This article was written by Lila Meyer, Director of Global Education Services, Gainsight.
Before moving into my current role as the Director of Global Education Services, I oversaw the Technical Communication and Community Management teams at Gainsight. My previous role helped me to get to know many of the members of our amazing Customer Success (CS) community, to grow the community by welcoming our Product Experience colleagues, and even to select InSided as our online community platform several years before we acquired them. Early on, I saw clearly how fortunate Gainsight is to have a very passionate, engaged, and supportive community cheering us on as the leaders and innovators of the Customer Success movement. The community also shows up for each other in many ways on a daily basis, including answering each other’s questions, celebrating each other’s wins, sharing learnings, mentoring newcomers, and more.
Given my experience with our thriving community, it felt only natural in my new role to encourage the Education team to leverage the online community as a tool to strengthen and extend our work with customers. We’ve experienced firsthand how our community is both a rich resource and a platform for us to communicate, recognize accomplishments, and bring like-minded people together. Below are four key learnings to help you make the most of your Community and Education programs.
1. Community Reveals Training Needs and Reusable Resources
Over the years, community members have written quick product how-to’s, recorded mini tutorials, and shared tips and tricks in the Gainsight community. In turn, the Education team has incorporated these resources into our on-demand e-learning programs. These resources have even helped us identify subject matter experts, both internal and external, that we partner with to develop new training materials. As we plan new training and events, we’ve also reached out to the community to better understand their interests and needs, as well as any current gaps in our educational resources.
And with InSided, community members can actually discover our instructor-led classes when they search for content on the community, using the InSided-Skilljar federated search integration.
2. Community Enables Learners to Continue the Conversation
While a live course might only last a few hours or at most a week, the community provides a venue for learners to continue the conversation and extend the learning experience. We have cohorts of learners who all went through the same training or completed a certain level of training and who now belong to a Group on the community platform.
For example, several months back, the Gainsight Community and Education teams partnered to launch a Beginner Admins Group. And, after an in-person training event last summer, we brought the participants together on the online community to continue sharing learnings and discussing how they’re using Gainsight APIs.
3. Community Celebrates Members’ Accomplishments
What better place to recognize and celebrate members for their contributions and accomplishments than the community platform? Every month, we share the list of newly certified Gainsight Administrators with the community, and we add the corresponding badges to their community profiles.
Last year, I started interviewing Gainsight Admins and sharing short video profiles with the community to highlight the variety of paths that people have taken to get into CS Operations, and discovered along the way that we have quite a few career changers (former librarians, teachers, military, etc.).
I believe part of what makes our community unique and helps it thrive is the sense of connection and encouragement that its members share with each other. These same qualities are helping people learn more about how to simplify and scale CS Operations and Gainsight administration responsibilities, which ultimately aligns with our team’s goals.
4. Community Is a Communication Tool
It almost goes without saying that the community platform provides a great way to communicate with our customers. We frequently share announcements about upcoming training events, webinars, certifications, and new and updated training resources. For example, as part of Gainsight’s annual Pulse conference, we’re hosting a full day of product training called Pulse Academy Live (PAL). We use the community to provide a sneak peek of PAL content, introduce the instructors, and encourage attendees to continue networking. We also share how-to information for new Gainsight Admins looking to get started, experienced Admins who need to know how to renew their certifications, and so on.
While community is not the only way we communicate with learners, it helps us extend our reach and share information in a personable way. I encourage my teammates to post to the community, so that customers get to know the names and faces working behind the scenes to develop and deliver training resources.
Community + Education: What’s Next?
While a lot of what I shared above has been applied to our product education efforts, my team also manages Pulse+, a customer success training and certification platform that’s product-agnostic. We have an opportunity to connect Pulse+ subscribers with our broader CS community, and to share community resources directly on the Pulse+ platform.
I’m excited to continue partnering with the creative and inspiring team, Revathi Menon and Anirban Dutta, who manage our Gainsight Community platform today. Additionally, I’m looking forward to product enhancements that will help us and our clients better integrate all of the resources into a more centralized customer hub.