There’s no way to sugarcoat it; it’s a tough time for SaaS. While the state of the market is uneasy, the last thing you want to worry about is unhappy customers.
Customer education is the number-one way to improve customer satisfaction (and, ultimately, customer retention), but many companies still rely on old-fashioned one-on-one training. Maybe it’s the upfront financial investment giving them pause. However, the time and money spent on a customer education strategy always pays off.
We’ve got three real-world examples of companies that adopted structured digital customer training programs that helped them reduce churn rate, shorten onboarding, and boost customer satisfaction.
Appen’s L&D team was constantly creating new programs or adapting existing ones in order to properly train customers on processes.
Originally, the company spent a lot of time—12 hours per client, on average—educating new customers about their product. And all of that training was done one-on-one, which cut into employees’ workloads.
So, it's not surprising that the biggest challenge they faced was that most course authoring tools took too long. Appen needed a powerful tool that could create training in days, not weeks. They also needed something scalable, so new courses were easy to implement as their product evolved.
Appen saved the company $240,000 in training and support costs.
Appen turned to 360Learning, taking advantage of their easy-to-use collaborative customer education platform to create highly engaging content.
With this platform, Appen’s clients now have access to discussion forums that are specific to each training module. This reduces the frequency of repetitive questions and frees up the customer support team to help customers with more specialized issues.
Appen also found that when they added collaborative elements like social reaction buttons, their average course completion rate skyrocketed to 80%.
The amount of time spent on customer onboarding isn’t one-size-fits-all.
In general, high-touch SaaS companies tend to have longer onboarding times, taking around one week to educate customers, while low-touch and self-serve companies tend to onboard new customers in just one day.
No matter what your company offers, your goal should always be to shorten your customer’s time to value as much as possible—and that means a short but in-depth onboarding process.
INES is one of the top SaaS CRM providers in the world, working with small and mid-sized companies. They’ve completely revamped their customer education program with ambitious goals: a 20% reduction in churn plus a 10% increase in revenue.
One of the biggest challenges INES faced was the churn rate for existing customers. Frédéric Naudin was brought on as the company’s new GM to help roll out a new growth strategy focused on reducing churn.
Naudin conducted an audit of the company and found the best way to optimize customer training was to create an entirely new program rooted in digital learning.
An audit of the company found the best way to optimize customer training was to create an entirely new program rooted in digital learning.
Naudin identified three main requirements for INES’ new program based on our collaborative learning playbook:
Now, INES’ customer training program focuses on digital tools that connect customers with experts.
They use 360Learning as a collaborative customer training platform, which lets team members create new materials on-demand. Plus, interactive elements like forums encourage customers to ask questions or search for answers in existing discussion threads.
With all of these new training opportunities, Naudin expects the company will see a 20% reduction in churn rate, along with a 10% increase in training revenue. The cherry on top? 1,000 hours saved on customer support.
The fact is, most customers churn because they don’t understand the product they’ve invested in.
More than half of consumers say they’ve returned a product because they didn’t know how to properly use it. The same holds true for apps—80% of consumers have deleted an app because it wasn’t user-friendly.
So, shift your focus to creating educational content that clearly guides new customers toward product adoption. Offer different levels of touchpoints to meet your customers’ needs, including tutorials, interactive webinars or quizzes, and good old-fashioned emails. This will give your customer base ease of mind knowing they always have resources available to help them through issues.
*Since our case study, INES CRM was acquired by the Efficy group.
Mitsubishi Electric, a global electronics and electrical equipment manufacturing company, achieved unicorn status with their customer education program: maintaining a 99% customer satisfaction rate while reducing costs by 65%.
Mitsubishi Electric maintained a 99% customer satisfaction rate while reducing costs by 65%.
Mitsubishi Electric provides electronic equipment—including heat pumps and air conditioning units—around the world. Because their products are so in-demand, the company must be able to seamlessly train thousands of client engineers.
Around June 2020, they had in-person training available globally. But with a 1,500-person waitlist for a course and a classroom that could only hold 12 people at a time, they needed to provide more training than the company was able to handle.
Mitsubishi Electric’s L&D team built a customer education program around five key areas:
They built a new program around the concept of blended learning, with 80% of training content online and the remaining 20% conducted in person.
In the end, on top of eliminating the waitlist and improving customer satisfaction, the company increased the number of people training per month from 200 to 300. Plus, the new program uses only 10% of the resources required before without compromising on training volume or quality.
Mitsubishi Electric knew this approach would be favored by their customers. That’s because the company actually surveyed them and found that most customers liked having some in-person training.
So, even though they had the capacity to digitize 100% of their high-quality learning content, the L&D team listened to what their customers wanted over what was currently trending in the industry. Their blended learning approach paid off.
They turned to 360Learning’s customer education platform to allow in-house experts to work as peers, creating content quickly and collaboratively.
Customer education is meant to teach customers about your product to improve their experience. When done right, customer training increases loyalty and extends your customer lifecycle. The key to reinforcing product knowledge and increasing adoption comes down to one thing: properly educating your customers.
A platform like 360Learning provides scales and personalization for customer training. On the back end, customer education leaders manages content along with contributions from subject matter experts—while on the front end, customers work together to gain a deeper understanding of the training materials.
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