There’s no question that organizational performance relies on training and development. Employee onboarding and continuous learning are crucial. However, success isn’t just about educating your employees. Customer education and training can be just as important. And embedded in the practice of customer education is the idea that an informed customer (or potential customer) is more engaged with your organization. Moreover, engagement is often associated with increased sales, improved customer experience, and brand loyalty.
Engaging Learning Experiences for Customer Education
Research by Brandon Hall found that 44 percent of organizations surveyed offer training to customers. Moreover, 62 percent of those organizations offer at least some of the same training content to employees and customers. Depending on your business model, customer education and training may entail showcasing products, services, and solutions; building competency around systems and platforms; or highlighting key elements of a brand. It’s the process of providing customers with the information they may need throughout the buying cycle and while using your product or service to meet their organizational or personal needs. Most customer training takes on a hybrid learning model, with assets like learning repository, customer forums, digital learning activities, and instructor-led training with customer success managers.
Customer Education Training Best Practices
The research by Brandon Hall suggests that although many organizations offer training for customers, there is much less personalization in the content delivered. But to have a strong effect on buying behaviors, training consultants should be just as careful with customer education content as they would be with new hire training content. Marketers create sales funnels with respective personas then deliver personalized learning content based on the buyer’s needs. So, align the learning path of your potential customers with their needs, pushing them to engage with eLearning content that helps them make an informed decision.
For example, high-level content can be used to introduce learners to a subject, product, or capability. On the other hand, content at the bottom of a funnel should show consumers how your product or service can fit their needs or solve their challenges.
Training Content Accessibility
With so many digital learning options for engaging customers, customer education has become much more scalable. Research by RetailDive found that 67 percent of consumers research a product online before they buy. Much of that research is found through social proof and third-party reviews, which are difficult to control. However, as a learning consultant for your organization, you can ensure that your content is just as easily accessible on partner sites, online forums, and externally facing learning portals. For example, digital learning assets can be accessed at the point of need, whereas check-ins with customer success managers may be more difficult to come by.
It’s important to capture the attention of potential customers early on in their research. Typically, the first engagement is with a marketing asset. So, consider partnering with your organization’s marketing department to ensure marketing content offers some educational value. Think of it as preboarding customers and create a learning strategy that spans the entirety of the customer experience. For instance, what content would a potential customer need to know in the initial stages of their research or while choosing between products?