn't be reserved solely for employees. Your customers are also an important group who stand to gain from a full-on training session about what your products or services offer.

For example, 80 percent of companies think their customer service is “superior,” while only eight percent of consumers feel that way about those same companies. When you consider the fact that 78 percent of customers have backed out of a purchase due to a poor customer experience, no one needs a soothsayer to reveal that companies have a lot to lose.

When done well, customer training can lead to stronger customer loyalty and lower churn rates. 

Find out why customer training is beneficial, get some inspiration from companies successfully executing this, and get key tips on executing your customer training properly. 

What is customer training?

Most businesses find themselves in the following situations:

  • Their customers aren't using the products correctly.
  • Their customers have no idea how to use the products or solutions.
  • Their customers do not understand the benefits of using the products.

Customer training, also known as customer education, is the process of training and providing knowledge to customers regarding the successful use of a company’s products or services. Does this mean setting your customers up for success with your offerings? Absolutely!

For starters, training your customers shouldn't revolve only around hiring talented customer support professionals or setting up an intuitive chatbot on your website. Rather, your client training efforts should also include activities that empower your customers to support themselves through self-directed learning — hence, freeing up valuable time from your customer service personnel.

For example, when a customer first signs up for your product or service, your first customer training touchpoint should be to offer them training right away, even before they start using your product.

Anticipate their learning curve and the questions they might ask and provide clear answers beforehand. If you don't think it's worthwhile, tell that to 63 percent of consumers who expect businesses to know their unique needs and expectations, with 76 percent of B2B buyers agreeing as well.

If you are wondering why client training is important, then you are in the right place. 

Benefits of customer training

According to a NewVoiceMedia study, U.S. brands lose approximately $62 billion yearly due to poor customer service. Staggering, right? You bet! As if that isn't enough, while 80 percent of companies think their customer service is “superior,” only eight percent of consumers feel that way about those same companies.

Additionally, only one out of 26 unhappy customers complain. The rest churn. I think the most painful of all is that it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for just one unresolved negative experience. I wonder if an unhappy customer would give a brand 12 chances to make up for the unpleasant customer experience.🤔

There's a lesson to be learned here: Organizations should not view the absence of feedback as a sign of customer satisfaction. Most times, the real enemy is indifference or "let me manage them for now till I see a better brand."

For a closer look at its impact, here are some of the key reasons why your business should be investing in customer training:

Builds customer loyalty: You might create the most amazing product the world is yet to see, but it would mean zilch if you can't earn brand loyalty by teaching your customers how to effectively maximize it.

Customer training not only educates your customers on how to make the most out of your product but also shows them that you’re invested in their success. In turn, this increases the chances of building customer loyalty than if you left them to figure it out on their own. After all, for 86 percent, good customer service turns one-time clients into long-term brand champions.

Increases revenue and decreases costs: As mentioned above, when done right, client training can build, maintain and increase customer loyalty and also contribute to a more positive customer experience. The resultant effect is more revenue as 89 percent of customers are more likely to make another purchase after a positive customer service experience. Additionally, 93 percent of customers are likely to repeat purchases with companies offering excellent customer service. 

Reduces customer support costs: Investing in new customers is 5 and 25X more expensive than retaining existing ones. Without an effective customer training program, you've got chaos on your hands. Your customer service department would be overwhelmed with answering repetitive questions (that could have been handled by customers themselves) and your customers would be extremely frustrated with repeating the same questions to multiple customer support reps.

Either way, you've got bedlam looming angrily over your head. As your organization scales, the volume of calls, tickets, chats and emails will become overwhelming and incredibly resource intensive for your team to handle. 

This is where customer training saves the day — it helps you to address common questions and issues in a centralized location. Instead of constantly reaching out to your support desk every time they have a question, customers can easily find the answers for themselves.

Scribe top tip: Customer education shouldn't benefit only your company. Understand why your customers want customer training and tailor your training activities to address those needs.

Increased engagement with your products: Your customers might not hope to have a bad experience with you, but your competitors are banking on you to serve your customers poorly. Don't blame them🤷🏽: the competition for customers is fierce. And if you can't stand out, chances are high that you'll belong to the category of companies where 80 percent of clients say they would rather do business with a competitor — after more than one bad experience.

Customer training is a powerful way to stand out from the crowd. Create a powerful training program that not only raises the customer experience but also provides value beyond simple troubleshooting.

Increases consumer confidence: A seamless customer training program allows customers to know that your product or service will live up to their expectations. Moreover, nothing beats getting all the information and guidance they need from you to make a well-informed buying decision.

Cost-effective PR solution: Effective customer education enables a business to reveal and boast about its new product features to capture consumer interest. Since they trust you, it reduces their hesitation and makes them dive in;  and be ready to learn more. This is particularly effective for the rapid adoption and implementation of your solution.

Improves the chances of upselling: If a customer is happy with your product or service, they are more likely to buy additional features and upgrades. By providing training and enablement, customer training ensures that your customers can trust your brand to have their best interests at heart — and would make them receptive to buying an extension or additional products instead of a competitor’s. 

Reduces one-time customer support issues: The benefits of customer training go beyond achieving customer satisfaction. Teaching them to use your products independently also reduces their need to reach out for support every time they have issues. Which in turn, saves your company time and money too.

Types of customer training tools

Customer training tools are devices designed to help customers get the most out of a company's products and services. They could also be used by an organization to interact with their customers and provide them with additional services.

The different types of client training tools include:

Videos provide step-by-step instructions for customers on how to use your products or services.

Guides are usually text pages designed to educate clients on how your products or services work, what they entail and how best to use them.

Live chats enable a company's customer service representatives to reply to any queries in real time and offer personalized support. 

Scribes instantly turn any process into a step-by-step guide to onboard, train and support customers 93 percent faster. Scribe helps even your least tech-savvy clients master your products with its easy-to-follow format of screenshots and text and allows you to create FAQs that can easily be accessed by your customers ANYTIME! 

‎What should be included in customer service training?

Customer service training is a vital component in enabling customer satisfaction and retention. Training should cover the following:

  • How to deal with difficult situations.
  • Common customer complaints and how to address them.
  • How to use the company’s customer service system.
  • Courteous behavior and how it applies in a customer service situation
  • The vision and values of the organization
  • How to provide proactive customer service

4 Customer education program examples

Here are a few of my favorite examples of companies effectively maximizing the benefits of customer training strategies.

Shopify Learn

Customer Training Program

Shopify Learn is a public academy available to anyone looking to learn how to start and grow a successful business (including with Shopify). 

The academy boasts of general topics like business planning and strategy to branding, marketing and finance tips. It provides instant access to hard-won business lessons from established Shopify entrepreneurs around the world. Shopify also has a customer-facing academy, Shopify Plus, that focuses on helping its customers be successful with its technology. 

HubSpot Academy

Customer training program

‎HubSpot is the undisputed leader in providing people with resources on everything from social media marketing and SEO to digital marketing and HubSpot-specific features.  Via its academy, the inbound marketing giant uses videos, quizzes and a certification program to train customers how to get the most out of their service.

As someone who has benefited from their academy several times, I love that their resources are grouped by topic, type and category — hence, making it easy to navigate to the relevant content. The certification is also a huge motivator — as it's usually seen displayed on websites, social media and email signatures.

Skillshop with Google

Google's Skillshop teaches you how to use Google products to their full potential and earn Google product certifications to showcase your expertise. From offering courses on how to grow your skills using Google Ads to advertise your business online to teaching you how Google's Marketing Platform can help you plan, execute, and measure your ad campaigns; or learning how Google's measurement tools help grow your business through its Analysis academy — there's something for everyone looking to learn how to master Google tools.

Trailhead – Salesforce University

Trailhead is Salesforce's free training program on customer relationship management. Modules are broken down into bite-sized chunks of ten to twenty minutes, keeping learners better engaged and learners can also connect with other members (Trailblazers) learn relevant skills and give back.

The program also offers in-person training, live webinars and certifications.

How to create a successful customer training program

Are you ready to start a customer training program? Here are a few steps to help you get started!

Discover your customer support touchpoints

Identify the important touch point for your customer training strategy. Set up a meeting with your sales, account management, customer success, and support teams to map out where and when they typically interact with customers.

Understand your customers’ needs at each touchpoint

Once you’ve identified their touchpoints, work with your team to understand your customers' needs at every touchpoint. You can make this even easier by asking customers directly.

Ask them about what information and training they would find helpful or create open forums where they can ask questions. Doing this helps you measure your web traffic, product usage statistics, or internal search queries to see the types of information commonly searched for. 

This would provide valuable insights needed to create an effective customer training material and help you determine the best delivery method. 

Set SMART goals

Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) doesn't just apply to other aspects of your business, but works for training your customers too. 

Decide on what you’ll use as a success marker or KPI for your new training initiatives. Ask yourself, "What can’t our customers do now that our training will enable them to do?" Don't answer that question with something like “We need customers to use our product more effectively.” Not only is this generic, but it would also be difficult to prove if you succeeded — since you didn't set specific goals for it.

A goal like “to enable our customers to effectively use feature X of our product” is better. Breaking your goals into smaller objectives helps you…

  • Identify what you need to tell/show customers and what they need to know/do to improve.
  • Think hard about what your customers’ needs really are, as opposed to a broad statement that identifies nothing.
  • Create a potential customer training program structure — where each objective could form one module or one section within a larger module.
  • Ascertain which training objective should be solved first, which ones will be the easiest or hardest to address and which ones your customers will appreciate most.

Create learning objectives 

Learning objectives are the purpose of creating your training content. Not only does it ensure that you don’t end up including irrelevant educational information, but it also gives your customers a clear idea of what they stand to gain when they sign up for your training program.

Create useful and engaging learning

The level of engagement with your training determines its success. While the biggest success driver could be whether the training effectively meets customers’ needs, don't underestimate the importance of creating an aesthetically pleasing and fun learning experience. Below are four examples of  elearning that motivates customers to learn:

  • Scenario-based learning engages customers through an immersive training experience modeled on real-life scenarios rather than theoretical examples.
  • Microlearning focuses on a specific topic and takes between 1 and 15 minutes to complete. It's also a flexible way for customers to access specific information and reduce information overwhelm.
  • Mobile learning events are useful for customers on the move or those without ready access to desktop computers or laptops.
  • Gamification motivates customers via various intrinsic activities such as game mechanics, like points, leaderboards and badges.

Choose the right technology

Organizations can use either a content-authoring tool or a learning delivery platform (or both) to train their customers. A content authoring tool allows you to create the online learning content your customers would engage with.

A learning delivery platform, on the other hand, is a portal your customers will use to access your online learning content This could be an LMS, LCMS, or another type of learning portal.

Fortunately, Scribe works as both a content authoring tool and a learning delivery platform. Scribe scale your customer training and reduce ad hoc customer questions by instantly turning any process into a step-by-step guide.

All you have to do is:

  • Turn on your Scribe recorder to record your process.
  • Wait for your step-by-step guide to automatically generate — complete with screenshots, instructions and clicks.
  • Edit screenshots, redact any sensitive information and add text, annotations and custom branding to make your program visually appealing.😁😎
  • Reduce the amount of time spent training customers by sharing your training program with them — all in one click, and exported via various formats.

Here are some of the reasons why Scribe is perfect for your training needs:

  • It's so easy to use that even your non-tech-savvy customers can easily navigate through it.
  • It gives you flexibility and control — applying your brand colors, logo and other brand elements is easy-peasy!👌🏾
  • You can easily collaborate with your team when creating training programs. It's far better than relying on email or other external communications.
  • Content is easy to maintain, update and publish.
  • Scribe comes with pre-built templates and lessens the need for specialized developers.
  • Offers the ability to easily apply branding to custom email or push notifications sent to customers when certain updates occur.
  • Flexible learner and content grouping feature that allows you to organize libraries of content titles and make them available only to select customer groups.

Simply put, irrespective of whatever you want to teach your customers, there's a Scribe for it

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Deliver training to customers at the right time

Training can be provided to customers...

  • Before they use your products or services.
  • Just in time — immediately before the customer uses a feature of your service or product.
  • When directed to your support pages when necessary.
  • When embedded inside your software or service portal rather than a separate website or LMS. 
  • When training suggestions (such as hint tips or videos) are sent via email.

There's no right time for when training should be sent. It all depends on the company, its customers' needs, its customer journey, and the structure of its training program. The important thing is to ensure that the training is convenient and easily accessible.

Track & improve

The best training programs evolve and continually improve. Observing how customers access and interact with your training and evaluating how effective it helps you improve and continually build success. 

Here's how to track to gain more insights:

  • Review your support requests to determine where training could be created or improved. 
  • Compare support requests vs the training provided. Have you noticed any improvements or positive impacts?
  • Measure customer satisfaction to know if users have real or perceived training needs.
  • Directly ask your customers what their training pain points are.
  • Use analytics embedded in your customer training software to observe how customers are using your products.

Customer training best practices

Here are a few of the best practices you should consider implementing in your company’s client training regimen:

  • Focus on one training goal/objective at a time. Attempting to be too many things to too many people will only create confusion and ruin the entire program even before it takes off. For example, start by aiming to reduce support tickets and only move on to another goal once the first has been completed.
  • Before responding to a customer complaint, consider your response from the customer’s perspective. 
  • Set your customer training program goal to tie back to the business (i.e., customer retention or LTV). A successful customer training program isn't just about the actual program. It's about how it helps the entire company grow.
  • Always put your customers first. Instead of only thinking about how customer education will help your business, don't forget to focus on how to support your customers too.
  • Track customer satisfaction and engagement metrics for the best customer service.
  • Enable self-paced learning. Scheduled training courses can overlap with other priorities. Additionally, people have different learning styles and personal preferences. Using self-paced learning allows your customers to access information when they need it most AND when it fits into their busy schedules.

Ready to start your customer training program? Get Scribe free!