How to approach customer training in a self-service product

customer education customer retention customer success customer activation customer onboarding customer service customer support

Customer Success teams often wonder whether the type of product should dictate their customer education tactics. Does a self-service product require a different customer education approach from a more complex one? This article aims to clarify our opinion on this matter.

Let’s start by defining what we mean by no touch, low touch and high touch approaches. Client engagement models can vary significantly. From the onset of the relationship with the client — the moment of onboarding — businesses can choose what level of engagement they are willing (and can afford) to maintain with them:

- A tech-centric model, with scarcely any human interaction, is called a no touch 
- A low-touch model happens when there is some interaction between Customer Success teams with their clients.
- A high touch model means companies spend a significant amount of their time and resources dealing with clients directly.

In some cases, companies follow a mixed model: they use a high touch approach during the onboarding phase to ensure a successful integration and will gradually decrease their level of engagement until they reach a no touch tactic.


Now let’s deep-dive into the low touch engagement model in order to fully understand what it entails. The following characteristics are typical of a low touch process:

1. The product or service offered by the business is either self-service or very simple to use
2. Low touch usual starts at the trial moment. There is usually a low level of engagement with the team, and purchase — including payment — can be completed online
3. Monthly recurring revenues are typically low
4. When low touch models are poorly executed, they can lead to higher churn. But this is not a characteristic of low touch models per se — Dropbox, Pipedrive and Spotify are good examples of low touch engagement models with incredibly high retention rates


Considering these characteristics, in self-service or very simple to use products, service sustainability and affordable costs of Customer Success teams obviously become paramount. CS teams will not typically engage in one-on-one direct support: their role is mostly to ensure that tech enabled customer service is in place (e.g. help desk guides; mail communications; training content). In this model, CS teams will be successful if the customer can easily find the resources they need to make the most of their products.


Considering the above, product education takes on a critical role. We already know a solid customer education strategy leads to higher retention and product engagement. In low touch approaches, it will additionally help customers help themselves, which is a key point for freeing up CS resources.


So, should the type of product and its client engagement level dictate its customer education strategy? Absolutely! And how do you tailor a customer education plan to fit a low touch engagement? You cannot expect the same customer education strategy to work for both self-service and for products that require permanent support. These last ones require constant interactions with the CS team. In a self-service product, however, clients expect to have access to tech-guided step-by-step product training in a simple, fast and direct fashion.


Therefore, instead of anchoring their customer education in efforts to establish themselves as market leaders (thought leadership content) or to proactively show users every functionality of the product or service they have acquired (push training), companies who want a successful low touch customer education strategy should invest in quick, effective and accessible video tutorials, available in-product, which is exactly where they are needed and searched the most (pull training). These tutorials should be short and focus on the experience and its benefits. The only point in time when adopting a more proactive educational approach might make sense is during the onboarding phase: even then, good customer education content must be sharp and stripped down to basics.


We cannot write about customer education without mentioning the technology that makes it possible. In self-service products, an enabling technology for video training must be fully integrated in the product to ensure a seamless experience, and available when necessary: both at time of need and when there are new features or updates that need to be communicated.  The integration between the training technology and the product should be so deep that clients will access education tutorials directly, not noticing they are leaving the product. On the other hand, certificates become less important, because the educational content is not of the thought leadership type and the product itself is relatively simple to use, not deserving an expertise path associated to it.


In summary, a low touch Customer Success approach must be well structured to make sure the self-service content customers need is always readily available. Direct real time training from the CS team should only be available in exceptional cases.


Because of its modular structure, strong integration capabilities, video content expertise and hourly rates, bugle is a platform that can successfully respond to low touch customer education challenges and needs. Contact us today and let’s get your bugle on!



You may also find interesting:

What a great customer onboarding course looks like (article)
5 ways to increase customer engagement (article)
Customer Activation - show value from day 1 (article)
How to create a video training course - the step by step guide (eBook)
Online Training Academy ROI calculator (ROI calculator)


Would you like to learn more about how bugle can help you offer great customer education for a low touch customer service approach? 
Let's talk.

Writen by João Ferro Rodrigues
13-Mar-2019 10:17:00

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