How to create an impactful online customer training program?
When customers buy your product, they invest their money and faith in you- expecting your support when they are using the product. During onboarding, to help customers understand the product better, businesses use product tutorials along with constant customer connect to handhold the customers. These product tutorials may be in the form of short videos, help documents, manual, etc. Training impacts the customer experience. In an exciting find, 64% of consumers and 80% of business buyers expect companies to interact with them real-time. Another statistic claims that 55% of customers are willing to pay more for a ‘guaranteed good experience’.
Through online training both these objectives may be achieved a) that of fulfilling the customer’s expectation of real-time interaction and b) a pleasant experience. In such product training models, the customer may be invited to join a web-meeting where he/she can interact with the trainer, watch demos and ask queries in real-time. However, the devil is in the details. Planning must begin before formalizing such training programs. Why? There are a few challenges in traditional customer training that need to be addressed in the planning stage.
Challenges in customer training
Traditional customer training has several limitations. Investment in infrastructure, cost of time and resources, and ensuring customer convenience are some of the limitations of this method. Let’s understand the fundamental challenges of training customers.
- High Cost: Hiring of trainers to give the training, organizing training (cost of the travel, conference hall, stationery items, stay arrangements) among other expenses add up to a significant amount.
- Low Reach: It is difficult to get customers situated in different parts of the world to congregate in one location for training.
- Wasted Time & Effort: The de-facto training operations requires the following:
- Traveling to the location of the customer or booking a training location
- Booking the trainer calendar for repetitive training sessions across different customers
- Booking customer calendar for training out of their busy schedule
- Taking the same session over-and-over as more customer get added
- Limited Customization of Customer Needs:
- Customers may often need customized training because of their:
- The use case of the product is unique
- Work schedule needs to be accommodated/li>
- The language of communication, culture, and business etiquettes are unique
With an online customer training set-up, the organization saves on cost, time and effort. However, the fruits of online training are highly dependent on the efforts that have gone behind planning and execution of the program.
Creating effective online customer training programs
There are some aspects of online customer training programs which make the training memorable and helpful for the customer. Simple language, crisp information, and a question-answer session during live product training – are some essential points that form the basis of a successful customer training program. Offline access to learning material (newsletters, FAQs), recorded webinars (with a panel of experts) and instructor lectures on the product, would mean that customers can view and learn at their convenience. In training material, customers are given the know-how or the knowledge of how to handle or use the product. Each feature is explained in-depth, and a list of frequently asked questions are bundled together to make learning material helpful and impactful.
Below-mentioned factors need to be taken into cognizance to create an impactful customer training program – ones that contribute to the exceptional customer experience.
- Videos: Product videos help the customers understand the features your product. Good evidence of this is seen in the mentioned research. It clearly states that the usage of videos in businesses for various activities went up by 17% in 2017. In another statistic, 84% of customers bought a product after watching a video about it.
- Webinars are another great way to engage the customer with product related content. Question and answer sessions with product trainers may prove to be beneficial to the customer.
- Infographics: Illustrated infographics including graphic descriptions or numeric data with regards to the product create an impression on the customers’ minds. They are easy to understand and analyze even for a layperson. Research suggests that infographics are retained for a longer time than traditional teaching material. They also help in selling a product. In an experiment when a product was paired with the story of the product, consumers were inclined to purchase it and pay 6% more.
- Bite-sized courses: Microlearning using short courses are easier to assimilate and memorize. Lengthy online courses with lots of text take time to go through and are more difficult to retain.
Interestingly, organizations are of the opinion that once the customer purchases a product, the training team will proactively step in to give the customers an overview of how the product works. The organization will not wait for a support ticket to be raised to tackle a problem, which may be quickly resolved during the product training. Customer Training may be implemented through a robust training program which may be delivered through an online customer training software.
An organization should pay close attention to what it’s customers want and how they want to focus their strategy to create a great customer experience. This may be majorly achieved by the right customer training, right at the time when the customer makes a purchase.