The true talent of the professional – in any endeavor – is to make the amazing look effortless. In today’s world where Google or Alexa can give you an answer nearly as fast as you can ask the question, the pressure on customer-facing departments to satisfy customer needs quickly is even greater. From the moment the customer starts leveraging your platform, your company is already solving their problems and the clock starts ticking towards satisfaction.
With online customer training, you’re taking the reins for those first interactions and you're quietly supporting the rest of the customer-facing engine through training cues. The problem is, when you’re doing your job so well, it’s hard to convince others that you need their support. When we talked to our customers recently, they talked about the struggle to get SME buy-in to help create training collateral. The first thought we had was, 'we hear you!'
It is so challenging to steal someone away from their day job to help with a task that doesn’t directly impact them, but does indirectly impact the entire organization in a big way.
While the customer trainers are experts in your industry, there are always areas where a more technical or strategic person within the organization might be needed to help hammer out a concept or idea. Unfortunately, everyone in the organization is busy acquiring new customers, renewing old customers, and innovating on your technology. To get that buy-in, you need to flip the narrative and emphasize that customer training impacts the entire ecosystem of your business and not only supports your customers towards success, but also your individual colleagues.
So, how do you remind them that their day job is directly improved by customer training so it’s worth that 30-60 minutes to help your team?
Instead of asking them for what you need for your customer training project, flip it to how the training is directly helping their clients and getting them more time to focus on more strategic priorities. Together, you are all driving your customers to success.
Emphasize that collaborating together on online training content and courses helps your customer-facing teams:
You can show them this by bringing the training data into focus, blending onboarding, and, as a result of both, opening up more time for strategic conversations because they’re spending less time on repeatable training tasks.
To paint this picture, you need to be pulling all that wonderful engagement data into view for your customer-facing teams. You could grant them access to the learning platform you’re leveraging, but that’s just one more piece of technology for them to learn and remember. What would be better is if your customer training platform integrates with the technology that customer-facing departments are using, like: Salesforce, Zendesk, Gainsight, and business intelligence tools. Then you’re bringing the full customer picture into their space and removing friction for them.
Your training is front-and-center for them when they are viewing an individual’s record and can reference available content or courses that relate to the problem at hand.
With customer-facing roles pointing to the online knowledge center as a reliable resource, customers will start adopting this as their self-service support line for instant gratification when it comes to their questions. Your knowledge center becomes Wikipedia or Google for your product.
Remind your colleagues that the more they reference training materials, the faster they are able to resolve customer problems and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a leader in Customer Success or Customer Experience who isn’t watching that time-to-resolution (TTR) number as a leading indicator of their departments’ efficiency.
We’ve written a bit around the value a well-integrated customer training initiative can have on your business, most recently around Salesforce. This is critical for your organization to fully feel the impact of online training on their individual goals and daily activities.
Tools like Salesforce, Zendesk, Gainsight, and BI Connector run your customer relationship departments and systems that play nicely together and set everyone up for success. These integrations bring your customer training data alongside client records or support tickets or other business data for a broader picture of that account.
For example, Thought Industries' Zendesk integration lets you display real-time data about a user's training that has been completed or that's in progress. While your company is providing live support, your technicians can glance at the learning rundown right next to the details on the trouble ticket, to better understand each individual's background and training on your product.
GainsightPX and Thought Industries integration offers more of a self-service option that helps reduce support tickets and gives clients a Google-like experience where they are offered the answer based on where they are within your technology. This self-service prevents them from submitting support tickets that might be a waste of your customer-facing peers' time and they can now use that time solving more strategic or complex customer requests.
A third type of integration that can be useful for helping staff work more effectively with customers is Thought Industries BI Connector. This brings your learning site data into your business intelligence tool for you to build more complex reports with data from other systems.
The goal is to help the person representing you at any given moment in a customer interaction achieve something amazing. Instead of sounding like an automaton reading through the steps in a knowledge base article – "Do you see the button labeled, 'Request time off'? Press that, please..." – your customer-facing role experts can have real, strategic conversations and come across as the professionals and advisors they are.
They are talking about how to apply your technology to their unique business case. They are looking through customer problems and technical questions from a different lens because they aren’t overwhelmed by answering the same questions hundreds of times.
"Let me send you a link to a 90-second video that lays out exactly how to do that. But I'm also going to provide a second link to a slightly longer video that shows you another way of setting up your self-service portal to make it easier for people in the organization to find what they're looking for 90 percent of the time..."
Again, your knowledge center can act as the epicenter of product information for your support staff to reference and help your customers self serve in the future. Maybe the engagement is less prescriptive. It may be that your customer success associate just wants to find out what's on the customer's mind.
"We noticed that you attended this webinar about the new functionality. Did anything stand out that you'd like to learn more about?"
When the customer training engine is running smoothly, the rest of the organization can focus on customer-specific interactions and look at new business opportunities within the existing client-base.
Anyone in customer training, or even just anyone generally, at a large organization knows the challenge of breaking down silos to get broader organizational buy-in to initiatives. Customer training is critical to customer success, especially in today’s instant-gratification economy where a machine in our home takes orders and the next morning the package arrives on our doorstep.
More than just helping your customers solve their problems faster, your online customer training supports your customer-facing roles in resolving support tickets faster and gives insight into areas of interest based on training materials. Those departments also give you, the customer training engine, new opportunities for training materials.
Get those customer-facing roles energized and excited to not only leverage your customer training, but support new ideas and initiatives by:
Once you’re all working together and feeling the benefits across the map, that’s when customer training gets really exciting and innovative.
Download this free eBook to learn how to turn customers into advocates.