What is Customer Education and Why is It So Important?
End-user education is one of the most important parts of providing a good customer experience. Providing end-users with adequate training is critical because, without proper education, there is little chance they will be able to appreciate the full value of the product or service they’ve purchased.
But, it’s not only important to offer customers an informative user training experience; it’s also necessary to provide an experience that is engaging and retainable. Using a learning management system (LMS) to create an end-user training program that offers personalized learning paths for users is one of the best ways to keep learners engaged. Let’s dive deeper into the importance of user training.
What Is End User Training
Prioritizing end user training objectives is one of the best ways to improve your business’s customer experience. But what is end user training? End user training is the process of educating end users (AKA customers) about how to use your products or services. Using guided digital learning tools is one of the most popular methods.
End User Training Best Practices
The key to meeting your customer education or employee training objectives is to follow end user training best practices. Rather than going in blind, it’s smart to take the time to learn about how to build a successful end user training program the right way.
Create (and Follow) a Plan: When you consider all the good an end user training program can do for your business, it’s tempting to rush straight into implementation so you can start seeing all those benefits in action. However, this is a counterproductive route to take. It’s better to slow down and create a clear, thorough plan to give your education program the best possible chance of success. Starting with a well-defined goal in mind and communicating it to everyone involved in designing your end user training material can ensure everyone remains aligned and the project remains on track.
Understand the End-User: You shouldn’t make assumptions about what kind of learning experiences will work best for your end users. Instead, you should start by working with a subject matter expert (SME) who can help you understand exactly what your end users need in order to be successful with your product or service.
However, you should also go beyond content and consider what kinds of formats the content should be presented in. Different people prefer to learn differently, and each of us has a particular learning style or two that works best for us. A major part of end user training best practices is identifying and catering to your end users’ preferred learning styles. This means you will likely need to offer your educational content in more than one format, whether that’s video content, mobile-optimized content, audio-only content, or any number of other content delivery methods.
Look at Performance: If you use an LMS to power your end user training program, you can also take advantage of metrics that provide user-level insights. These insights can help you meet end user training objectives and improve the learning experience you make available to your customers. Gainsight Customer Education gives you access to a library of easy-to-use performance dashboards that can offer an accurate look inside the health of your end user training program.
Source Feedback: You don’t know what you don’t know. If you want to find out whether or not your end user training is working, just ask your end users. Gathering feedback directly from the source is almost always the best way to make relevant improvements. However, finding a realistic method of getting feedback from a large user base is not so easy. One advantage of using an LMS is that you can automate the feedback process, saving you a lot of time and ensuring you have a reliable source of insights from end users.
You should obviously pay attention to the feedback about the effectiveness of your learning content, but don’t forget to evaluate the logistical side of navigating the learning experience. If customers are having a hard time accessing learning materials, it doesn’t matter how well-made they are.
End User Training Checklist
Getting ready to pave a clear path for users? Follow this end-user training checklist.
The first item on your to-do list should be to set clear goals for your end user training program. Making a plan now will pay off later by keeping team members on the same page and ensuring the right objectives are prioritized.
To determine what your goals are for your end user training efforts ask yourself what you want the outcome to be for both your customers and your business. Do you want to improve retention? Do you want to reduce the amount of time your team spends resolving support tickets?
There are all kinds of questions like these you can ask yourself. Narrow down one or two answers and use that goal to focus your end user training design process.
2.Create (or Update) Relevant Content
Once you have your goals in place, you can create the content that will help you reach those goals or update existing content to realign it with your new goals. This step will require the assistance of a designer and a subject matter expert (SME).Your SME should be someone who has a deep understanding of what your customers’ pain points are and how online learning can be leveraged to solve their problems.Your designer should be someone who knows instructional design principles. This person will be essential for helping you present your content in a way that facilitates effective learning. If you don’t have anyone who can serve as an instructional designer, you can also try referring to an end user training plan template or a training plan sample doc.
3.Prepare for Launch
Now that you’ve collaborated with your designer and SME and your content is ready, you’re almost (but not quite) ready to launch your user training program.First, though, it’s a good idea to communicate the logistics of the launch with your company’s leadership team and make sure everyone in the company is on the same page about how the program will be rolled out. Everyone involved should be aligned and ready to start working toward the program’s objectives. You may also need to inform existing customers about the new training materials and how to access them. Once this happens, you’re ready to launch.
After the program has been up and running for a little while (at least a few weeks), take a look at the metrics you’ve gathered and evaluate your program’s success so far. An LMS like Gainsight Customer Education can provide you with automated feedback that can be used for this purpose.Take note of any areas of the learning experience that customers seem to be struggling with. You should also keep an eye out for areas that customers don’t seem to be utilizing. Ask yourself why these problems are occurring and brainstorm ways to solve them.
Once you’ve gathered and analyzed the data that tells you where your end user training program’s weaknesses lie, you can take action to remedy the problems. This should be an ongoing process whereby you gather feedback, use it to make improvements, gather more feedback about those improvements, and so on. This creates an iterative process that enables you to continually hone your user training experience.
Where User Training Fits in the System Implementation Process
For your product implementation to be successful, it’s imperative that your end users understand how to use the product. Without clear training regarding system implementation steps, users will likely have a difficult time with the implementation process.
The best way to teach users about the most effective system implementation methods is to use an LMS to create a thorough end user training program. Not only can an end user training program teach users how to use their products correctly — it can also help them achieve a smooth implementation process. When you stop and think about the impact a customer’s implementation experience has on their initial perception of the brand, the impotence of user training in system implementation becomes clear.
End User Training Software
Need end user training software? Look no further than Gainsight Customer Education, a learning management system (LMS) that is designed to provide ways to offer your customers informative and engaging end user training with no e-learning expertise required.
End-user training software like Gainsight comes with numerous tools that can make it simple to build a robust learning academy for your customers or employees. Here are a few examples:
- Learning PathsGuide customers through a personalized learning experience.
- SurveysGather feedback from users with custom surveys delivered via embedded survey tools.
- Learner-level Analytics and Custom ReportsGain a better understanding of your customers’ learning activity and tailor your program accordingly.
- Global InfrastructureDeliver content to people all over the world with a cloud-based infrastructure.
- Multi-content SupportLeverage different types of content to cater to any and all learning styles.
End User Training Best Practices
Educating end users about your brand and your products is essential if you want them to get the most value out of their purchases. Incorporating user training in system analysis and design can have a major impact on customer success. Not just any hastily assembled training program will do, however; it’s important for the product education experience you offer customers to be informative, engaging, and intuitive.
Think of the last time you had to sit through a boring onboarding presentation. Did you actually learn and retain much useful information? Probably not. But if the training doesn’t sink in, system implementation and maintenance can quickly become a nightmare.
Many customers have had this same experience. The majority of us have at one point or another. End user training best practices demand a more approachable and engaging method of onboarding customers. Thankfully, elevating your customer education program doesn’t have to be complicated. An LMS like Gainsight Customer Education can make the process of building a robust customer education program much simpler.
End User Training Objectives
When a brand provides high quality customer education, it doesn’t just benefit customers. Far from it, in fact — by considering end user training best practices as you create your education program, you can also improve customer retention.
Customer retention is directly linked to customer experience. Customers who have good experiences with brands tend to remain loyal customers, and customers who have bad experiences tend to take their business elsewhere. That’s just one of the basic facts of any business. When customers are offered a seamless, engaging, and digestible onboarding journey, they are much more likely to come away with a good experience and remain loyal customers for a long time to come. Meeting these end user training objectives often requires specialized software like an LMS.
End User Training Methods
The success of your customer education program hinges on the types of end user training methods you use to train your customers. If you need proof, you can find some fantastic end user training examples from businesses that have used an LMS to improve their customer education programs. These are just a few end user training plan examples and success stories:
- Shopify used a custom template from an LMS to create customer training materials that perfectly blend with the Shopify brand design aesthetic.
- Channable uses an LMS to offer customers a helpful overview of what’s included in training courses and how they’re structured before they start the module.
- Compass uses an LMS to seamlessly guide customers through the learning process and reduce friction in their customer education program.
LMS software helped each of these businesses stick to end user training best practices and achieve a better customer experience.
It’s important to periodically evaluate the methods your business uses to train customers. Ask yourself if they’re creating the kind of experience you would want to engage with as a consumer. If not, end user training software might help you provide a better customer experience.
End User Training
Part of offering a great customer experience during the onboarding process is creating a tangible sense of progress to keep customers motivated. End user training best practices tell us that without a tangible objective in sight, it will be much harder for customers to remain engaged with the learning process. Offering customer certifications for completing training modules can give customers a sense of achievement that spurs them forward.
It’s in our natures to become more invested in a task if we know we will get a payoff at the end — you can easily use an LMS to offer customers that pay off in the form of a shiny new certification. Any kind of customer education program, like an ERP training program, for example, could benefit from the addition of certifications.
We all crave validation in one form or another, and you can provide this for customers by giving them a tangible acknowledgment of their effort. When customers are fully motivated to complete their end user training and earn a certificate, it makes them much more likely to actually retain the information they’re being presented with. They’re also more likely to remain engaged, rather than just going through the motions to get the training out of the way. User training examples that incorporate certifications and other forms of reward or recognition are often some of the most successful ones.
User Training in System Implementation
To implement a product successfully, your customers have to understand how to use it first. Having the tools to accomplish something doesn’t mean much if you have no clue how to use those tools. Maintaining a robust user training program that adheres to end user training best practices is one of the best ways to continually educate customers about products and how to use them.
When customers understand how to use their products, they can appreciate the full value those products have to offer. Decreasing time to value for the customer creates a better customer experience during the onboarding process, which improves customer retention. If your customer education program is truly successful, it can even increase the value of your products.
Most customers are buying your product with a specific application in mind, likely a goal they want to achieve or a problem they want to solve. It’s important to offer them the training they need to use the product for those intended applications, but a good training program can go even further and help customers discover additional applications or better system implementation methods they didn’t even know they needed.
The best user training examples make implementation a breeze because they get customers even more excited about the product. Trying to complete the proper system implementation steps without an effective and organized customer training program can be challenging. This is because it will be more difficult to engage customers in the learning process, resulting in customers who don’t fully understand how to use your product or the value it has to offer.
Importance Of End User Training
The importance of user training extends beyond just improving customer experience and retention (although those benefits are valuable enough on their own). Using an LMS to provide high quality customer education services can have a positive impact on your business’s bottom line, as well. Here are a few examples of the ways training your customers can increase revenue:
- It Frees Up Your Customer Support TeamWhen customer support is bogged down with low-impact tasks like teaching customers the basics of using products, they have less time to engage in customer interactions that add strategic value and have a chance of making money.
- It Creates Brand AdvocatesNo one is a better advocate for your brand than a happy customer. When customers are adequately educated and appreciate the value your product has to offer, they’ll likely tell people about it, which obviously leads to more paying customers and more sources of revenue.
- More Upsell OpportunitiesCustomers aren’t usually going to be interested in upgrading their products before they even understand how to use their current product. On the other hand, customers who are product experts might recognize the value of an upgrade or addition.
The importance of end user training should be apparent from its positive impact on brand and customer alike. Sufficient customer education is one of the most vital factors in the customer journey. When customers are onboarded, their experience has a major impact on the way the rest of their journey plays out.
Effective training content is the difference between a customer who doesn’t understand the product and becomes frustrated and a customer who can start using the product to its fullest potential right away. It should be pretty clear which of those customers is more likely to stick with your business.