By: Ben Shoval, Head of Product and Co-founder at Strigo
Your business wants to have happy, renewing customers. Every business does. That’s why customer success teams exist.
But how do these teams ensure that customers are empowered and loyal? Is there a magic formula? A silver bullet?
Over the past few years, customer success leaders have recognized the critical role customer training plays as a powerful and effective tool in driving business growth and success. Here are three ways that training is being used to transform customer success:
1. Empowering customers at every stage of their lifecycle
The epitome of customer success is enabling users to maximize the value that they get from your solution. But customer needs can change over time. Likewise, your product is constantly evolving to include new features and use cases.
Customer training creates an ongoing interaction between businesses and customers. It allows you to meet customers where they are in their journey and ensure they have the right product knowledge as their business grows. And, when you introduce new functionalities to your software, you can utilize training to create user proficiency with these tools.
Let’s look at some of the different stages of the customer lifecycle and see how training can play an essential role:
- Presale – Even before they become your customers, you can show prospects how your software works and give them an opportunity to try it out for themselves in a virtual lab environment. Getting that hands-on experience will be invaluable for prospects who must make a decision about whether your software is a good fit for them.
- Onboarding – This is a critical stage for customers as you want to optimize the time to value. You can achieve this by familiarizing them with your product and training them on how to adopt it for their specific use cases.
- Certifications and advanced training – As you upgrade your offering and launch new functionalities, your customers need to be brought up to speed, so that they can get the most value out of the software. Training is an important way to help customers gain proficiency after product upgrades. It empowers customers to effectively use your product further into the customer lifecycle, taking their knowledge to a new level and helping them drive greater ROI.
2. Improving customer satisfaction, adoption, and retention
Customer training is the key to customer growth. How so? Because training gives customers confidence in your product since they know how to achieve what they need and get the job done efficiently.
Let’s take a look at the impact of well-trained customers on product adoption and renewal. According to data collected by TSIA, the average renewal rate among trained subscribers is 12% higher than untrained subscribers. Considering that it costs businesses much more to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones, this is a significant difference and shows that all companies should be using training as part of their customer retention strategy.
Additionally, 68% of trained customers reported using products more often; 56% said they use more product features, and 87% revealed that they are able to use the product more independently.
Training also reduces the burden on customer support, as users can often troubleshoot issues independently. When they do need to contact support, the interaction is much smoother and more effective since they already “speak the language” of the support team. This creates an easy and frictionless experience for customers and enhances customer satisfaction.
Your customer success team should be leveraging training as an integral tool for managing customer satisfaction and adoption. This will be an important part of your strategy for retaining customers and creating recurring revenue.
3. Turning customers into long-term partners
When you invest in your customers by offering ongoing training opportunities, you are building a relationship with them. This helps establish trust and loyalty and lays the foundation for a long-term partnership.
Consider how you might approach a customer when you want to check-in and see how they’re doing with the product. Instead of simply asking “How’s everything going?” you could also offer them something valuable, like a training session. This is a great way to spur their engagement and open up communications.
Likewise, let’s say your success team usually conducts quarterly checkups with customers. You could use this as an opportunity to offer hands-on training with one of your product experts, in order to bring the user more value and help them master the use of your solution for a specific use case that they have. This creates a much stronger relationship with the customer and sets them up for long-term success with your product.
By putting your customers front and center, and giving them the practical skills that will help them succeed and grow their business, your customers will feel a stronger affinity toward your brand and are more likely to become advocates of your brand.
Customer training is a transformative tool for customer success, as it enables your business to proactively manage the client experience and create happy, returning customers. It can and should be used at different points throughout the customer lifecycle, based on the customer’s changing needs. It has been proven as an effective way to drive adoption and retention. And, it can help businesses turn their customers into long-term partners and brand ambassadors.