Customer onboarding is so crucial that 86% of customers say they would be more likely to remain loyal if a business provides them with content that welcomes and educates them.

A strong customer onboarding process leads to faster ramping, greater customer satisfaction, and longer customer retention—but this can only happen if you integrate product education into the onboarding experience. We recommend adding online academies, automation, personalized learning, and blended learning. With these four tips, you’ll create an educational customer onboarding process that gives customers the ease of use and confidence they need to master your product or service.

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Increase customer success with an online academy

An academy is a collection of customer education programs to help your customers explore more of your product’s features and to understand the concrete benefits your product provides. A successful customer education program also goes beyond the functions of your product or service, with shared tutorials or courses that give your customer an extra set of skills that complements their use of your product.

The CRM platform HubSpot, for example, has an academy with courses on how to use every facet of its products. HubSpot Academy has also become the go-to destination for people to deepen their knowledge in subjects related to sales, inbound marketing, and customer support. While these courses aren’t necessary to use the product itself, they’re related to the use cases of HubSpot’s core products. HubSpot knows its users might want to upgrade their skills in related areas.

A strong selling point for HubSpot’s academy is its personalized certificates that can be shared on social media or added to the learner’s LinkedIn profile. Certificates signal that your customers have successfully completed your academy’s courses. This helps create a community of product champions or ambassadors, establish credibility for your company, and position it as an industry leader.

With a robust customer-training software like an LMS, you can design customizable and branded academies that include a wide range of engaging media. These tools make it easy to onboard customers so they realize the value of your product more quickly. With a collaborative LMS, you’ll be able to create private academies with dedicated courses for audience segments or create paid and free public courses.

A successful customer education program also goes beyond the functions of your product or service, with shared tutorials or courses that give your customer an extra set of skills that complements their use of your product.

Automate the customer onboarding process to accelerate customer learning

For new customers, getting up to speed with a new product, learning how it can provide value, and figuring out how to incorporate it into their daily lives can take some time. The customer onboarding process takes even longer if you have a more complicated product that requires a high-touch onboarding model (i.e., it relies on several calls and in-depth training from a customer success manager).

In fact, 33.34% of SaaS companies with a high-touch onboarding model require an onboarding of at least a month. An automated onboarding process integrated within your LMS allows you to hold your customer's hands and guide them through their onboarding process to expedite their learning.

For instance, if you set up your LMS to automatically send custom welcome emails to new users with product tours, webinars, course registration information, tutorials, etc., you’re providing a guide to exploring your product.

Notifications and alerts give learners reminders and benchmarks as they go through onboarding. For example, automatic enrollment reminders can be sent to learners after they’ve enrolled in a course. And whenever a customer hits a roadblock or abandons onboarding entirely, your LMS triggers an automatic reminder to complete onboarding—and ultimately helps decrease the number of customers who stop engaging and eventually churn.

33.34% of SaaS companies with a high-touch onboarding model require an onboarding of at least a month.

Design personalized learning paths to help customers reach their learning goals faster

Personalized experiences are the key to delivering value to your customer. Customers are no longer interested in a generic product or service, so customer education needs to be customized to keep pace. In fact, research has shown that 78% of consumers have selected, recommended, or paid more for a brand that offers personalization.

By offering customized learning paths to your customers, you're able to deliver content that meets their specific needs to get them to the "Aha!" moment—where they see the value in your service—faster.

Many LMSs are highly customizable, allowing you to personalize each customer's learning experience with learning paths that take customers through predetermined content sequences. For example, you can implement personalization for customers to select different paths on your LMS welcome screen, or you can create forks in your onboarding flow. Users submit information about their goals during sign-up that helps you put them on a semi-custom path.

Suppose you create a fitness app, and you set up learning paths for different fitness routines based on beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Each learning path has a set of courses specific to that fitness program. As learners complete one course, they’ll be prompted to automatically enroll in the next course in the path without signing in again. Expandable views and progress bars can also be used to guide users along the path, let them see what's ahead, and get more information on upcoming courses.

78% of consumers have selected, recommended, or paid more for a brand that offers personalization.

Create blended learning opportunities to cater to your customers’ varied learning needs

There is no one best learning method—some learners prefer to learn by reading, and others get better results by seeing or doing. Blended learning combines traditional face-to-face learning with online and asynchronous learning to create a more flexible customer onboarding process that caters to a wide variety of customers and their learning needs.

For your onboarding process, best practices say to offer a mix of hands-on, live, and self-directed customer training. Interactive sessions and live webinars work great for more formal training, while on-demand video, micro-courses, quizzes, and gamification help learners stay motivated for self-directed learning. But you should also keep your target customer in mind.

For example, 65% of customers prefer video content for learning how to use a product or service. If the audience for your fitness app also prefers video, a blended learning module for a user learning how to use your app could include:

  • A pre-recorded video featuring a coach who introduces the app, explains the benefits, and demonstrates some exercise routines from the beginner fitness program.
  • A live instructor-run webinar and Q&A on diet and exercise strategies.

Even if your audience largely prefers one type of training, you should still offer alternative methods of learning for accessibility and variety.

65% of customers prefer video content for learning how to use a product or service.

Invest in a customer training platform for your organization

There are dozens of customer training software options, each with scores of features and benefits. We recommend choosing a platform with features like collaborative learning, personalized learning paths, in-depth reporting, and analytics—all important factors for building a robust educational customer onboarding experience.

Learn more about other features to look for in a proper customer training platform for your organization.