What is Customer Training and How It Can Help You Drive SaaS Product Growth
How effective is your customer training strategy?
The answer is always in the numbers. Properly educated customers will engage more with your product and are most likely to become loyal. If you’re not seeing much of that, then chances are you need to educate customers more.
This is beyond the basic onboarding that everyone does. Read along to learn what customer training means, the best practices, and the tools you need to succeed.
- Customer training is the process of educating your customers on successfully using your product and achieving their goals with it.
- End user training, as it’s alternatively called, increases your engagement and helps you retain customers more.
- Better brand loyalty and more upsell opportunities are also benefits you’ll enjoy.
- Making the upfront investment in customer training reduces the workload on your support agents, saving costs in the long run.
- Primary types of customer training content: contextual in-app guidance, self-serve educational resources, and live training.
- Because you have different use cases for your product, it doesn’t make sense to use the same training for all customers. Segment your users and provide personalized training instead.
- Great customer training doesn’t end with the initial onboarding. It’s a continuous process throughout the customer journey.
- Localization increases your reach and makes content more accessible to users. If you can, try having your training materials in your users’ local languages—at least the major ones.
- Don’t use text alone for your in-app tutorials or knowledge base content. Mix it with visuals (videos, infographics, etc.).
- Adding gamification to your learning materials provides users with extra motivation to complete training.
- Always measure the success of your customer education program to know what to do better next time. Important KPIs to track include retention rate, upsells, LTV, and customer satisfaction score.
- Customer training examples: Hubspot’s training & certification academy and Kommunicate’s in-app customer training. (Details in the article).
- Some of the best tools on the market for customer training are Userpilot and TalentLMS.
What is customer training?
Customer training is the process of educating your customers on how to use your product so that they get the maximum benefit from it.
Customer training programs are most commonly found in the tech industry, particularly SaaS, because of the complexity of these products.
A training program can cover everything from onboarding to helping your customers become power users. The ultimate goal of customer training is to improve customer experience and increase customer retention at every stage of the customer lifecycle.
Customer training can be delivered in a variety of ways; it can be self-paced or guided, video-based or text-based, and can include gamification or graphics.
What are the benefits of customer training?
If you’ve been in HR or the learning management space, you’ll probably be familiar with the advantages of employee training—more efficiency, increased performance, better ROI, etc. Do these apply to customer training as well?
Yes, they do. Customer training can reduce the burden on your support team. It can also increase retention, customer loyalty, user satisfaction, etc. Let’s go over the advantages in detail.
Increases engagement with your product
Without prior training, customers will struggle to familiarize themselves with your tool. Some of them will give up on difficult features as a result. However, customer training guides customers through the product. They’ll instantly see how it adds value to their lives and certainly engage more.
Higher customer retention and lower churn
Training removes friction and helps customers find their way around the product. They’ll get value for their money, and you’re more likely to retain them for long compared to customers that weren’t properly educated.
Builds customer loyalty and increases word-of-mouth advertising
Imagine you signed up for a new product and received training that doesn’t just show you around the app but helps you grow professionally. How likely are you to recommend that tool to people in your network?
Most SaaS users may even share the experience on social media.
That’s the power of customer training. While not all your customers will publicly share the news, many will talk about you in private conversations. Before you know it, you’ve started building customer loyalty from the first few encounters the customer has with you.
More upsell opportunities
As already mentioned, customer training shows the user the inherent value of your product and boosts customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers are emotionally connected to your product and are more likely to upgrade or buy additional features.
Reduced customer support tickets and costs
Thanks to product education, users can resolve most of the basic issues on their own, which saves your customer support team time and allows them to focus on more advanced cases.
What are the primary types of customer training content?
You can be creative as you want with customer training—you know your audience best. Getting familiar with the major types of customer training content will give you enough options to decide the best channel to use. Let’s go over them.
Contextual in-app guidance
This is about the educational content triggered by users interacting with the product.
Take checklists, for example. When users first log into the app, an onboarding flow is triggered, which educates users on core features and prompts them to engage and learn.
Tooltips are another example of in-app guidance. They give a quick highlight of the tool, how it works and what you can achieve with it. Here’s an example from Airtable:
An example of live training can be webinars delivered through Youtube or any similar platform.
An engaging 30-minute live session with a chance to ask specific questions can be more valuable for your user than any other educational content.
For software companies, these sessions are primarily webinars on product mastery or new feature announcements and training.
Also, webinars provide a great opportunity to get to know your customers better and build stronger, more personal relationships with them.
Self-serve educational resources
Instead of triggering a learning resource based on user action and interrupting the user experience, this is about making the resources always available and giving users the freedom to learn whenever and however they feel comfortable.
Combine all valuable resources in an on-demand resource center that users can access within the app. Some content formats to include are video tutorials, knowledge base articles, and case studies.
Best practices for creating a customer training program
The first step is to know what kind of content to put out and what channel to use. The following best practices will ensure you get the most out of the entire process:
Provide personalized learning paths for each customer segment
Your SaaS most likely has different user personas with varying use cases. Hence creating the same training for all use cases doesn’t make sense.
For instance, if your product serves engineers and product marketers, these different user categories will appreciate personalized content suitable for their use case.
To get started with personalization, use a welcome flow like the one below to gather user data.
Then segment users based on survey responses and deploy different customer training programs for your varying audiences so everyone gets what they need.
Make customer training an ongoing process
Customer education isn’t a one-time thing. It starts when a customer signs up and continues throughout the customer journey in different forms.
Continuous education ensures your customers maximize the value they are getting from your product. For example, when you launch new features, you need to train customers on how to best take advantage of them to benefit from the added value.
Localize training materials for a better customer experience
For any SaaS company hoping to succeed in the global market, content localization is crucial.
Offering your training materials in local languages will increase engagement and improve user experience because many customers might struggle with instructions in one language only.
With a tool like Userpilot, it’s easy to localize in-app experiences like tooltips and modals to appear in a user’s native language.
Here’s an example of how you can translate a tooltip’s content to German. Users who speak German can have a better one-on-one experience this way.
Use in-app video tutorials for better engagement
Visual content is one of the UX trends this year as it has proven to be more engaging and effective. The brain processes visual information a thousand times faster than texts; hence people naturally gravitate toward visuals. So, don’t just use texts. Add video tutorials to your training materials to increase engagement.
Gamify the learning experience and reward users for completing the training
Gamification adds an extra dopamine boost to the mix. It gives people reason to push through with your training apart from the fact that they’ll learn from it.
In the image below, ClickUp offers $10 credit for completing videos. Customers would naturally benefit from these videos, but adding that incentive provides more motivation.
Your incentive doesn’t have to be free credits. You can offer small incentives such as points they can exchange for discounts, badges, or monetary gifts.
Measure the success of your customer training program
Important KPIs to track throughout the training process includes retention rate, upsells, LTV, and customer satisfaction score. Gauge your training program’s success by comparing these KPIs before and after.
You can take this idea even further by using product usage analytics to measure user behavior after they complete the in-app training.
To do this, set in-app goals and compare what portion of your users progressed through each goal/milestone before vs. after the program.
Another way to measure training success is to conduct collect customer feedback. For example, you can conduct NPS surveys if your main objective with the training was to increase the number of loyal customers.
Then calculate the average NPS score to determine how the scores have improved after the training. A higher NPS score shows the training was a success and vice versa.
Successful customer training program examples from SaaS companies
Sometimes you just need to see what other brands are doing for ideas to spark in your mind. We picked Hubspot and Kommunicate because we love their approach to customer training and believe SaaS companies can learn from them.
Hubspot’s customer training and certification program
Hubspot has a separate training platform called Hubspot academy, which offers tons of courses on both Hubspot mastery and general marketing.
Users are awarded badges and certificates upon completing courses. Hubspot’s credibility and the depth of its courses have made these certifications globally recognized, giving users a sense of pride and achievement.
Kommunicate’s in-app customer training program
Kommunicate is a live chat software designed to help businesses in the healthcare, eCommerce, education and other sectors build custom AI-based chatbots.
It’s critical that new users install the integration on their platform; hence it’s the first thing users see when they begin onboarding. Notice the notification bar at the bottom, ensuring users don’t miss the point.
After installation, users are shown a simple checklist that tells them the next step to take.
Then, an interactive walkthrough guides them step by step through engaging with the feature for the first time.
The checklist prompts them to take action and discover relevant product functions, while the walkthrough shortens the learning path by removing friction. Both work together to increase product adoption.
The takeaway from Kommunicate’s approach is to understand the key actions that drive adoption and creatively introduce them to new users.
Some of the best tools on the market for customer training
Dedicated third-party tools make customer training easier, faster, and more scalable. If you’re thinking of using software for customer enablement and education, try Userpilot or TalentLMS.
Userpilot – best in-app guidance and knowledge base software
Userpilot is a no-code product growth platform specifically for SaaS companies. It lets you create customized onboarding flows and trigger contextual in-app experiences such as checklists, tooltips, and interactive walkthroughs embedded in various UI patterns.
And most importantly, with Userpilot, you can create an in-app resource center with multiple formats of educational resources. You can play videos within the resource center. Moreover, you can even localize the content and auto-translate it into more than 32 languages.
You can even track real-time knowledge base engagement, understand which learning resources users engage with the most, and create more of them in the future.
TalentLMS – best learning management system
TalentLMS is a cloud-based platform with an intuitive interface that makes learning fun.
It works across all devices and provides ample freedom to customize your content as desired. The platform allows you to:
- Create courses, tests, quizzes, and hold live sessions.
- Roll out and analyze surveys.
- Create learning paths to restrict how users learn.
- Add multiple integrations to make your training more accessible.
- Create your website on the learning portal and add pages accessible only to those that log in.
- Make content available in 30+ languages.
Also, it’s vital to keep measuring your results and tweaking your approach till you find what works best.
In order to achieve good results, it’s important to plan in advance what training you’ll provide, how you’ll deliver it, and how you’ll measure its impact to make future releases even better.
If you’d like to learn how Userpilot can help you design an effective customer training program, hit the link to book a demo with our team!