The Customer Education space is infamous for being thought of as a cost to companies since “learning” is not a measurable variable that immediately converts to profitability. But customers love it. Why? Because they earn laurels and badges for going through hours of learning content to grow as professionals. Creating a quantifiable metric for a customer’s learning and their journey is the holy grail. In the mean time, Customer Education teams continue to advocate how they improve usability for a company’s offerings.
Customer Education is more of a strategy than a set of activities or processes. An effective strategy drives concrete business results when the customer is served across their entire journey by:
- Facilitating a customer’s success.
- Reducing support request tickets.
- Increasing value compared to the competition.
Who is responsible for Customer Education? The answer is everyone as a collective. Therefore, investing in a framework for people development is an effective path to organizational success.
At any point, there is an opportunity for Customer Educators to fill the gaps between key stakeholders throughout a customer’s journey, including sales conversions, customer onboarding, and advancing customer value. How? On the one hand, by reducing the pain and frustration. On the other hand, by creating a great learning experience that values their time.
Here’s where Customer Education falls under the virtuous cycle of demand and supply in the learning spectrum:
As illustrated above, a company and the end-user of an experience have different points of view. While the company markets its offerings to convert its audience (Sales) by onboarding, supportingand helping them become a power userthe customer initiates an interest, commits to use and retain a product or service, to ultimately transform to become champions of the experience.
The lower half of this cycle illustrates the kind of opportunities and gaps a Customer Educator could cater to in the journey of a customer.
Torrey Podmajersky, author and pioneer in UX writing, suggests aligning the goals of the organization responsible for the experience with the goals of the people using the experience.
“Today, very few organizations plan their content throughout the cycle. Without the marketing content that attracts and converts people into using the experience, the organization will fail. But, without content for onboarding, engaging, and supporting, the experience will fail to engage and transform those people into champions.”
— Podmajersky in her book, Strategic Writing for UX
As organizations recognize the importance and necessity for training and development, budgets continue to increase annually by organization, industry, and country. A growing budget prompts the need for measurable ROI. The function, department, or process showing the most value will likely receive the largest budget increase.
Customer Education ROI is the difference between the benefit and the cost of the training, divided by the cost of the training.
Customer Education can impact revenue in many ways:
- Adoption: Customer Education can help prospects or first-time subscribers to try the product / service and adopt before they cancel the subscription.
- Customer purchases: As customers learn more about your offerings, they may order more frequently, seek larger orders, or order additional products / services which in turn increases revenue and value.
- Retention: Knowledgeable users are likely to remain long-term customers, while users with lower education engagement would not be proactive for more. Encourage to sell by teaching best practices and lower boundaries and confusions.
- Product enhancement. Learn customer behavior and patterns by analyzing customer education and utilize usability data to enhance your offerings to drive long-term sales.
Nirmal Thomas is a member of the Customer Learning team at Everbridge. He has produced multiple e-learning resources ranging from micro-learning content to training courses. Led by Kathleen Bissonnette, Nirmal and team developed the new strategy and makeover for the Everbridge University YouTube channel.