puppy on ipad representing saas customer enablement
Training & Learning

What is Customer Enablement and 5 Best Practices for SaaS Customers

The correlation between customer success and product adoption is undeniable—in a recent survey, 89% of businesses that report a “significantly above average” user experience see better business results than their competitors.

That’s where customer enablement comes in, so you can help your customers find value quickly in your product or service. 

Customer enablement is like a fast-track ticket to an incredible customer experience. It’s all about offering ongoing educational experiences plus high-caliber support from your customer success team. When done right, customer enablement becomes a comprehensive strategy that helps customers find value in your product throughout their entire lifecycle—not just during initial customer onboarding. 

Why do B2B and SaaS companies need customer enablement? 

When you hear the term “enablement,” you probably think of sales enablement. But that is an internal process to ensure sales teams are properly equipped to sell a product or service to potential new customers. 

Customer enablement is similar, in that the goal is preparation, but it’s a customer-facing process. The idea here is that customers who are enabled to use your product are empowered to stick with it—and that empowerment increases customer retention and has positive effects on your business.

93% of consumers agree that a positive customer experience makes them more likely to make another purchase. Happy customers are also more likely to give companies a little grace if something does go wrong: 78% are willing to stick with a company that makes a mistake if they provide excellent customer service. These benefits increase the likelihood that a customer will become loyal to your brand and advocate on your behalf to their friends and family—which is great news for any growing company. 

Clearly, customer enablement is a useful tool for giving customers positive experiences, but it also helps customer success teams deliver what customers want, like the 81% who want more self-service options. In the long term, customer enablement frees up your customer success managers to focus on the complex, specific needs of customers who are loyal users of your product.  

new client onboarding cheatsheet

5 simple steps to stronger client relationships

5 best practices for your customer enablement strategy 

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to customer enablement—what works for one SaaS company might be completely wrong for yours. But we’ve seen five best practices that continuously yield positive results for organizations of all sizes and industries.  

Use any of these five ideas alone, together, or in combination with your own practices to build an effective customer enablement plan tailored to your product and customers.

1. Build collaborative learning experiences to reinforce knowledge

Customer enablement is more successful when it's collaborative. 

For example, SaaS company INES CRM plans to see massive business returns, thanks to collaborative interactions between their clients and INES experts, like forums, groups, and news feeds. As a result, the company expects a 20% decrease in churn and 1,000 customer support hours saved. 

Collaborative learning experiences also present an opportunity to build customer communities where customers can gather and share feedback, help each other out with issues, and deepen their understanding of your product. 

Look for a learning management system (LMS) with a focus on collaboration and peer-to-peer features, including: 

  • Leaderboards for fostering a little healthy competition among customers 
  • Awards and badges for motivating customers to keep learning
  • Discussion forums for connecting customers who want self-service 
Comprehensive LMS platforms offer features like in-course forums for learners to discuss and engage

2. Tap into microlearning to engage customers

Microlearning happens when learners (in this case, your customers) engage in training materials that offer bite-sized chunks of content. And it doesn’t have to be complicated in order to work. Actually, the less complicated, the better.

Microlearning takes place in a variety of formats, including videos, podcasts, infographics, webinars, interactive lessons and quizzes, and e-games.

We usually talk about the benefits of microlearning in the workplace. But when it comes to making learning more accessible, the same principles apply to customer education and enablement. 

Microlearning works because of a process called consolidation—when short-term memories are transformed into long-lasting ones. When we use microlearning to learn something new, our brains are better able to focus on a short lesson before competing stimuli distract us (like incoming emails or text messages).

Here are a few ideas for building microlearning into your customer enablement plan:

  • Build a curated playlist of short videos on YouTube for customers to watch on their own time. 
  • Offer short webinars on specific advanced features or common troubleshooting challenges faced by customers. 
  • Create lessons that are short, sweet, and optimized for mobile learning.  

We recommend keeping all microlearning lessons under 10 minutes. This way, anyone can learn about your product while they’re on the go, in the flow of work, or between other activities.   

3. Keep learning materials up-to-date via course authoring

On average, it takes 80 hours to build a 30-minute course. That’s a lot of time where you and your team could be communicating with customers. 

By using a course authoring tool, you can build courses, microlessons, and other training materials with easy, no-code, or drag-and-drop features. 

Beyond just saving time, authoring tools can help you scale your customer enablement program in other ways:   

  • Ensure that learning materials are never out of date. Edit individual modules as soon as they need updating instead of waiting to revisit entire lessons. 
  • Allow anyone on the team to create educational content. Customer enablement is a team effort, so it shouldn't fall to one department. Set permissions, so team members have the access they need while keeping your data and knowledge secure.
  • Create content that’s iterative. A tool that allows you to turn your modules into templates will save you from reinventing the wheel each time you need to build a lesson.

As a bonus, most modern course authoring tools have technical standards and specifications, like SCORM compliance, built-in. Customer education lessons that are compliant with SCORM can be shared between different training courses and across learning platforms. That means your content will always be accessible—even if you change to a new LMS or decide to make it public for paid certification, like on Coursera or other third-party platforms. 

4. Make customer support easy

Bad customer service isn’t just frustrating; it’s also a major reason for customer churn. About 73% of customers abandon a brand if they have up to three negative experiences. 

Luckily, modern consumers are self-directed learners who want to solve problems themselves. That means the best way to avoid bad customer service is to make help easily accessible for some of your company’s most common customer support interactions: 

  • Keep a curated video playlist somewhere that’s easily accessible, like your website, learning management platform, or video host.
  • Offer a knowledge base or learning library chock-full of helpful articles, lists, and guides.
  • Build an FAQ, so customers can quickly find answers to the questions you know they’ll have.   

Inevitably, customers may come across problems that require more hands-on support. For those moments, make sure customers know where to go to get in touch and go beyond a “Contact Us” form on your website.

  • If a customer is on your FAQ but can’t find an answer to their question, offer an automation that connects them with a customer success representative. This can look like a live chat or a callback option, which can be built using various contact center as a service software.
  • As soon as someone buys your product, send them a welcome email with your customer success team’s contact information. Here’s a handy checklist for stellar new client onboarding.

The bottom line: You want to provide help to your customers the moment it’s needed and in the way they prefer. 

73% of customers abandon a brand if they have up to three negative experiences. 

5. Ask for feedback throughout the customer journey 

To get customers to use your product faster, they need to understand it. So your learning materials need to be up-to-date, engaging, and relevant. 

That’s why it's crucial to collect customer feedback about the learning experience. These valuable insights help you refine and optimize your content over time. 

We’re all familiar with the Net Promoter Score (NPS), usually found in a generic wrap-up note or email signature that asks: “How likely are you to recommend this product to a friend or family?” on a scale of 1-10. 

There’s nothing wrong with NPS as a measure of customer loyalty, but it doesn’t go deep enough to help you understand the quality of your enablement programs. 

That’s because customers can only share the likelihood that they will recommend your product, not how well they understand or how often they use your product. If you only rely on NPS, you’re missing insights into challenges, troubleshooting issues, or out-of-date content. Similarly, you also aren’t able to discover what they loved about your content or your product. 

An example of the Reactions feature on the 360Learning platform to gather learner feedback
An example of the Reactions feature on the 360Learning platform to gather learner feedback

How can you get higher-quality feedback on your learning content? 

  • Allow learners to leave feedback directly in the lessons, so they can flag any issues immediately. 
  • Use reactions and relevance metrics. 360Learning uses a relevance tool that lets learners declare if a lesson works for them or not. Then it prompts the learner to explain why. That feedback gets sent directly to the workspace admin. 
  • Build discussion forums for all learners to contribute to. Customer enablement teams can hop in any time a particularly difficult issue is discussed.

Support your customer enablement team with a collaborative learning tool

A collaborative learning tool like 360Learning has the most important features you need—like course authoring, microlearning, and feedback portals—built right in. That way, you stay organized and never lose sight of your customers’ goals. Want to find out how 360Learning can make your customer enablement team's lives easier? Schedule your free demo below. 

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