All great, successful enterprises or activities have both a goal and a strategy. Although strategies can often be complicated this is seldom the road to success, and you will save yourself a lot of time, energy and stress by creating a simple strategy that is focused on key components.
This is especially true of Customer training strategies. Each company and organisation is different and each has its own special training needs. We will explain in six simple steps how to plan a Customer training experience that helps your Customers and provides an additional benefit to your product.
Step 1: Understand why your Customers need training
Would you consider taking a journey in your vehicle if you don’t know where you’re going? That’s why we tell our GPS what the destination is before we ask it how to get there. If you are not sure of the goal (exact purpose) and value of your training course, your Customers are unlikely to perceive value in it either.
You can easily determine what is needed by talking to your own departments and find out what their needs are in terms of what information Customers ask for. If their experience is answering basic questions their time can be better spent in other areas if the Customer training course covered general on-boarding more extensively.
Once you have decided on the internal needs for Customer training it’s time to consider the external needs. What are the Customers interested in learning? What are the gaps in knowledge that your training should fill? Do your research and find out exactly which product use Customers are struggling with. Use this knowledge blended with your own company’s needs to create a training course which specifically meets the Customer’s needs. These pools of information will give you firm intelligence to build your training strategy.
Step 2: Work out the best way to meet these needs
When you have completed Step 1 and determined what sort of course would be required for smooth product adoption you need to understand how to get there.
You should be considering these vital questions:
- What technology will you need to achieve these goals?
- Will you need an LMS?
- How much will it cost?
- How many staff will I need to design it?
- Do we need extra resources to achieve a comprehensive launch?
- Will we be able to make changes to accommodate product changes and updates further down the line?
Step 3: List your objectives
When we set objectives, we put in place a mechanism for measuring progress.
If your company has previously launched a Customer Training Programme (CTP) look at the analytics and determine what worked well and what didn’t. Did video lessons have a higher completion rate than PDF’s or eBooks? Did certain subject matters have more views than others?
Use this data to –
- Design your training to appeal to the most Customers
- Map your objectives based on how similar lessons performed previously
Research what other companies in your industry are doing, who are successful? If you’re going to use a platform like Modlettes for your training, work with them to see what kind of data they have on Customer training participation and completion rates.
Here are some examples of objectives for a CTP:
- Decrease the number of simple questions rung through to the Customer Service Department by 50% in year one
- Achieve 80% CTP completion rate by the end of the year
- Decrease the average product adoption time from 30 days to 20 days by the end of the quarter.
Factors to consider in your evaluation:
- Was there a certain lesson that had the most dropouts?
- Were your overall participation rates low, meaning you need to market your training better?
- Where your objectives realistic in the first place?
Step 4: Pricing and packaging
Once you have designed your training according to your Customers’ needs, sorted out a platform and set your objectives you need to decide whether or not you will be charging for your training.
Often, the open-door nature of free training leads to increased product adoption, therefore generating more revenue for the company and making up for the cost of delivering the training.
CTP’s do not have to be either paid or free as there are some other in-between pricing strategies as well. A few examples are:
- Blended – live training costs money, on-demand training is free, or free for certain tiers of Customers
- A la carte – pay for each course as needed
- Subscription (all you can eat) – pay a flat fee for a year of full access to training resources.
Step 5: Going to market
How do you use your CTP to demonstrate value? Since you planned your training content based on the knowledge gaps you uncovered in your initial research, you know which topics should be flagships in your marketing. Emphasize the relevance of the subject matter to their needs and their success with the product.
Some of the most effective mediums for marketing CTP’s are social media, email campaigns, and direct client outreach from your account managers. When your original marketing strategy has been proved effective, the next step is getting your Customers to continue the training after they have already registered. It is very common for your initial marketing strategy to get a Customer started, they participate for a short time and leave the training incomplete, never to return.
One easy way to re-market to your Customers is through automated reminders using software such as Marketo.
Step 6: Timeline
The final stage of planning a CTP strategy is to lay out a timeline. Have a discussion with other stakeholders in your organisation and find out their expectations.
Here’s some other questions that may need answers:
- When will your training be ready for registration?
- Can learners register at any time or is it only going to be offered on certain dates?
- Is there an end date for your training?
- When will you evaluate the success of your training programme?
- Will you need to plan for any updates over the course of the programme.
When all is said and done the key to good Customer learning design is listening. Listen to the needs of your Customers, listen to the needs of your departments, and listen to the training needs of your industry.