Rainbow steps representing customer education
Training & Learning

A Step-by-Step Guide to Customer Training That Scales

About 73% of customers abandon a brand after three or fewer bad experiences, and it’s all down to a gap in customer training, according to a recent survey. Respondents said some “negative experiences” with brands come from a lack of information and conflicting information. According to the report, you have three or fewer chances to impress your customer and make sure they don’t churn. 

But the good news is that customer training—equipping your customers with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed with your product—can be strengthened and scaled, especially with a focus on collaboration and automation. That is, your customer education program could become the competitive differentiator that gets customers to choose you over other businesses. 

According to research by the Technology & Services Industry Association (TSIA) on training adoption, 68% of customers who receive training use the product more often, and 87% are able to work more independently. Naturally, customers want to stay with a product that they use and that solves their pain points, leading to higher renewals and customer loyalty.  

To achieve this, however, you need a step-by-step approach to build a customer training program that will boost product adoption, engagement, and customer retention. We outlined the approach to creating a customer training program that will foster product adoption and turn your customers into product evangelists. 

1. Choose the right learning management system to support customer training

As the centralized spot for developing and delivering customer training, a learning management system (LMS) helps you get the highest return on investment on customer education. Simply put, an LMS gives you the infrastructure you need to provide a seamless training experience to customers. 

It also reduces the time customer success teams spend on low-value tasks like scheduling and delivering live training. After all, your support teams are already busy; they don’t have the bandwidth to provide 1:1 training to each customer throughout their journey. And even if they did, relying solely on instructor-led training is a repetitive and outdated method that can lead to disengaged customers. 

So, which LMS should you choose? Not all LMSs will have the functionality or features you need to meet your goals. 

For instance, if your goal is to shorten the time to value (TTV) or to drive product adoption at scale, you’d want to consider an LMS with a focus on collaboration and automation. A collaborative LMS can help you onboard customers faster, create and maintain relevant courses, and improve training outcomes because it focuses on knowledge-sharing and learning in the flow of work. Simple automations let you organize individual users into groups for the type of training they need. For example, you can separate onboarding customers from advanced users to deliver the right training for their skill level. 

What to consider when choosing an LMS

Choose an LMS that's right for you

2. Create private groups for different customers

Your customers have different goals and needs. Applying a cookie-cutter approach to solving their training needs would lead to confusion and frustration. Instead, give them a bespoke experience by customizing separate, private groups for different customers. 

An LMS that supports customization will let you create these private group and even assign user admins. The ease of use and privacy will help you build trust and keep customers engaged.

3. Develop a personalized onboarding plan 

With a small window of opportunity to impress new customers, you need to provide white-glove, high-touch service without spending too much on 1:1 training. A revamped onboarding plan is your chance to offer a personalized experience that meets each customer’s unique needs. After all, poor onboarding is one of the leading causes of customer churn, and 67% of all churn can be prevented if you resolve customer issues right at the first interaction.

An LMS eliminates costly and repetitive 1:1 training. Instead, you’ll create a customized onboarding experience with dedicated academies for each customer’s unique use cases. 

Your customers have multiple user types—decision-makers, admins, developers, and end users—and they all have different needs from your product. The exact same course material won’t be helpful or relevant to all of them. To solve this problem, organize learners into subgroups based on their product use. Each group gets a custom URL within the learning platform and its own visibility rules, but you can share and adapt any course from one group to another as needed. Plus, new users can register to their group automatically with a magic link, helping you scale the customer onboarding process.

Poor onboarding is one of the leading causes of customer churn.

4. Focus on collaboration to create scaleable content 

If you’re in the software industry, your product is constantly evolving, and you need customer training to keep up with the changes. 

But your customer training isn’t just a lineup of products and new features; you need to solve pain points, educate customers on broader use cases, and show them how to maximize efficiency with your tool. Collaboration plays a key role in boosting the speed and accuracy of your training and reducing customer churn.

Collaboration is also the key to training that is engaging and scalable. As you transform your teams into knowledge-sharing leaders, you’ll get to the root of what customers need to get maximum value from your product. 

Most LMSs come with a course creation tool. But an LMS with a focus on peer training goes deeper by making the entire training cycle collaborative: 

  • Peer-to-peer training: A built-in authoring tool gives you an edge with peer training. You can invite customer education reps to create a course on a topic they are knowledgeable about. They can team up with a peer to become co-authors and collaborate on a course. This way, all the knowledge and insight they collect during interactions with customers stay within the company. Peer-created courses are instantly relatable to solving customer problems and are useful to ramp up new hires. 
  • Collaborative discussion: A discussion forum is perfect for team members to jump in and crowdsource answers or feedback. Plus, conversations are saved in a centralized spot so you can refer back to them as needed. 
  • Easy feedback solutions: Reactions and Relevance Scores are a form of feedback that tell course authors how helpful their training material is, encouraging them to keep content fresh and updated. With one click, customers can rate your content and guide your content creation.
  • Peer feedback: Team members can leave comments in courses and give feedback to authors, creating a feedback loop that leads to continuous content improvements and a solid knowledge base.

5. Use microlearning to make customer training easy to digest

Your training content could be amazing, but if each course takes hours to complete or isn’t relevant to the customer’s pain point, you will be left with disengaged customers and incomplete courses. With the microlearning method, you create training in digestible chunks—under 10 minutes—that make learning in the flow of work easy. Your customers can immediately apply the training to their tasks and are more likely to remember what they learned. 

Microlearning bolsters knowledge retention by at least 50%, giving customers time to reflect and absorb the information. If you throw too much information at customers all at once, they will forget to apply it when needed. Unfortunately, that leads to confusion and frustration with your product, putting them at risk of churning and looking for an easier tool. 

Customers need time to learn a new product. But they don’t have to learn it all at once. Microlearning in the form of short videos, quizzes, quick courses, and tutorials can capture their attention right away, getting them engaged faster and letting them go deeper into just one aspect of your product at a time. Despite its name, microlearning actually encourages customers to spend more time learning about your product. They just do it one task at a time.

But that’s not all. While quick product feature videos get straight to the point, real-life examples or case studies of successful customers can reinforce the value of your product or specific features. A quick video of a happy customer based on the success they had with your product can bring you more referrals. 

Microlearning also gives you opportunities to share industry knowledge and bring customers up to speed on trends through mini-courses that they know will be quick and useful. Micro courses also take less time to update and refresh, especially as you scale, making it the ideal method to deliver customer training.

When you provide well-rounded customer training through microlearning, you build a relationship of trust and accountability, where customers know they can count on you to learn. And, as you scale, solid customer relationships become the bedrock on which your business grows.

6. Adopt a mobile learning solution for anytime, anywhere training

If your business operates in the US, most of your customers are likely to be millennials or Gen Z who are used to learning on their mobile devices. Plus, learners may not be tied to their desks all day long, but their mobile devices are always at hand. This makes mobile learning a clear winner for delivering customer training that gets viewed and completed.

Especially as growing companies scale, it becomes difficult to schedule customer training for different teams at different times. Mobile learning makes it easy to provide asynchronous training based on customer pain points and suggest relevant courses. Plus, mobile tutorials are easy to go back to, whether your customer is on a train or waiting for their turn at the dentist.

7. Gamify customer training to make it fun and interactive

Even as they’re learning how to use a product or solve a problem, your customers want to have fun. Gamify your customer training to get them hooked and coming back for more. 

Game elements like leaderboards, gameplay, quizzes, certifications, and ranks make training entertaining, visual, and instantly gratifying—that’s a learning experience your customers will find rewarding and motivating. When learners see ranks and levels displayed on a leaderboard, the recognition motivates them to compete and do even better. Gamification works best as part of a holistic customer training strategy that has a good mix of gamified elements and regular tutorials.

When learners see ranks and levels displayed on a leaderboard, the recognition motivates them to compete and do even better.

8. Lean on blended learning to make training convenient

A blended learning approach makes training available in synchronous and asynchronous forms. Customers sometimes need a face-to-face learning environment, whether it’s a real-time discussion or a live training session. But often, they prefer to work through course material at their own pace, focusing on the aspects that are most relevant to their roles and responsibilities. 

Self-paced learning is especially well-suited for remote workplaces, where customers may be working in different time zones and locations. With a blended learning mix, customers can work on flexible schedules, leading to higher engagement and better learning outcomes.

9. Promote your training programs to boost completion rates

No matter how amazing your customer training program is, it’s pointless if you don’t promote it, especially if customers are still facing knowledge gaps. Focus your marketing efforts on showing customers what your training modules will help them achieve. After all, they are looking for the results from the training, not the training itself. 

With an LMS that offers an e-commerce integration, customers can browse through training catalogs and purchase the courses they find most relevant, opening up a new revenue stream for you and giving them a great user experience, no matter what kind of e-commerce model you operate. In addition, as you scale your business, you can use social media and email drip campaigns, offer training bundles, or build a certification program to encourage customers to sign up. 

And with a tool like 360Learning, you can customize training courses with your brand assets to provide a training experience that’s comfortable and familiar while also reinforcing your brand to the customer.

Measure results from customer training to stay on track

The return on investment (ROI) of training programs is the most telling indicator of whether your courses are successful. Without this visibility, your training efforts are wasted, and you don’t have clear next steps. Clear metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) like time-to-value, customer satisfaction scores (CSAT), training engagement, renewals, and upsells ensure that you are reaping the benefits of customer training—attracting new customers and retaining existing customers.