If your company runs customer on-boarding or professional services engagements through customer success or professional services teams, you need to build a software training course about how to implement your software immediately. Chances are you do not have a course like this, and it could be one of the quickest wins you have all year. Here's why. For starters, a course like this is outcome-focused, and the outcome is a successful implementation. Second, a "How to Implement" course is a new product, with a new price level, targeted at a new customer segment. Third, since your company already has an implementation process, and runs it with customers every day, creating the course will not be very much work. You already have the content.
Fender has an adoption problem. Here are the stats. As reported in The Verge, ten years ago, 1.5 million electric guitars were sold. Today, it is down to one million. That's bad, but it gets worse. Fender discovered that 90% of all new guitar players quit in the first 12 months of purchasing a guitar. If you were thinking of going to the guitar business and saw those numbers, you would open up an online bookstore, figuring you'd have a better chance competing against Amazon.
The customer journey is important to so many different departments in your organization. Each team may base their activities and goals on a particular segment of the customer journey, and customer education teams are no different. But that can only happen if you've mapped the customer journey. Many companies haven't, or they've only done a portion of the journey. TSIA did some research and found that mapping the customer journey was one of four key practices that lead to high renewal and expansion rates.
There's been a lot of talk about repurposing lately and how you can turn any piece of content into something else. (I've even talked about it on this blog!) For the most part the notion of repurposing is confined to marketing content; but what about customer education content? Is there a way you can repurpose it so marketing can use it? Put another way, can customer education content help marketing be more effective at generating awareness and well, educating prospects and leads?
If you look back through our blog posts in October, you will notice a theme about building new customer education team capabilities and individual skills. In this final blog of October, I want to introduce a new capability that I think will be the number one most critical capability customer education professionals will develop to set themselves apart from other leaders in the organization. That capability is to implement jobs-to-be-done theory in everything customer education does.
Sarah Sproehnle was Cloudera Employee #20, so she's seen the company through a lot of interesting times. From when it was just a small start-up to its new IPO state, Sarah's seen it all. While initially hired to build a training organization, Sarah is now the VP of Customer Success. She brought the idea of having a formal CS department to Tom Reilly, the CEO of Cloudera, since she knew it would help the company achieve some of the overall business goals they were working on.
If your customer education team is regularly missing deadlines, never gets to the end of their To Do list, and is producing lower quality work because they're so overworked, it might be time for a new hire. Overworked employees are stressed employees, a combination that usually results in less productivity, increased loss time in sick days, and less profits for your company. A new hire (or two or three) will help alleviate the workload, boost morale among your existing customer education team, and help get your team back on track.
But before you can start interviewing people for that help, you have to convince upper management. They'll want to see a business case for that new hire that shows how an additional employee will lead to bigger profits. Here's how you can do that.
I do not have scientific evidence to support this claim, but I argue that customer education teams at fast-growing SaaS companies produce as much, or more, content than any other team. And this is saying a lot when you consider that content is usually produced by marketing, communications, product, and sales enablement teams. Not only does customer education produce a large volume of content, the content it creates is likely to be the most useful for buyers of your product compared to other content your company produces.
Working at a tech company, you need to hire people with specific skills that will help you grow and evolve the company and its products. Software companies have a particular rhythm and culture that not everyone can deal with. Add in the experience and skills you need as an instructional designer or learning experience designer and finding the right people can be a challenge.
So, what are the top skills and competencies to look for when hiring a learning designer in a fast-paced tech company?
I am always surprised when I hear from customer education professionals that the customer education function does not get the respect it deserves. I believe it is quite the opposite. So much so, that I believe education is not only a vital and strategic operation at a technology company, but a function from which it's leaders can take a career path to many other functions in the business.