Data, and its thoughtful analysis can be anchors, bellwethers and spur curiosity, feeding information to fuel the growth of your customer learning practice. Instead of citing facts and figures, I’d like to tell you a story about the journey one of our customers has been on, and how their growth and success are rooted in data, analytics, knowledge, commitment and insight.
As background, this organization provides financial information to businesses worldwide. Then, and now, the mission of their training department, in the words of one of the founders, is to “unlock the value of our solutions for our clients to help them do better.” They do that through customer education.
“When we profile our accounts that retain and stay with us, we see that their overall retention rates are two to three times higher when customers are trained than clients where we don’t see the same type of education coverage and activity.”
Their journey started over 10 years ago when customer training was first launched to support a flagship solution. Every sale included complimentary virtual training hosted by a specialist. It was very focused, targeted and non-scalable.
Customer learning doubles product adoption
It was also very successful, in that they found customers who were trained used the product twice as much as customers who were not trained, a solid indication of training effectiveness. They knew that, eventually, customer training could become a lever to increase product adoption and customer retention company-wide.
The company decided to expand their training footprint with a three-pronged strategy: coverage, reach, and insight.
- Coverage is their expanding library of educational content.
- Reach is the ability to touch customers with that learning content, whenever, however they want it.
- Insight is the ability to make a difference. Insight is driven by data and analytics.
Reach, they realized, is the bottom line – if you are going to increase the effect customer training has on your overall business, you have to increase the penetration of trained customers within the user base. Coverage, or getting ready to serve a larger and more diverse user base, came first with the creation of their Client Learning Center.
Expand reach and you expand impact
It was at this point that they began their partnership with Thought Industries and built the Client Learning Center on our learning platform, both to enhance and expand learning experiences as well as to learn from the wealth of data and reports that were now available. With the help of Thought Industries, they looked to create the third prong of their strategy: insight.
Within the Client Learning Center, content is organized and indexed by business unit and by product to enable learners to filter that down to the level of detail they need, selecting what they want to learn and how they want to learn it. One of the Customer Success Managers recently remarked, “the on-demand capability was a major step forward, conveying to clients that it is more about them than about us.”
Taking customer learning global
Increasingly, they relied on the insight that comes through data, reporting, and analysis to determine their way forward and to garner support from the larger business. Here are some of the things they learned and put to use.
- Initially, the volumes were the only real validation point they had. Gradually they took a deeper dive into those volumes. They reviewed the accounts they were touching and what solutions they’ve purchased. This really helped them to understand what audiences they were reaching, and maybe more importantly, who they weren’t reaching. Because if there were some large strategic clients out there that weren’t taking advantage of training, they had to figure out a way to get them involved.
- Then they started to explore what types of learning were most appealing to clients, and where and how they were consuming it the most. Initially, they found that on-demand videos were what most people accessed (53% of the time). This insight was really the first validation point beyond volumes, and it got the sales team’s attention because it gave them great information as a way of starting a lot of value-add, ROI conversations with clients.
- They learned that training’s job is not just to teach the learner what this tool does and how to use it. The learner also needs to understand and appreciate the data that’s being injected into it, which is what distinguishes our client’s company from the competition.
- Data from the learning center showed that learning paths had the greatest impact on the client’s ultimate success and that successful clients became repeat learners. The learning paths teed up education in a way that was a lot more digestible for learners.
- Analyses indicated that learners experienced “points of need” where content could be a life-saver. They did a test: on the first screen a user sees when they log into the Learning Center, they put a question mark at the top – a help box in red. When a user clicks on the box, the first three options are videos that help learners understand how to navigate the Center to find what they want, quickly. These videos were originally further back in the Center’s navigation.
The result: over a 50% lift in the hit rate from this in-solution learning.
They ran another test and positioned some learning videos on the homepage of one solution. This didn’t require a user to jump out of the solution and go to the learning center. Here, too, there was an increase of over 50% in the activity on those videos.
New insights from new customer learning analytics
Volumes, and thus, reach, have grown dramatically as internal business partners have realized how effectively customer training can drive value. They are still keeping an eye on volumes, and are working now to improve analytics and insight to drive better experiences.
They are taking advantage of the features in sync with Thought Industries, such as consumption metrics, NPS surveys and CSAT scores, and trying to build some new insights. Two of these are:
- Recency, to make sure all assets have been updated and are current to a year or less. Recency = relevance.
- Stickiness, which is the effectiveness in driving a single learner to multiple assets. Learners that consume multiple assets are more successful in their jobs, are more satisfied, and are more likely to become repeat learners.
Customer learning demonstrably increases retention
The current head of customer training put it quite succinctly, “When we profile our accounts that retain and stay with us, we see that their overall retention rates are two to three times higher when customers are trained than clients where we don’t see the same type of education coverage and activity.”