The 5 Benefits of an Effective Customer Training Program
How much value does a customer training program really add? If you already have a training program that has proved itself to be somewhat effective, you might be reluctant to make any changes. You might be questioning if it will really make a difference and whether the time and effort spent re-evaluating your customer training program is worth it.
Training managers are typically time poor and short on resources, so these questions are perfectly normal. You might be inwardly groaning at the thought of trying to justify a new training program to management. We don’t blame you.
But an interactive, self-paced customer training program can have an immediate effect on customer retention, open new revenue opportunities, and lower training costs. Read on to learn about the benefits of an effective customer training program and how you can create one that delivers on its possibilities.
1. Opens New Customer Acquisition Channels
We check out hotel reviews on TripAdvisor. We look up company reviews on Trustpilot. We recommend restaurants to friends visiting from out of town. We post pictures of the amazing food we’ve eaten on Instagram. When we love a brand or company, we often want to shout about it to our friends, family, and on the Internet. And we trust these reviews enough to give them our business.
Your customer training program can function in the same way. When your customers experience a great training program that fully demonstrates how to use your product to make their lives easier and help them work smarter, they’ll likely want to share this information with people in their network. When someone asks for a recommendation, your product will be top of mind.
Additionally, one of the most effective ways to generate leads is by providing valuable and free educational content (on your product or service) to the world. Before people buy products, they will spend hours (if not days or weeks) learning about their options. What better way to attract them to your product than by providing them with useful, educational content that teaches them about your industry, makes them more informed buyers, and walks them through their options (including your product)?
An effective customer training program uses the power of education to turn users into advocates, and potential buyers into customers.
2. Boosts Customer Retention and Establishes Loyalty
Customer loyalty is key for any software vendor. The price of acquiring a new customer is a lot higher than the cost of retaining existing customers, and an effective customer training program is key if you want to keep customers happy and reduce customer churn.
Customers want to feel supported. They want to feel like you care about their implementation and won’t leave them in the lurch now that they’ve bought your product. They want to feel like they have somewhere to turn to when they need support and to trust that their software vendor has their back when there are issues.
When you offer customer training that helps your new users learn and use your product, overcome issues and questions, and deepen their understanding of how your product can be incorporated into their business processes, they are much more likely to continue using your software. It will become embedded in their company and be a force that boosts customer retention and drives long-term product loyalty.
Customers and employees inevitably churn, but if they do, customers who have a positive experience with your product are more likely to recommend it when they move on to another company. And with employee churn averaging around 15.1%, there’s a real value in ensuring that people have a positive experience with your product so they are more likely to recommend it when they land their next role.
3. Improves Product Adoption and Engagement
User adoption is crucial to your product’s long-term success, and effective customer training is key to achieving those high rates of adoption. Your customer’s first experience with your product sets the tone for every experience that comes after, and for many users, their first experience comes during training.
The stats support the importance of training when it comes to product adoption. Almost half of employees in an Oracle survey said that insufficient training was a barrier to adopting new workplace technologies. And according to TSIA, “Education and training helps customers to get started with using the product and continuously progresses learners, via the curriculum roadmap, to broaden their usage and knowledge of the product, throughout the customer journey.”
When your customers understand how your product works and what it can do for them, they will be less likely to switch products or change to one of your competitors.
4. Opens the Door for Upsells and Deep Selling
If your customers love your product and can see the benefits it has delivered, they’ll be more receptive to learning about your company’s other offerings. Maybe they’ll want to upgrade to a more advanced version of your product, or replace other existing software with one of your offerings. In either case, if you’ve built a good relationship with your customer — in which customer training plays a crucial part — then they will be more open to hear about product upgrades or replacement opportunities from your team.
Over time, these upselling and deep selling channels will become a reliable source of revenue at a lower customer acquisition cost. And as you get more customers, these channels will grow into larger upselling and deep selling opportunities.
5. Less Reliance on Customer Support
Delivering effective customer training is much more cost effective than having to field individual customer support inquiries down the line. When your users understand how to use your product and can solve problems themselves, they will be less likely to contact your customer support team — freeing up your support staff to answer more complex issues or allowing your organization to re-allocate the support staff’s budget elsewhere.
Turning Product Users into Brand Advocates
If you set up an effective customer training program, you’ll be able to show your customers how to use your product to meet their specific needs, rather than offering a generic overview of how your product works. You’ll reduce the cost of acquiring new customers, open up new ways of getting business, plus cut the time and effort that your customer service team has to spend on initial customer onboarding and ongoing support.
An interactive and self-paced customer training program can go a long way towards turning your customers from plain vanilla product users to power users and brand advocates. And these brand advocates will not only help others in their organization to adopt your product, but will also promote your company to their friends, review sites, and industry groups.