Before you even think about developing a customer education strategy, you must begin with a goal. It sounds simple enough, but too often, people who lead efforts to develop software training programs for customers just start developing a strategy, or worse, just start training customers on product features, without a clear vision for why education is necessary in the first place.
When your customers say your training is ineffective or you see from reports that product use does not increase following an education intervention, one of the questions you should ask yourself is, "Are we helping customers understand the context for why our product exists and why they need to learn it?" One major problem with software education is that it is focused primarily on helping people learn features. Learning features without understanding basic concepts and without understanding "why" will often leave people bewildered about how to use the software.
(Photo credit: Maurizio Pesce)
In May 2017, we co-located our Business of Customer Education Conference (BOCE) at the Gainsight Pulse Customer Success Conference. The session audio was recorded, and we wanted to make them available. We had speakers from Workplace by Facebook, Atlassian, Gainsight, Cloudera, MuleSoft, Couchbase, and ServiceRocket, each of which shared their stories for how customer education plays a role in customer success. Below is a brief recap of each session and a link to the audio recording.
I know what you're thinking. Or at least I know what your management team is asking you to think and then do.
One of the biggest mistakes I see made in hand-on training activities is a lack of clear instructions for what to do in the activity. How many times have you been in a training course, the trainers says, “OK. Now you try it.” Most of the class looks up and says, “Wait. What do you want us to do?”