Creating a business case for customer learning is easy when you know one key fact: trained customers perform better than non-trained customers in just about every business metric. Now, pull together your customer and training data and get ready to measure!
The Durable Business Case for Customer Learning
Organizations have been training customers forever. Originally, it was more out of necessity and less out of the realization that the business case of customer learning centers on measurable competitive differentiation. In the old days, buy a new piece of construction machinery, enterprise software or an LMS, and the vendor would send out a trainer for a few days or weeks.
Even though many modern organizations were deploying online customer education pre-pandemic, the original quarantine period accelerated everything as organizations were forced to go kicking and screaming fully online or perish. Fast forward two years and they are not anxious to go back. Why?
Because the business case of customer learning is so easy to prove that even average organizations are enjoying measurable success that outshines their previous efforts.
The Key Business Case Challenge
The challenge to building a business case for customer learning is the need to predict, realize, and prove more organization benefit from training customers than the up-front and ongoing investment of the technology and content needed.
The learning management system (LMS) is the backbone of customer learning initiatives delivering online, virtual, video, social, simulations, assessment, certifications, and reference resources that can be created once and reused economically many times in different manners.
The LMS also has the key enabling feature of the customer learning business case – reporting and analytics. Knowing which customers have previously participated in training (or not) gives organizations the power to measure return on investment.
How? Have trained customers purchased more or less than untrained? Have they called your customer support organization more frequently or less frequently? Have they renewed their subscriptions at a higher or lower rate?
6 Measurable Reasons to Invest in Customer Learning
In all industries, smart organizations invest in providing their customers with relevant learning opportunities. Building the business case for customer learning and then reaping your success is easy when you structure it around the following six measurable reasons:
1) Increased Sales and Profit
The easiest, most cost-effective place to get a new sale is from an existing customer – not finding a new one. Happy, educated customers who see the value you promised will buy more of the same and related products.
Customers don’t want to find new solutions. They just want the solution they purchased to work as expected — or better. If you can help make that happen through training they will keep buying.
Additionally, many organizations sell customer content as value-added service. The more complicated your core product or solution, the more opportunities you have to sell training to customers and turn your content into profitable revenue streams.
2) Shorter Sales Cycles
Customer learning helps organizations accelerate the sales cycle by letting customers do most of the sales work. Many companies also cross-sell by engaging active customers as learners.
They provide a free library of training content for a purchased product as well as complementary products. As customers educate themselves they voluntarily absorb knowledge about other products and services (features, benefits and unique value proposition) without costly active involvement from the sales force or channel. There is nothing better than an educated qualified lead.
3) Lower Customer Support Costs
Every time a customer contacts your customer support – live, virtual or email it costs you.
You may not be able to avoid all support calls, however, you can minimize the volume of basic support incidents by designing targeted learning that gives customers all the tools they need to get started with your product or service.
Decreased support calls and trouble tickets translate directly into higher profits.
4) Increased Customer Satisfaction
Even if you have the best call center and online support in your industry, at the moment when customers seek support, they’ve exhausted other options – and they’re probably annoyed by the inconvenience. I know I am.
Delivering learning opportunities for your customers provides a proactive self-service method of getting answers and driving time to value.
5) Increased Brand Reach
Even small companies can have a global footprint.
Using an LMS, organizations can support mobile users, virtual classrooms, game dynamics, real-time social interaction and more. This gives you more flexibility to engage customers in learning, no matter where they’re located or what their preferences may be.
You can create communities of interest and encourage participants to develop skills, share their success stories and help answer others’ questions. You can wrap contests and awards around your learning programs to engage and motivate participants.
6) Save Money
With all the making money aspects of creating a business case for customer education, it’s easy to forget the obvious. You also can save a ton of money.
The cost of finding new customers, not sending out trainers or paying for brick, mortar or flights, developing content once and delivering it many times, shorter time to product rollout and global expansion are all less with a well-designed customer education program.
Creating a business case for customer learning isn’t difficult because there are so many measurable benefits you can use to prove value. What’s more, customers love it. It’s really that simple. You shouldn’t wait. Your competition won’t and neither will your customers.
Thanks for reading!
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