When you’re championing customer education in your business, there are a lot of key elements to consider. Making smart hiring choices, choosing the right investments, measuring success… there’s no doubt that it can feel overwhelming. That’s why everyone loves getting advice from those who have ‘been there and done that’!
At this year’s COGNITION, that’s exactly what we got, as the Miro Customer Education team held us rapt for a session on how they built their customer education function from scratch, with a little help from the wisdom of the Marvel universe! You can watch the recording, or read on for some of our top takeaways:
How to Identify the Right Skills for Your Customer Education Team
Dee Kapila, Head of Customer Education, started out by describing the four core education offerings that the team manages at Miro, which are: live facilitated programs, self-paced training on-demand, in-app contextual education (in the form of interactive tutorials at the moment of need), and Miro’s self-serve Help Center. Each needs its own specific skills and competencies.
Next, Mel Miloway, Academy Lead, discussed how she builds out their Academy team by focusing on skills, rather than on roles alone. “We have three roles, Learning Experience Designer, Learning Experience Design Manager, and Certification Designer. Across these roles however, there will be dozens of skills, from instructional design and script writing, to L&D operations, project management, data measurement and UX design.”
Matt Mulholland, Contextual Education Lead, moved onto in-app education, and mentioned how when you’re hiring it’s important to look for those who can build the learning, but also Multimedia Designers who make the assets look awesome. If you can see that your designers have experience with good looking infographics, that’s great evidence they will do a good job with design.
For live training, Jen Clark discussed choosing Facilitators who love connecting with people in real time, and outlined the qualities she looks for when she hires instructors. “I always look to bring out the love for the stage! The ultimate goal is creating live experiences that are charming and fun and interactive, and that are also adaptive so they can move with the audience’s skill level and what they want to see in the product. I look for people who are quick on their feet, and who love tinkering, because we teach within the product and no question is out of bounds. I also bring people onto the team who love facilitation for its own sake. They just love being on camera, and that means they bring jokes and a little theatre to the performance.”
Jen feels that because she hires for these qualities, the passion, quick learning and the focus on the experience, they get great feedback every time they teach a session.
Practical Advice for Supercharging Your Customer Education Team
One by one, the Miro heroes gave us their advice on how to excel building out the customer education function:
Own the Danger Room to Iterate and Experiment for Success
Just like in X-men, the danger room is where the practice happens! Here’s where you can work with your team to fight off anything that’s holding you back from creating your programs. For Mel, focusing on scalability of content, experimentation, and continuous improvement has really helped her to build an environment where users can feel confident learning to use Miro.
Mel pulled out a quote from X-men, “Thanks to their advanced danger room, the X-men are able to train 24/7 against lifelike robots and holograms.” This is a great comparison to self-paced learning, where users can come in and learn whenever and however they want, and get increasingly confident on the technology. “When I first joined Miro, we didn’t have a lot of opportunities for practice, and I could see that people wanted a place to do just that,” said Mel. “Miro now has Playgrounds where people can come in and practice and experiment and play, including a maze to help users to navigate the platform!”
We loved Mel’s best practices for scalability: creating reusable content that can be leveraged elsewhere, prioritizing what changes to make, and building documents and templates that can be reused, such as checklists to speed up content creation.
Building a Relationship with Product that Goes Beyond the Sidekick
Matt made us laugh with his Avengers analogy, how Iron Man went rogue and tried to force the rest of the team to do things his own way. He compared this to a Customer Education function that ignores the Product team. In short, if Customer Education and Product can be best buddies, things work a lot more smoothly.
“Over the past year, I’ve come up with some principles that will help you to be more successful.” said Matt. “The first is to focus on quick wins. Don’t approach Product with a huge project like a certification that will take a lot of development. Start with something small like introducing empty states or adding hyperlinks to relevant content. Another is to take work off the Product team’s plate. A lot of this is about building trust and showing you can provide a unique perspective, so look to make their lives easier!” Other best practices from Matt included getting education embedded into the product workflow, and bringing data to the table to prove the value of the work that you’re doing.
Adding a Superhuman Dose of Empathy in Customer Education
Jen Clark used the theme of humanity and empathy and called out how, in the Marvel universe, superheroes often have a human obligation to save people or have a recognition of their own humanity. “It’s so important to respect and connect with your learners in a human way.” Jen said. “We start by ensuring that we have incredible diversity in the people who are coming to Miro. We’re taking in learners all across the spectrum, those who are very familiar with canvas tools and know how it works intuitively, to those who only use applications exactly how they need to for work. This helps us to constantly express empathy when connecting with our learners and what they need to learn.” Here are some top superhero-inspired tips for making this happen.
- Get into the details: Remember, you’re not competing with someone else’s webinar, you’re competing with the learner’s phone. Are they checking email and messaging on Slack, or are they paying attention? Jen said that she doesn’t blame people for trying to multitask, but she always tries to bring the Tony Stark flavor, and to be undeniably attractive, and really irresistible. Practical tips she offered were to include music, enhance the design of the slides, ask lots of questions and require engagement in the chat.
- “We have what we have when we have it”: This Black Widow quote is all about focusing everyone’s attention on the present moment. That’s why Jen designs for practicality in her webinars. “The best compliment we can get is ‘I’m going to go try this right after the webinar.’ We want to teach extremely easy tips and tricks that people can apply in their next meeting or session.”
- A pinch of paprika: Jen loves the moment in Avengers when Vision attempted to make Wanda Paprikash, her favorite dish, which is his attempt to build a human relationship. “At Miro, we call out the names of people joining the room, and then if they come into a different session, we’ll say thanks for coming again. We work to build a dynamic relationship as we want them to feel they’re connecting with something very human.”
Tips for Measuring the Impact of Customer Education
Dee’s advice for measuring customer education programs was described on a three-category framework: engagement, behavioral, and ROI. “Start small, you don’t need to address all of the metrics, start with one or two things and work out what they are telling you about your program, and then you can build out over time.”
Engagement metrics are usually the easiest, for example NPS or CSAT, which can be as simple as asking for satisfaction before and after a webinar. Talk to your team about how you’re going to measure engagement, what constitutes completion or trained users, and don’t be afraid to get into those discussions and find out what works for you.
Then, move on to working out if your training is actually impacting user behavior. At Miro, Dee uses template usage to see if users interacted with the templates more after a webinar, which gives her a strong correlation. Lastly, business ROI will involve getting into the data of revenue attribution or product adoption, or comparing trained prospects to conversions. We love Dee’s advice to make friends with IT. “They are going to be your ride or die, and they’ll see things in the data that you would never have thought of!”
This webinar was jam-packed with customer education superpowers! Watch the full webinar to learn:
- Mel’s advice on ensuring you can implement continuous improvements to your program
- A full list of Matt’s 8 best-practices for working effectively with Product teams
- Bringing your A-game every single time, and why Jen feels this is so important in live training
Get your access to every single COGNITION 2021 session right here.