As companies collect more data, they're continually looking for ways to communicate that information to people in a way that's engaging and informative. It's something that we're not good at because it's hard to do. That's where storytelling comes in. Humans have used storytelling to entertain, but more importantly, to teach and learn. Even today, storytelling is still one of the best ways to communicate with employees and customers alike. So those who can weave a good story with data will be more successful at delivering that information to readers.
I just spent the day with a software company in a private workshop to help them design their customer education strategy. I love facilitating these workshops for two reasons. First, I learn a ton about how different software companies think about educating customers. Second, I find it highly rewarding to help a team go through a journey of discovering what is possible in helping customers and making a direct contribution to the overall company goals. These “light bulb” moments build on each other, and by the end of the workshop, the teams I work with have a three to five year vision of where they are headed and a clear plan of action for what they need to accomplish in the next two quarters.
With the rise of the customer success philosophy, companies are spending even more on corporate training. They know well-trained customers use their products more, get more engaged, and are most likely to remain loyal. That's why it's important to measure the effectiveness of your training, to ensure that they're learning as much as they can, and can use what they learn.
Recently, Bill Cushard, ServiceRocket's Director of Marketing and a Customer Success strategist, was a guest on a webinar hosted by ClientSuccess, talking about customer education (CE) strategies. Bill is a strong advocate for CE strategies because they help CE professionals be proactive in their work, and help them avoid simply reacting to customer requests for training or mandates from "on high."
How do you price your customer education (CE) programs? Do you have a strategy you use to assess the value of the program, the cost of the delivery method, and market competition?
Many software companies treat training as an afterthought, only selling enough of it to get customers up and running. They're missing out on the competitive advantage that training gives them. Instead of using it as an add-on, why not use it to stand out from the crowd?
"How should I promote my training?" That is the main question I get asked when I talk to customers and one of the biggest pain points I am seeing in the customer education world.
What is strategy? A quick dictionary search on Merriam-Webster shows it can mean "a careful plan or method" and "the art of devising or employing plans toward a goal". In sports or war, strategies are pretty clear, because no matter what changes during the course of the event, the end goal is the same: to win. In business it's not so clear; in Customer Education (CE) it becomes even murkier.
When it comes to our customer education strategies, most of us are in reaction mode. This can get us into trouble because we make promises that are difficult to keep, work quality can suffer, and we could very easily neglect existing customers. The only way to avoid getting caught up in reaction mode is to proactively develop a customer education strategy that is aligned with the most important goals of the business. Only when we focus our efforts on what is most important, do we move the business forward.
Topics: Customer Education
If the main goal of your company is 'growth' right now, whether that's growing revenue or customers, did you know that a customer education strategy could help with that? Marketing and education colleagues are probably already working together to promote their education programs and to create new ones to support future marketing campaigns. But what else could these two teams learn from each other to promote company growth?