Did we mean sales training? No! We’re so used to sales training in support of the customer journey that we can completely forget about customer training. However, training your customers has grown in importance as a necessary and differentiating factor. The reason is that it supports your sales teams to increase sales and reach business growth goals at a challenging time.
So let’s take a closer look at the whole topic.
What is Customer Training?
It’s a “learning” program in essence. You make information available to your customers to educate them about how to use your product or service so they get maximum benefit from it.
Not all products require learning materials as such. But a clear majority of tech, digital, and complex physical products do either need – or benefit from – provision of guidance to the customers so they can utilize them fully.
Which Form Can Customer Training Take?
The nature of learning materials will be different depending on the product’s complexity and customer needs. You might provide materials and programs like
- Self-accessed FAQs, documents, and user forums
- A webinar series before or after any sales
- Knowledge bases to search
- Guided onboarding, such as Apple offers new purchasers of their products
- On-site demonstration by request
- YouTube videos, because we absorb visual material so much faster
- Training and certification programs for any partners and franchisees, etc.
Why is Training Your Customers Important?
1 Better Customer Onboarding
One of the most crucial times in your customer’s journey is when they’ve just bought from you. They’ll either stay loyal and recommend you – or go to your competitor in future who helps them understand what they’ve bought.
This, therefore, is where you need to concentrate more value into customer training. It maintains and increases the likelihood of sales. For example, you might
- make sure your notification emails contain helpful information upfront
- provide in-package information sheets with links to any training that customers might expect
- let your conversational chatbot offer informational material in PDF form in advance of a sale – via email or text (which gathers in their contact data too)
- print a QR code on your packaging that gives immediate access to necessary training
2 Improved Chances of Customer Retention and Upselling
Real-time training and support can be offered for a specific time after purchase – or preferably indefinitely for the realistic life of the purchase. This is not an optional extra in ROI terms. If you provide good customer training, the true value of your products over time will be seen. This makes it easier for your sales team to suggest an upsell or extension of subscription, for instance.
3 Increased Customer Loyalty
Your business needs to keep its pole position in a specific market segment. The good news is that, currently, not many businesses offer the kind of dedicated, broad customer training programs we’re referring to. Brochures, help centers, and email contacts, yes. But not so many videos, webinars, ongoing formalized training sessions, etc.
So, setting up customer-centric training that really empowers your ideal customer to use and benefit from your product or service will give you the competitive edge you need. Your customers will become loyal and rate your business as being more professional and customer-centric.
How to Start Training Your Customers
Figure Out the Points Where Your Customers Need Support
The most common stages when customers interact with you are: onboarding, technical support, and account support. These pretty much cover the customer journey! So, identify these points for your sales process in your sales playbook and plan to create programs that focus on those specific times.
That’s because “WHEN” is crucial to your success. For this reason, we suggest you
- bake “training your customers” into your sales process,
- make it part of your value proposition (see Benefits, below), and
- build customer excitement about the worth to them of your training.
Understand Your Customers’ Needs at Every Stage
Having identified the occasions, think about the exact challenges your customers face at every touchpoint. You can use your database – or some focus groups – and figure out the specific concerns that cause phone calls, tickets, and complaints. You can also use follow-up emails where appropriate to ask customers directly what their challenges are and what training or help they’d like to access.
Choose the Right Content and Platform
You now have the basic content and context of the training program you need to set up. As we mentioned, the training materials take different forms, and you can deliver them in various ways. So the task now is to work out the best medium for delivering each type of information at any point.
Whichever model you choose, you’ll be able to judge the effectiveness of your customer training program, in part, by how easily they can utilize it. So build in accessibility.
Identify and Track the Right Customer Training KPIs
You’ll need to track effectiveness along with all your other data gathering. So the final task is to identify the metrics you’ll use to monitor the success of the training program(s).
When you were first planning for the program, you would have named the goals you wanted to reach or improve on. You can now, therefore, establish key metrics to guide you to reach these customer support goals. Using automation tools that measure, track, and report on the KPIs over a set period of time makes this easier and more accurate, although customer feedback is still invaluable.
Benefits of Customer Training For Your Business
1 Reduction of customer support costs
Having an effective customer training program ensures your customers have most of their FAQs answered in the way that suits them best and on demand: video series, email series, written web page tuition, webinars, etc.
This eases the burden on your support personnel by reducing the ticket list. But importantly, along with a reduction in support costs, you reduce the “lost customer” cost!
2 Increased brand awareness and engagement
When you offer improved customer experience with the training packages you provide – and customers get excited about your brand – they’ll become your advocates. So, when deciding on your training offerings, you need to build on that idea and produce the most relevant, useful, and fulfilling customer training you can dream up. Don’t be afraid to be innovative!
3 A value proposition that increases ROI
Customer training in whichever form you introduce it provides more unique value than any other add-on. Be sure to make clear on social media and in marketing material the kind of training you include.
We Can Help
At 360 Consulting, our aim is to lead you to lasting success, building on what already works for your business and refining your sales engine to keep it running well. Setting up some customer training as part of your sales operation is a win-win situation. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.