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How Customer Education Can Support Other Key Functions

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Daniel Quick
November 29, 2022
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Every time a customer or a prospect comes into contact with your brand, they are learning something. From speaking to a Sales rep, catching up at the quarterly review with a CSM, or reading a social media post created by the Marketing team, they are always learning about your business. As a result, it’s important for Customer Education stakeholders to provide cross-functional support to the other areas of the organization. They should make sure that everyone’s aligned in their learning goals, and provides the same message on product value.

In The Customer Education Playbook: How Leading Companies Engage, Convert and Retain Customers, Barry Kelly and I discuss how to foster shared ownership. Don’t forget to grab your own copy!

Keep reading to learn more about how to use Customer Education to support various functions across the organization. With this strategy, you can drive powerful results by delivering learning experiences that nurture prospects through to brand champions. 

Drive Customer Education Cross-Functional Support Across Teams

If all employees take a role in education, it’s important to ensure everyone has the requisite amount of knowledge and skills. Internally gaining and sharing knowledge around the product, domain, craft, and types of jobs that your customers have to do helps all teams and employees to gain credibility, generate more enthusiasm, nurture more empathy and develop more confidence – ultimately becoming better educators. 

So, who is Customer Education best placed to support cross-functionally, and how?

Sales

The sales team often includes the first real people that prospects engage with once they’re finished with their own research. That means there is a lot of pressure on their shoulders. Customer Education should work closely with Sales Enablement to help Sales reps to: 

Better present the product: What is the value proposition, and which pain points does it relieve for the prospect?

Improve the demo: Align the demo and POC experience with the learning needs of prospects. 

Overcome objections: Understand objection handling ahead of time, and step into sales meetings two steps ahead to close deals faster. 

Customer Education can do this by offering Sales teams content and knowledge around how the product works. This content can also convey the most common challenges that customers are hoping to solve, plus expertise for creating exceptional demos and presentations.

As a result, Sales reps will be able to reach prospects in a way that wins their trust.

Customer Support

Depending on the technical proficiency of your Customer Education team, you can help teach customer support reps technical aspects of the product. You can also aid in best practices for answering FAQs. This is especially important when onboarding new technical support staff. Ultimately, you can reduce the learning curve and ensure everyone is aligned on product value and messaging. 

Customer Education can also highlight elements of the product which customers are struggling with and provide solutions optimized for learning. Let’s say the same onboarding questions are coming up time and time again in support calls. Customer Education can take this information and add content to the onboarding course to alleviate this friction altogether.

Perhaps most importantly, customer education can also enable customer support with documentation and job aids to resolve customer pain. You could set up auto-replies to common queries with tutorials, how-to’s or walkthroughs attached. Offering simple self-serve responses that delight the user and deflect support tickets helps support teams in a major way. 

Marketing

Marketing and Customer Education are an obvious fit. Customer Education can work with Marketing teams to uncover customer value and align with new updates and features to create effective content that educates as well as sells. 

From thought leadership to product release notes, Customer Education can help connect the product to problems customers want to solve.

Human Resources

Hiring managers and HR reps are tasked with helping new employees to hit the ground running, but this isn’t easy. Alongside the practical side of things, getting documentation signed and sealed, setting up employees on the right systems with their credentials and access, it can be hard to consider getting them up to speed with the product and its value as well! 

Here is where Customer Education can step in and shine. You can provide new hires with a fundamental understanding of the product, its value, and why customers use it. Ultimately, this helps them to get onboarded quicker. This will directly align their own introduction to the product with the learning needs of the customer, helping them to offer value from their first interactions. 

Break Silos with Customer Education Cross-Functional Collaboration

In many organizations, Customer Education exists as a siloed team, and doesn’t interact with or impact the work of Sales, Marketing, HR, or Support. 

I believe these organizations are missing a trick. 

By converging the work and the mindset of these teams to align with customer needs, the organization can come together to work as a powerful whole.

Interested in learning how to give the Customer Education function a more impactful seat at the table in your own company? Get hold of your own copy of The Customer Education Playbook here. 

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