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Start small: How customer education teams can scale up their metric use

Written by Julia Borgini

Published on February 13, 2018

Data analytics at any scale is intimidating, especially to customer education teams who aren't used to looking at numbers. There are so many pieces of data available that it's hard to know where to start.

Like with any new thing, if you start small and learn to master it before moving on to the next thing, it becomes easier. If your management team just said to you, "All right, customer education, it's time to get on the analytics bandwagon" you're in the right place.

Let's take a look at how customer education can start small with metrics and then scale up their analysis slowly to be useful and valuable.

Getting started with metrics

1. Start with a metric that drives a business goal

Since the goal of using metrics is to see how you're progressing towards a stated goal, it'll be easier to work with a metric that ultimately helps your company drive towards that goal. Software companies have many goals they can pursue, including revenue growth, increased margins, user growth, decreased monthly churn, lower support costs, speed up product development, and more.

2. Gather the metric information on a regular basis

Once you've decided on the metric to start with, it's time to gather the data. Is this data tracked automatically by one of your software systems? Or is it gathered manually by a certain department or team?

Regardless of how it's gathered, get on the mailing list or start looking at the reports in your business intelligence (BI) software dashboard. You'll want to get familiar with the numbers, information, and format so you can analyze it more easily in the future.

3. Understand how the metric drives the business goal

After you get used to the metric and the data it provides, it's time to understand how it drives the business goal. After all, the purpose of gathering metrics and analyzing them is to gain insights to use for future business decisions, whatever they may be.

For example, lengthy onboarding times may lead to lower monthly revenues because new customers are taking longer than anticipated to start using your software to the fullest. Lower support call numbers may mean the latest software release was free of bugs and didn't cause any issues with previous versions of the software.

4. Understand how customer education can affect the metric

As we've said before, customer education isn't just for new customers any more. Training programs can be used at all times in the customer relationship and be the foundation for educational content sent out by a variety of teams at your company (like sales and marketing).

By choosing a business-driving metric as your starting point, you'll have a better idea of how customer education can influence business growth. For example, a growth metric like sales revenue is impacted directly by the "newness" of the product you're selling, so you may want to produce more training programs to help educate the market on the product.

5. Gather the results of customer education's influence on the metric

Finally, we're at the stage where you need to gather and analyze the results of customer education's influence on the metric you've chosen. Has it caused the numbers to go up? Down? Why is that?

Formalizing and scaling your metric usage

Okay, now that we've gone over the general steps for customer education pros to get started with metrics, it's time to formalize the process. This way any CE team member can understand how to use the metric, understand how their work can affect the metric, and actually gather and/or analyze the numbers.

Once you're comfortable with the process and the idea of using metrics to guide your CE work, add in another business-drive metric to the mix. Track, gather, and analyze the results of the new metric and its impact to CE and how CE impacts it. Continue the process with as many metrics as you wish to track.

Who's ready to start measuring?

Metrics play an important role in today's data-driven economy, so it's time for customer education pros to get comfortable with them too. Understanding what's out there, how CE can use metrics to drive their own work, and discovering CE's impact on overall business growth are important activities for any customer education pro.

What metrics did you start looking at first? Share in the comments and tell us how you incorporated them into your CE journeys.

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