Some of the largest and fastest-moving brands in the world are activating their customer success initiatives through customer education. This means they are looking at metrics like customer churn, product adoption and, of course, revenue growth; and are developing learning experiences that positively impact or change the customer behavior that is (currently) negatively impacting these metrics. By teaching the individual customer, or partner, how to better use their products or services (and then scaling this effort), these companies are making significant improvements to the bottom line.
One of our large global retail clients has seen a 20% increase in sales and a 22% increase in engagement in just 12 months, as a result of launching an ultra-modern customer education program.
It's easy to understand why large companies invest in customer education. It can be a bit more difficult to understand how they do it.
Companies that are nailing this customer education thing are separating their efforts into three strategic buckets: content strategy, platform strategy and marketing strategy. When we dig into each of these categories across a variety of clients, we notice they are all working to answer the same basic questions.
At Pulse 2019, I spoke about the relationship between customer education and revenue, and offered conference-goers the playbook for developing an enterprise-level customer education program based on what we see inside our most successful clients. The following is a high-level overview of the part of the presentation that focused on the questions these clients are addressing in each strategic bucket. These questions, and how you would answer them, can serve as a great jumping off point for developing a kick-butt customer education program. I hope they prove helpful.
Right now, our largest customer education clients are using our platform to create a highly engaging destination that pulls together content that has traditionally lived in separate tools. This content now includes:
- Knowledge Base
- Learning and Product Training
- Sales and Marketing Materials
In order to pull off this single-destination approach, they have to be really good at answering the following questions:
Pro tip: The learner's experience with Search inside the learning destination is becoming a bigger deal everyday. Understanding taxonomy and how it helps drive personalization, even as it relates to search results, is mission critical right now.
Ensuring the consistent dissemination of great content is your biggest challenge, and your main goal, when it comes to customer education. But we often see companies focusing too much on the development of creative content and not enough on the experience of accessing this information.
Pro tip: Leverage your experience platform to tailor what is presented to the learner, based on signals received from inside and outside the system. The goal is to present the learner with highly-targeted information that is most closely aligned with the information they're already searching for, and consuming, both inside and outside your learning environment.
Attempting to develop and launch an enormous, all-encompassing catalog of content from scratch is a classic mistake. Time and again, we see companies announce an expensive initiative, then wonder why there is no engagement and content consumption a few months later. You are much better off starting small, iterating on what works, and consistently releasing new content. The consistent addition of new content is your greatest engagement tactic because it gives people a reason to repeatedly come back. The trick is to figure out how to identify the most valuable customers and keep them engaged.
Pro tip: Companies that do customer education well know that successfully communicating the availability of new content is really just a reach and frequency game: how many people are we marketing the availability of this content to (reach) and how often are we getting it in front of them (frequency).
Are you interested in how successful enterprise companies track customer education and define ROI? Are you struggling with content development? Do you want to chat about Legos? Shoot me a note (greg [at] intellum [dot] com) and let's have a chat.