Customer education plays a crucial role in Customer Success. Training metrics can be a powerful driver of business outcomes because they can be used by and influence all departments in your organization: customer success, sales, marketing, finance, professional services, support, and more.
Training metrics show that the investment your company has made in training results in outcomes that make the activity worthwhile. Whether that's a clear line to revenue or increased website traffic or a more engaged customer community, training metrics show the impact to the entire company.
Preparing Training Metrics for Business Teams
Aligning your education metrics to business goals is crucial. Here's how you can get your customer education metrics ready for their business spotlight.
1. Gather Your Training Metrics
It starts with you gathering your training metrics to ensure you have them, you know where they are, and what they mean. Search through all of your file shares, cloud storage, and training software to find it all. (This may also lead you to the realization you need a better way to solicit and collate the metrics in the future, but for now, gather what you have.) For example:
Use Salesforce to find out the number of training programs purchased or given away or the number of training credits purchased.
Pull out the training KPIs you're tracking through your LMS integration with a business intelligence tool like GoodData. KPIs you may be tracking include number of training resources available in a given time period, the amount of new training created versus the amount of current training updated, and the number of training programs you've matched to business goals like increased sales.
2. Locate Customer Behavior Metrics
Your company probably has a lot of customer behavior metrics because much of it is already gathered by various software solutions your company probably already uses: customer relationship management (CRM) software, sales enablement software, and other online tools like heat map trackers and website statistics. Much of this information is used to drive core business operations.
Here are some of the commonly monitored metrics of customer behavior:
Support calls and/or incident ticket volume
Product satisfaction scores
Website heat map tracking
Website traffic: clicks, visits, bounce rate, etc.
Social media tracking of product mentions, support requests, other questions
3. Map Education Metrics to Customer Behavior
Now it's time to map your education metrics to customer behaviors. This is always a challenge for education pros, especially if this is the first time you're venturing out into the customer behavior world.
You may find it helpful to break down any of your metrics into more manageable and obvious data points that are more easily mapped to behavior. For example, look at the individuals who have taken training and break down their profile information (job title, department name, organizational level). Match this information with the customer behavior metrics you have to create a training + business team metric. You'll start to notice some patterns that will help you determine the level of impact customer education has on customer behavior.
Here's a real-world example: "Among customers who completed on-boarding training (versus those who did not), what are the differences in their overall spending, repeat purchases, support call volumes, and other key business metrics?"
4. Match Education Metrics to Business Goals
Now that you understand how training metrics map to customer behavior, it's time to match them to your company's business goals. By looking at each business goal, you should see a clear through line to a customer behavior and then your education metrics. The business goals drive your actions, so by matching up the goal to the behavior to the education metric, you'll see how you're measuring up.
Increase retention rates for the fiscal year.
Customer spending rates on education programs in the fiscal year.
Number of customers who completed on-boarding education programs AND increased/decreased customer spending in the fiscal year.
Reduce incident management and/or customer support targets.
Customer requests for customized education programs.
1) Number of customized education programs created.
2) Number of customers who completed customized education programs AND reduced their incident management rates and/or customer support call volume.
5. Create a process to formalize analyzing and improving metrics
Documenting the process you use to gather and analyze the metrics will make the work easier to do on a regular basis. This helps you maintain the education metrics in a ready state for other business teams that may need it. It also helps you optimize your activities as business goals change throughout the year, or if a business team requests specific training metrics for their own reporting. Being flexible and agile is critical here.
6. Share the Metrics Analysis with Customer Success and Executive Teams
Not only do you need a formal, documented process for this gathering and analysis, you also need to share the information regularly with customer success teams. Customer Success teams should ideally be plugged into the other business teams at your company so they can help spread your training information to the other business teams, as well as generally just foster the exchange of information between everyone. However, in most cases, the responsibility falls to each team to do that. At the very least, Customer Success can work together with Training to ensure that business teams understand the metrics that training is gathering and sharing, as well as help training gather the information they need from the business teams to help in the overall analysis.
Sharing metrics and analysis with cross-functional teams can help drive positive business outcomes for your business. Everyone can use the information to help shape their programs and work, as well as see tangible results for their work. Training teams may have good visibility into the effectiveness of their education programs however, may miss out on how their work affects and drives the broader company goals everyone's striving for. By matching up their training metrics with business metrics that already exist, they'll have a better idea of how they're affecting the company's bottom line and can better demonstrate the return on investment in training.