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A Great Customer Education Measurement Strategy: The Competitive Edge Your Program Needs

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measurement & data
Rachel Heisterkamp
June 21, 2022
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In our recent webinar with Brandon Hall Group, Thought Industries CEO Barry Kelly was joined by Daniel Quick, SVP of Learning Strategies, and David Wentworth, Principal Analyst at Brandon Hall Group to discuss the benefits of a great customer education measurement strategy. You’re not too late to watch the full webinar right here – or read on for some great highlights!

Key takeaway #1: View customer training as part of the ongoing customer relationship

David started out by explaining that through Brandon Hall research, they’ve seen that providing customers with a “delightful, engaging and sticky experience” is the number two goal for today’s businesses. Learning is a critical part of delivering that. 

David Wentworth highlights organizations prioritizing customer experience

A good training program also helps organizations to stay up to speed with today’s consumers. If the organization isn’t providing the best training experience, they are going to go somewhere else, and they might not always find the best information, or what the organization wants the consumer to receive. 

In addition, education deflects support costs, as in customers can get the information that they need from learning, they aren’t calling your support teams, which in turn drives efficiencies and reduces costs, allowing you to scale. One real-world example that we shared was how Seismic returned 6,500 hours to their CS team by deploying smart customer education via the Thought Industries platform.

Key takeaway #2: Understand the power of the educated customer

Barry jumped in to continue the discussion about the impact of the educated customer on the business. This isn’t just a post-sale strategy, it’s also pre-sale. “This is the next generation of customer-centricity – using education and learning to help drive core metrics of your business. At the front of the funnel it might be exposing thought leadership or trial optimization, and then as you move down the funnel it’s about onboarding and getting different personas trained, and then eventually it’s about NPS scores and retention, and perhaps even direct sales, certifications, and driving revenues.”

It’s no wonder that Brandon Hall data shows that the #1 benefit of customer education is an improvement in customer experience, called out by 65% of respondents.

Barry Kelly shares customer stories with exciting results

We loved hearing how Barry views the educated customer as a champion of your brand, more likely to renew, understanding your product on a deep level, better able to handle internal turnover, and providing direct revenues through certification and deeper product adoption.

Key takeaway #3: Create a formal team for Customer Education

Daniel spoke to the audience about how Customer Education as a function often reports into Customer Success. “This highlights the key benefit of customer education, which helps customers to see success by using the product. However, there are a lot of ways to structure your Customer Education team. It can live within Marketing, or in L&D as part of a Center of Excellence for learning. We also see it in Product, Professional Services, and more.”

Over the last few years, Thought Industries has seen organizations starting to make Customer Education its own function – complete with a department head who has a seat at the table alongside other strategic department leads. Daniel continued, “The more Customer Education can show that it can be a profit center and grow revenues, the more likely they will get that opportunity.”

Key takeaway #4: Align Customer Education to business outcomes

David commented that 65% of companies have difficulty in measuring the effectiveness of their customer training, which leads to a third of companies feeling less than confident about the value of their program.

David shares research highlighting the difficulty of measuring program effectiveness

The panel dove into the ways that customer learning professionals are attempting to measure the effectiveness of their programs. When looking at the top methods, such as learner feedback, surveys, assessments and completions, you can see that these are mainly focused on measuring the quality of your content. “None of these say much about how learning impacts business metrics, or how the training helps customers to succeed,” said Daniel. “It’s important to know how learners are responding, but you have to go deeper and start to look at ROI. Only then will business leaders take notice and significantly increase investment in learning projects.”

Key takeaway #5: Develop a measurement strategy for customer education

Daniel walked the audience through five steps for creating a measurement strategy:

1. Define your goal: What outcomes are you hoping to achieve? Is it brand awareness and generating demand? Or is it reducing churn and improving product adoption?

2. Organize your information:Where does your data live, and how do you organize it? In what systems are the sources of truth, and is that data trapped?

3. Choose KPIs: How do you prioritize to measure what matters? Here’s how you map out moving from pure engagement metrics to start seeing what ROI you’re creating. 

Daniel Quick walks through a content strategy approach

4. Simplify your analysis: Define what trained means to you, and then segment by trained vs untrained. Now analyze these groups using your KPIs from step 3. 

5. Visualize your data: Use charts and tables to make it easier to understand at a glance. Don’t just tell the story – sell the story!

Daniel Quick shares an example of effective data visualization

For more information about building and deploying an effective measurement strategy for your customer education program, check out The Customer Education Playbook, which highlights 12 actionable steps to move from the very conception of your customer education function through to proving its worth and ROI. 

Key takeaway #6: Make a plan to deal with pushback from the business

“We’ve created this model that helps you follow in the footsteps of the most high performing customer

You might be asked, how do you know that it’s the training that leads to the increase in engagement, or that has pushed the needle on whichever metrics you were measuring? The best answer from Daniel is that either training is making customers more engaged, or engaged customers LOVE training! Either way, providing a training experience is really important for your business, and the data should paint that picture really clearly. 

This webinar was packed to the rafters with actionable ideas for measuring the impact of customer education!

Watch the full webinar to access:

  • A case study of how ZoomInfo increased renewals by 10-12% and measured their increased retention and upsell opportunities with Thought Industries.
  • A view of the maturity model, and how businesses move through 5 stages to effectively measure the impact of their customer training. 
  • A measurement strategy in detail. Practical tips from Daniel for each of the 5 steps of measuring impact, including how to get the data from where you need it.  

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