Customer education refers to teaching your customers how to use your product or service and conveying your product’s value. It is a continuous process that aims to equip your customer with the correct information at the right time, either in person or on demand. Customer education is also known as customer training.
Passive learning is when the customer learns already created and presented content. There is less interaction with the customer, and the learning is primarily one-sided. On-demand videos, guides, and manuals help customers learn passively.
Active learning is when the customer gets to learn by interacting for example, through product tours or in app-guides tours. This learning is targeted towards actions the customer would take on the product and helps the learner apply what they learn immediately. Active learning might include group or one-on-one training sessions.
Customer training and customer education are used invariably. However, both terms have been associated with educational content or courses that help teach customers how to use the product. But this cannot be far from the truth.
The ultimate goal of training or educating a customer is to enable them to use a product to the fullest, gain value from it, and retain them in the long run. It does not restrict itself to courses or academies.
Customer education is about omni-channel and omni-content approaches to educating your customers in the best possible way for their advantage.
Training your customers is called customer education and is vital to help your users understand the critical components of your product or service. Customer education is a continuous process that starts pre-sales, where sales teams head it, and then moves on to post-sales, owned by customer success.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the types of customer education programs that are available for SaaS businesses. One can use anything from in-app cues to video tutorials of the product. You should choose the type of content that works best for your product and that which works to bring the best of your product features.
Customer education teams create and deliver educational material to help customers use the product effectively. They work in tandem with sales, finance, customer support, and success and sync their activities to aid these teams in providing a seamless customer experience. Their primary function is to analyze customer needs and create relevant training materials.
One of the most common formats of customer education is through text/written material. It is helpful for companies starting their customer education journey with less access to resources; they can repurpose their existing content to help their customers.
Customer education through text is primarily hosted on the company’s website in the form of solution articles or documentation, with the help of Content Management Systems (CMS) in the help center. The support documentation can also be presented in the form of blogs.
This is a newer, less time-consuming way to create documentation. With applications running on the system, one can manually record any process to generate step-by-step guides.
It involves one walking through the process as they would typically do, as a software for this particular purpose runs in the background. At the end of the recording, the application would automatically create a written guide with pictures for ease which can be shared with everyone.
New ways to support customer needs have risen as the tech landscape shifts. Despite being educational, videos are underutilized in SaaS for customer education. There are many types of videos, such as short-form, long-form, on-demand, live, interactive, and so on, which convey the message of your product in a much more concise way.
The marketing funnel depicts the level of education a customer has in proximity to their purchasing decision. The funnel's breadth and width represent the broadness of the content shared at the different touchpoints.
Videos blend visuals and audio to convey the message of your product more effectively. A video marketing funnel splits educational video content into three parts.
Top-of-the-funnel videos are designed to pull users into the funnel.
Middle-of-the-funnel videos aim to warm your users, showing how your product applies to their problems. This primarily refers to walkthrough videos.
Bottom-of-the-funnel videos are in-depth product videos for customers ready to use your product. This type of video refers to how-to videos that explain the product in detail to someone ready to hit the floor running. Product training videos are in-depth but can vary between middle-of-the-funnel and bottom-of-the-funnel based on the company and the product’s complexity.
Setting up a video marketing funnel also helps ease the users into customer education from onboarding.
A product tour or a product walk-through video showcases the product in action by using all the tool's features to their full potential to show the scope of the product. It is not customized like the product training videos but provides a general product overview.
‘How-to’ videos are similar to product training videos. They are instructional videos that help guide the new user or an existing user across a new feature/ product. This is an easier way to educate the user automatically with less human interaction.
Product training videos help teach the customers about your product and its real-time application. They are learning videos that can vary from lengthy long-form videos to short knowledge bytes. They aim to create a good customer experience by educating users about their required core features.
Product tours are cues to guide new users through your product features within the page. They are more like tooltips that aim to show the users how to get the best out of your product based on their needs and directly fuel product adoption. It delves deeper into how the user can make the most of each UI on the page. They are in-app and work to support the existing user experience aiding with onboarding.
Most product tours are self-guided and interactive.
As the name suggests, it is a step-by-step interactive walkthrough given to the user to perform an action. It is a tech-touch onboarding approach that helps cut down the learning time spent on the product.
Contrary to product tours which focus on moving customers toward activation, interactive product demos or product tutorials focus on moving potential customers toward sign-ups. This is done by walking the user through the product’s key features tailored toward the user’s issues.
These guided workflows come up earlier in the customer lifecycle. An interactive demo is not a full demo but rather one that highlights only the essential features. This helps your customers get a taste of the product before they decide and do it alone without any additional help.
A Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) is a no-code software that seamlessly integrates with any software and provides an intuitive learning experience for the customers. It involves in-app elements like tooltips, lists, smart tips, cues, etc., that help onboard, engage, and adopt the application for an easy transition.
An onboarding checklist combines all the in-app interactive elements of customer education adopted by SaaS companies. They keep a track of the critical tasks that need to be done for the customer to be onboard successfully as a user.
An omnichannel is a robust multi-channel approach that provides different experiences based on user needs. This approach utilizes all the available mediums for educating your customers and helps tailor their learning to provide a seamless customer experience. Every business in today’s world needs to optimize the different touch points it has with its customers.
Embedded integrations require the help of developers to adapt to the product. These third-party apps can be customized and branded and work in a plug-and-play system without writing entire codes from scratch.
A widget is a compressed plug-and-play version of a software application. They can be integrated without the help of developers onto an existing tech stack. Widgets are most commonly used when it comes to support and chat.
A knowledge base is a self-serve library of all the resources in various formats about the product on various topics that help the customers troubleshoot their problems independently. These are mostly help documents and are detail-rich, making them bottom-of-the-funnel customer education content.
A customer education academy aims to educate your customers to use your product to the best possible extent. It consists of structured learning programs that are used to train a magnitude of users at the same time. It helps your customers in their personal development and achieving their business goals, acting as a one-stop place for your product’s intelligence.
SCORM stands for Shareable Content Object Reference Model. It is a set of standards for e-learning products that dictate how to write code so that e-learning content and LMS platforms can work harmoniously.
You can read more about SCORM on their official website.
Customer onboarding is the initial stage of introducing your product to the new user. It is the step-by-step process in which a new user is set up to start using your product. But onboarding doesn't end here. In many cases, the first successful usage of your product by the user directly correlates to the success of your onboarding process.
When onboarding is done right, the user reaches their first aha moment with your product within a couple of clicks and goes on to become ardent fans of your product. It sets the tone for future customer engagement.
Product adoption is when the user is entirely aware of your product offerings that match their need, truly understands the value addition that your product brings, and starts using it. According to Intercom, the process can be broken down into awareness, interest, evaluation, and conversion, wherein your product wins over your user with its solutions.
Product adoption is a two-faced coin that considers the value it gives the new users and the continuous value your product brings to the existing users.
Product adoption is the measure of your users adopting your product. When your product gets ingrained in your users' systems, it invariably leads to a steady MRR and good bottom-line figures. Many metrics decide your product adoption. Based on the need of your company and the stage it is at, you can choose the one that makes more sense to you.
There are multiple ways to onboard a user. High-touch onboarding is an approach where the human plays the central role. It is a white-glove treatment where the user is supported throughout the pre and post-sales process. It is mainly used for products that need to be custom-fit into existing tech stacks and require more effort.
Low-touch onboarding is the other end of the spectrum, with minimal human interaction. It is mainly self-serve in nature, where the users are given all the resources in the form of educational videos and guides to hit the floor running. But this is not to say that there is no human involvement. In a low-touch onboarding, the user can get help from customer support whenever needed.
Tech-touch onboarding is similar to low-touch onboarding but uses more digital automation to onboard the user. This approach saves time in scaling companies and companies with limited resources to spare on onboarding. Tech-touch is a targeted approach without any human interaction.
Customer churn refers to the customers who have stopped purchases with your product or service. They are no longer your customers. Churn can be detrimental as it directly affects the bottom line. Understanding the metrics that affect churn is essential as delving deeper into customer data to predict churn.
Churn can be calculated by dividing the customers lost in a period of time by the total number of customers at the start of that period. Successful product adoption can fight against churn.
Customer health score helps organizations understand whether a customer plans to stay, grow, or leave your brand. It involves a scoring system that uses color codes to depict who is at risk and who is a star user. The scoring is tailored according to the objectives of the company.
Customer success teams will likely use this metric to decide their activities and responses to retain customers and make them power users.
Net Revenue Retention (NRR) is the percentage of recurring revenue retained from existing customers over a period of time. NRR is exclusively for existing customers and includes upgrades, downgrades, and churn, depicting the potential for growth of a company based on its current user base. This metric helps to understand if your business is meeting evolving customer needs.
Activation is when the user has achieved a particular onboarding milestone. User activation metrics vary from one business to another. It denotes your customer's first ‘aha’ moment in whatever context it applies to your business.
The activation rate can be measured by dividing the number of users who have reached your crucial product milestone by the total number of users who have signed up or started their product journey along them.