By: Ben Shoval, Head of Product and Co-founder at Strigo
Your customers want to feel supported every step of the way. They don’t just want to purchase your software; they want to feel like you’re invested in them and committed to their success.
By offering customer training throughout your relationship, you can help establish a strong partnership with your customers, demonstrating that you’ve got their back every step of the way.
If you’re a SaaS business, this is even more important, since you’re relying on customer renewal to drive your business forward. Think about just how essential relationship-building is going to be in your customer success and retention efforts.
Actions Speak Louder than Words
It’s no secret that B2B consumers appreciate and value the human touchpoint. After all, they are not just making a small, one-off purchase; they are investing a lot of money and time into your product. They want to feel a sense of emotional connectedness to you as the vendor.
In order to foster this type of relationship, it’s important to actively support your customers at all stages of the customer lifecycle.
How can you do this?
First, by empowering your customers to utilize your product in the most impactful way for their business.
Offering hands-on labs and practical training opportunities is an invaluable way for customers to develop a deep proficiency with your software, refresh their knowledge about the various use cases, and remain up to date on any new features and product updates that are available.
By delivering ongoing customer education, you are demonstrating to your customers that you care about them and will always go the extra mile to help them succeed. This has a much bigger impact than just sending out product update emails or offering quick check-ins to see how they’re doing with the product.
It also adds a critical human element, especially if the training program is dynamic and interactive, and this too contributes to building emotional connectedness with the user.
Make a Great First Impression, Even Before they Buy
Even when prospects are first learning about your product, offering a hands-on training session can be a highly effective way to engage with these potential customers.
With the right tools, you could not only offer a product demo, but also deliver a training workshop, allowing your audience to test run your software and really get a feel for it.
This gives potential customers an opportunity to connect with the product and the brand before they even begin the sales process, and to better understand how it meets their needs. It also triggers an emotional response, as it helps familiarize them both with your team and your company culture.
Workshops and training sessions can be a powerful way to start building relationships with prospects, and can help establish the emotional connection that influences buyer decision-making and even budget allocations.
Even some of the leading global brands have recognized how they can use training workshops to drive emotional engagement. A good example is the “Today at Apple” program, which offers daily educational sessions on a variety of topics in Apple’s retail stores around the world. Of course, the nature of B2C relationships is a bit different than B2B relationships, but the principles are the same – show customers how your product meets their needs, let them experience the different functionalities first-hand, and give them an opportunity to get to know you and your brand at a deeper level and feel like they’re part of the product community.
Relationship-Building is an Ongoing Effort
The key thing to remember is that customer training is a continuous effort, not a one-off event.
The first step in building a strong relationship with your customers is showing them that you can help them reach their goals quickly.
Customer education during onboarding is a critical way to help users understand the ins and outs of your product, and share critical knowledge and insights that will help them get maximum value from your software. This empowers customers to hit the ground running, gain proficiency with your tool, and achieve a quicker ROI.
Onboarding is an important building block in the customer relationship because it shows that you’re committed to your customers’ success from Day One.
But that’s not the end of the story, because businesses have changing needs over time. Customer success is all about building a long-term relationship, where you are supporting your customers at all times, so that they can excel at their tasks while using your tools.
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 in turn be happier, more loyal, feel a stronger affinity toward your brand, and are more likely to become advocates of your brand.
Customer success and retention go hand in hand. And retention is especially important when you’re operating on a SaaS business model. In fact, according to Salesforce, customer acquisition costs five to 15 times more than customer retention, and a low churn rate can double your company’s value over five years.
A 2019 Forrester report also found that customer education programs increase retention by 21.8%, improve customer satisfaction by 34.3%, and increase the customer’s lifetime value by 20.9%.
By investing in your customer relationships, and empowering customers to excel and succeed through ongoing education initiatives, you are setting up both yourself and your customers for long-term success.
Customer Education is a Huge Differentiator
Not only does training give customers the tools to help them succeed, it also allows them to connect with your team on a personal level, become part of your community, and establish a stronger emotional connection with your product.
Investing in relationship-building through training and education can be a huge differentiator for B2B companies looking to establish long-term customer loyalty, retention, and growth.
When you show your customers that you’re invested in them every step of the way, they will feel more committed to and more satisfied from the relationship.