What is customer education and why’s it important for SaaS companies? Customer education is a strategy you can use to improve the customer experience, product engagement, retention, churn, and more through educational resources.
Here’s a no-nonsense guide that covers it all.
Customer education is should be a priority for any business.
But for SaaS companies, it’s a necessity. Full stop.
In 2022 and far into the future, any SaaS company—or really any company selling a product—needs to invest in customer education.
Here’s everything you need to know about customer education, why it’s important and how any SaaS company can use it to succeed.
What’s Customer Education?
Customer education is a strategy you can use to improve the customer experience through educational resources. These resources provide value to your customers by fostering their success, ultimately increasing customer loyalty. The best customer education programs are designed to impact measurable business metrics, such as product adoption, customer retention and LTV. For example, customer education could help a SaaS company teach its customers how to use its technology.
Why’s Customer Education Important for SaaS Companies?
Here are some of the reasons customer education is so important for SaaS companies:
- Customer Retention: If customers don’t understand how to use your software, or if they aren’t using it as effectively as they could be, they have less reason to continue giving you their business. Providing them with opportunities to learn about the software in an approachable way can help you retain them as customers.
- Product Adoption: Product adoption is the process of customers realizing the value of your product and beginning to use it regularly. Customer education can aid product adoption by helping customers realize the value of your software more quickly.
- Time to Value (TTV): Time to value represents the amount of time it takes for a customer to recognize how your product can solve their problem (or problems). Better customer education can help customers learn to use your products in less time, enabling them to get the full value of the software much sooner.
- Organic Growth: When customers understand your software and are using it frequently, they’re more likely to share about it with their friends or coworkers. Plus, maintaining a high-quality online learning academy can attract more customers who are searching for information about the kind of solution you offer.
How SaaS Companies Can Build an Effective Customer Education Program
Customer education is important for nearly every kind of business, but especially for SaaS businesses. But a customer academy won’t do you any good unless you’re using a well-planned customer education strategy.
Here are some tips for creating the best program you possibly can:
Focus on One Goal
Obviously, your broad goal is to teach customers about your product. But you should also narrow in on a more specific goal. Do you want to improve customer retention? Do you want to reduce time to value? Do you want to reduce support tickets for the customer success team? Don’t try to solve every problem at once or you’ll solve none of them.
Enlist the Right People
To create a customer education program, you’ll need to build the right team for the task. Several key people will be essential to your customer education team structure. These are the most important roles:
- Subject Matter Expert (SME): The subject matter expert is the person who knows the product information like the back of their hand. They’ll help you by contributing to the actual content of each lesson.
- Instructional Designer (ID): The instructional designer’s job is to take the content drafted by the subject matter expert and format it effectively for online learning. It’s very helpful if your instructional designer has some experience with graphic design. You can also include a graphic designer as a separate role on the team.
- Technical Lead: The technical lead should be able to integrate your customer education program with the rest of your technology stack and make sure all the different tools are communicating with one another as they should.
- Video Editor: Video is one of the most effective forms of content to include in your customer education program. Most people’s brains naturally learn best when there are visual and auditory elements to the lesson. It’s a good idea to include a video editor on your customer education team if you plan to take advantage of this particularly useful medium.
Prioritize the User Experience (UX)
Think further than just the content of your customer academy (though the content needs to be excellent, too) and consider the experience from the user’s perspective. If you were navigating a product education course, think about the kind of interface you’d like to see.
If the course had a confusing layout or an unappealing aesthetic, it would probably make the learning experience a lot more difficult. It’s important to aid customers’ learning process not just by giving them great content, but by presenting it in a conducive way to learning.
Becoming a product expert is great and customers will be able to get a lot more value from their products once they’ve completed your customer education program. However, this doesn’t change the fact that it’s rare to find someone who enjoys taking online training courses, even if they are well-made.
Offering certifications to customers who complete courses is a great way to keep them motivated as they learn. It’s also a great way to spread the word about your training academy; customers who have earned a certification are likely to want to show off their new qualification to their network, either by posting about it on LinkedIn or via word of mouth.
Gathering feedback is one of the most impactful steps you can take to improve your customer education strategy. After you’ve launched your customer education program, you should continually ask customers about their experience with your academy.
Listening to their feedback can tell you where the academy is working and where it needs improvement. You can also track metrics like course completion rates to see which courses are helping customers and which ones are tripping them up.
Use the Right Tools
Often, implementing a customer education program is just as challenging as designing one. Choosing the right tools to help you get your courses off the ground is the best way to circumnavigate this obstacle. Some of the best customer academies on the internet are built using a learning management system (LMS). Software like Gainsight Customer Education is designed to make it easy to cultivate a robust customer training academy where your users can easily access useful product information.
Keep Courses Short
It might seem tempting to cram as much information as possible into your customer education courses. However, this strategy is not usually very effective. When you dump too much information in customers’ laps at once, it’s harder for them to digest it all and they’re less likely to retain what they’ve learned.
The best way to prevent this from happening is to keep your lessons short. Break courses into manageable chunks that cover just one idea at a time. This is called microlearning.
Customer Education Tools
Gainsight Customer Education is one of the best customer education tools available. By using an LMS like Gainsight Customer Education for customer learning management, you can improve important metrics like retention, engagement and time to value. But, without effective customer education software, you’ll have your work cut out for you to achieve those same outcomes.
A customer education LMS can facilitate many of the different tactics that can improve your customer education program. For example, learning management software can be used to provide customer education certifications for customers who complete certain training courses. Implementing an LMS is one of the best ways to achieve these results and improve your customer education program.
Learn more about Gainsight Customer Education here!