Why offer skills training to your clients (and which ones)

customer education online training knowledge sharing customer retention customer experience customer success customer training customer academy

Clients buy your product to serve a purpose, usually related to being successful at doing something.
This is not achieved just by knowing how to use your product. Your product is the tool that will help your customers do what they need to do, for sure. However, what will interfere with your customers' ability to be successful? What do they need to know how to do to get the best results?

Getting a customer education programme in place

A customer education programme is usually comprised of a series of courses, PDFs, videos, case studies and so on – some kind of knowledge base, whether it is a customer academy, a FAQs page in your website or any other medium.

This training and shared knowledge is usually about your product – how to use it and maybe even how it helped other customers. Why? Because the goal of the programme is for clients to learn how to use the product, get to first value quickly and answer any questions they may have. 
And there’s nothing wrong with this perspective. Great product training is key to get your customers to use your product as soon as possible, and usage has a huge impact in clients’ decision to stay.

But, what if the goal of your customer education programme went beyond product knowledge and had the goal of helping customer be successful at what they do? This may seem exactly the same thing, but it isn’t.

As Hubspot’s Founder and CTO, Dharmesh Shah, puts it “People don’t value marketing software. They value marketing success”. This quote says it all when it comes to customer care. If you navigate to the Hubspot Academy, you will find some product training – sure. Yet, most of the training available at the Hubspot Academy is about skills. Here’s an example: You can find training on how to use the email marketing feature, but you can also find pretty much all the skills training you need to send marketing emails more successfully, from creating an email marketing strategy, to writing emails that will have more opens and clicks, to deliverability tips, and much more.

Helping your customers to be successful at what they need to do is just that: offering the skills training they need to have the best results possible.

There are many advantages to getting a customer education programme that focuses on success in place. Here are some of them:
- you can use your customer academy to attract leads,
- set yourself apart as an industry leader,
- provide training at scale, while ensuring consistency in training throughout your entire customer base,
- transform your customers into ambassadors for your brand, and more.

Which skills training should you offer your clients?

The answer to this question will vary depending on your product, its complexity, its “jobs to be done”. Actually, you are very likely to already know at least a few of them, especially if you work in customer care as you’ll listen daily to what your clients struggle with the most.

To get a more comprehensive view, there are three ways you can find information on what skills are the most needed for your clients’ success: asking your customer facing teams (marketing, sales and customer care), analyse your product and its usage data, and your clients’ feedback.

Your customer facing teams will have a pretty good understanding of what clients ask, search for or struggle with as they will have first-hand accounts or even data about your customers.
Analysing your product and its usage will offer you a huge amount of information on your customers' main difficulties. Are customer results below industry average or expected? Are certain features not being used to their full potential? What type of knowledge would someone need to get better results using your product?
And, of course, there is nothing like straight up asking your customers how you can help them be more successful, what knowledge they feel may be lacking to make the most of your product.

So, gather as much information and feedback as you can, from onboarding to ongoing activities, and define a customer training programme that includes the skills that will make a difference. After all, anyone can learn how to use a product, but not everyone will know how to be successful with it. And if your customers are not able to use a product successfully, they will not recommend it and will end up not using it. It’s definitely a red flag for customer churn.


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You may also find interesting:

The North Star metric and bugle's use case (guide)
The big eBook of Customer Onboarding (guide)
How to get more ROI from your training (article)
Preventing Customer Churn: how to identify and fix red flags (article)
12 Tips to choose the right training platform (article)


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Writen by Joana Fonseca
16-Sep-2021 09:30:00

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