Training managers are typically time-poor and short on resources. It’s easy for your customer training program to become outdated and ineffective without you even noticing.
The customer training industry has changed a lot in the last few years driven by factors such as technological innovation, new ways of working, and new generations entering the workforce. Today, there’s also a clearer understanding of the benefits of customer training – thanks to better data and reporting coming out of the top customer training platforms. Forward-looking companies are also using newer modes of training, such as self-paced courses with hands-on product demos – which is challenging the limits of what customers and new users can and can’t experience without a company’s training or sales representative.
If you’re a customer training dinosaur, and it feels like you last updated your program a few years ago, your support team will end up shouldering the burden of training programs that are ineffective at teaching learners the curriculum they need to succeed.
You might be inwardly groaning at the thought of trying to justify a new training program to management. Training can be expensive and take a long time to show results. But an interactive, self-paced customer training program can have an immediate effect on customer retention, open new revenue opportunities, and lower training costs
If you’re a customer training dinosaur, then you’ll identify with the signs below. Even if you think your customer training is on point, there are always ways you can improve and make it more effective.
1. You Don’t Have a Customer Training or Customer Success Team
The first sign that you might be a dinosaur is that you don’t have a dedicated customer training team or a customer success team. Rather, you rely on your sales reps or customer support team to provide training in a reactionary manner to customers. The likelihood is that they will become overburdened with requests, escalations, and issues, rather than being able to focus on their primary responsibilities. This also isn’t a great way to keep customers happy and suggests to customers that your company is severely understaffed.
To deliver effective training, you need to understand your customers’ priorities, what’s important to them, an intimate understanding of the problem they’re trying to solve, and a keen understanding of your product’s features and limitations. To do that, you need a dedicated team. Some of this team’s key responsibilities would include:
- Interview existing customers to find out what they’d like to see from your training material
- Analyze your organization’s current training material and compare it with your interview findings to identify gaps in your training materials
- Build a production roadmap for how you’ll fill in those gaps in your training curriculum
- Proactively create training content for your product’s new features and major releases
- Proactively create training content that addresses the top support issues customers are having
2. Delivering One-Size-Fits-All Training
If you’re delivering customer training in a one-size-fits-all manner (e.g. instructor-led training or scheduled Zoom calls), that’s another signal that you’re a customer training dinosaur.
Not every learner learns the same way, or at the same pace, or wants to learn the same thing, so offering training in different mediums such as self-paced training is critical.
More and more learners are expecting the same kind of on-demand experience that they get as consumers, such as Netflix. This means that complimenting the “one-size-fits-all,” scheduled classrooms with self-paced training will allow learners to easily access your training content wherever they want – and in the on-demand way that they’re accustomed to as consumers. And as consumer behavior transfers more and more to their professional expectations, learners are expecting more flexibility to study your courses at their own pace. An added benefit to self-paced courses is it allows learners to skip to the specific course(s) they need without waiting through an entire day of the curriculum.
3. Training Without Measuring ROI
It takes time, money, and effort to create and deliver training programs, and it’s not always easy to understand the value of what you’re offering. But if you’re just training to train without measuring the return on investment (ROI) or the impact of your training programs, then you won’t know whether your training program is effective, which parts are working well, and which parts need improvement. Tracking this data can help you efficiently allocate your limited resources towards the areas that will generate the best return for your training budget.
Measuring is the first step that enables you to identify gaps in what your customers expect versus what your product is delivering. An effective customer training program can deliver tangible ROI in several ways.
Here are examples of metrics that you can to track to give you the data you need to successfully work out your training ROI:
- Customer retention rates
- Customer satisfaction scores
- Upselling and deep selling rates
- Reviews and referrals
- Product adoption and engagement
- Time taken to get up to speed
- The volume of support team queries
For a more detailed walkthrough on how to calculate these metrics, take a look at this blog post, “7 Ways to Measure ROI on Customer Training.”
4. Not Having the Proper Customer Training Tools
If you want to be able to deliver an effective plan that achieves your goals, you’ll need to invest in customer training software. This is where your customers will access your training, so it needs to be intuitive and easy to use.
And if you’re a trainer at a software company, you will (more likely than not) also want to give your customers frictionless and hands-on access to our product (this helps drive curriculum retention and improves downstream product adoption). When evaluating a customer training platform, make sure it allows them to access your training content and launch your software product.
The right customer training software enables your customers to discover your courses and access learning materials with ease. Here are the most important features you need to look for in customer training software to ensure that your training reaches its potential:
- Hands-On Labs: give your customers the ability to practice using your software in real-world situations
- Multiple Content Types: add knowledge checks, quizzes, videos, and other interactive learning content
- Analytics and Reporting: create reports that dig into learner and course data to help you understand which learning content is the most popular, and which aspects of the customer training program can be improved
- Safely and Easily Update Learning Content: make sure that you can update, edit, and evolve your training curriculum in an agile yet safe manner.
Creating an Effective Customer Training Program
When you deliver effective customer training, users will be better educated on your product. They will know how to resolve minor problems themselves (without contacting your support team), and in turn, will turn potential problems with your product into a moment where they actually experience its value.
But, it takes time and effort to develop and build a high-quality customer training plan. The journey might appear daunting and you might not be convinced that it’ll be worth the effort and investment.