10 Customer Retention Strategies

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Thought Industries
April 20, 2020

Knowing there’s a correlation between how much training your customer consumes and how likely they are to keep being your customer, we have to answer this question. 

“What do we have to do to engage learners with customer training and deliver the training when they need it the most?”

The built-in tools of modern learning platforms, like Thought Industries, make it easier to boost learner engagement by automating these 10 strategies that improve customer retention:

1.    Surveys, quizzes, assessments and tests provide 3 important benefits:

  • Critical feedback that helps you to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your courses from the learner’s perspective, enabling you to go back and optimize.
  • Identified learning gaps that can be immediately addressed.
  • An increasing level of personalization. Understand where each individual learner is and refine their individualized learning path.

Surveys, quizzes and assessments are expected and essential to high-quality online courses. Each sends a message that “this is serious, and we mean business.” They also increase learner engagement because, if we know we’ll be tested at the end, we pay greater attention to the course.

Quizzes are quicker to execute, quicker to grade, quicker to return with feedback and less stressful than tests. They provide important value in their ability to promote learning and retention of knowledge throughout the online learning experience.

Assessments motivate learners to learn. How? By asking them questions about the module they’ve just seen, you challenge them to prove their skills (expertise). You assess their level of maturity in a certain field, and recommend where additional training is needed. Think of it as the triple A method: Ask, Assess, Advise. Example training assessment.

Assessments are most important in enhancing the efficiency of course structure. They not only provide insights into the levels of learner progress and satisfaction; they also act as a means for learners to share their experiences transparently.  

2.    Blended learning

Many training companies that have relied on instructor-led training (ILT) find that they must now move quickly to virtual instructor-led training (vILT), as their first step into blended learning. The migration path is likely to be webinars, then videos, eLearning and micro-learning.

This is an enormously important migration because:

  • It’s likely that in our new world we are going to see less travel and redefined work responsibilities. Blended learning can satisfy the needs of both workers and companies, helping to make this new normal more successful in a shorter amount of time.
  • There are new cohorts of workers that are more comfortable with online learning that can be accessed from anywhere, on any device, as needed.
  • Online learning is more profitable long-term.

To be successful in a blended learning environment, you will need a modern learning management system (LMS) that engages customers and provides the scalability to quickly reach more learners at a lower cost.

3.    Gamification

Gamification on a learning platform includes tactics such as awards, badges, leaderboards and pre-built games that can be dragged and dropped into courses to increase involvement in the learning process. They provide encouragement, rewards and can make the learning process fun.

And most importantly, gamification leads to higher levels of success in training and an improvement in product adoption.

4.    Social learning

Social learning is when people are given the means to collaborate, network and learn from one another.

You can create a better learning experience by creating engagement and driving interaction. This keeps learners in a social environment with a blend of engagement features discouraging them from multi-tasking.

Here are some ideas for social learning:

  • The introduction of communities and discussion boards provides an interpersonal relationship. They encourage conversation and debate.
  •  Breakout sessions are an excellent way of connecting with learners.
  •  Consider pre-course materials like a pre-read that will promote questions and discourse and save you time during a later-scheduled ILT event.
  • Continue the conversation after the live event with post-event discussions or materials. This deepens awareness beyond a one-off experience into a journey with long-term benefits.
  • Testimonials are a way for learners to share their positive experiences (social proof).

The long-term benefit to applying elements of social learning to your training program is to create evangelists who help promote your online courses and training programs to others through social media.

5.    Real-time communications

Real-time communications through email and learner notifications give you micro opportunities to reinforce your message and encourage learners to pick up the pace in their learning journeys.

There are 2 key elements to make this work:

  • First, most of the communication needs to be automated. You can rely on a good learning platform that has prebuilt notifications, reminders and suggestions. In general, most users will ignore 50 percent to 75 percent of your communications, so it’ll take more than one communication for messages to “sink in.”
  • Second, the communications must be persuasive. You must express benefits and consistently answer the question, “what’s in it for them.”

6.    Automatic course recommendations

Based on courses taken, achievements and navigation history, automatic recommendations alert learners to discover new online training resources that match their needs, goals, objectives and tastes. It is a predictive recommendations list.

Automatic recommendations also allow a training company to target their resources to the proper learner, increasing conversion and learner engagement.

These tools provide the learner with easy reference, both to record what is important to them and to find the immediate answer to a question, or clear-up their understanding of a concept. It speeds internalization and helps the learner to understand the content.

8.    Native course and content authoring

Ideally, your learning platform includes a built-in course and content authoring tool that gives your organization the ability to create short form content that’s engaging to learners. It should also be easy enough for your subject matter experts to build valuable content that is also engaging.

Moreover, it should enable universal content updates, so that when content needs to be changed, it is changed in all versions at once.

The more up-to-date your online training courses are, especially when it concerns technology, the more engaged your learners.

9.    Curated learning paths

The learning path is a personalized roadmap to knowledge, achievement, advancement and sometimes certification.

It’s a journey that will require the learner to invest time and energy. The path must be laid out in clear stages, with compelling logic as to why each online course in the series is needed. What is required of them, and most importantly, what knowledge, status and satisfaction will they get upon completion.

10.  Certification and badging

Before you develop a certification program for your products, find out first if this has meaning to your learners. If the answer is yes, first validate the concept through a beta program. Certifications are enormously expensive to build. However, when they work, it builds a tribe of enthusiasts for your online training.

Badging, in contrast, is relatively easy to develop and deploy. Learners take your training and, through some kind of verified step such as an exam or a course completion, earn the right to display a “badge” of achievement. Thus, you confer recognition without their investment of a considerably longer path of certification.

The powerful learner engagement lever 

As mentioned earlier, to successfully implement these 10 tactics and increase learner engagement and retain customers, you will need a modern LMS to:

  • Create and follow learning paths and suggest next steps.
  • Make it easy to dynamically develop and change content.
  • Provide certification, credits, and other learner engagement tools, like gamification and badging.
  • Make it simple for learners to find the right training they need, when and where they need it.

Individually, each of these tactics is a powerful learner engagement lever to increase product adoption and retain customers. Together, the whole greatly exceeds the sum of the parts.

In conclusion, the 10 learner engagement strategies that help improve customer retention include:

  1. Surveys, quizzes, assessments and tests
  2. Blended learning
  3. Gamification
  4. Social learning
  5. Real-time communications
  6. Automatic course recommendations
  7. Bookmarking, inline note taking and in-course search
  8. Native course and content authoring
  9. Curated learning paths
  10. Certification and badging

All of these learner engagement features you may find in the Thought Industries Platform.

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