Customer Learning - What is it?

Customer Learning: What is it?

Barry Kelly
Jan 13, 2021 4:20:00 PM

Customer learning is a close cousin of customer education. The term is fairly self-explanatory, but here’s a nice definition of the latter from CELab

“The discipline of teaching customers how to use and find value from products. As a business function, it benefits customers in many stages of their journey. It strategically accelerates account and user growth by changing behaviors, reducing barriers to value, and improving the way people work.”

Now we have the lingo straight: What is customer learning? And why does it matter?

Whether you have been thinking about creating online courses or are just at the discovery stage, what you will read here will provide you with insights, research, and tips to help you navigate this exciting market.

Customer learning vs. e-Learning

The biggest difference between customer learning and traditional eLearning is that, as with any other customer purchase, quality and presentation are of utmost importance. The days of grabbing any old eLearning system off-the-shelf and adding some stock photography are long gone. Your customers want a multimedia, mobile-accessible, high-quality customer learning relationship and experience, and they want it anytime, anywhere.

In short, customer learning is eLearning plus real innovation and consumer-grade quality.

Customer learning by the numbers

Let’s take a closer look at the well-established eLearning industry and talk about what it can do for your business.

Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, the online education industry has been projected to reach $350 billion by 2025. After the shelter-in-place protocols were established, adoption of online customer learning management systems became an integral driver of business success. 

Here some more interesting statistics about the e-Learning industry:

  • The United States, India, China, South Korea, and the United Kingdom are the top countries that have invested most in eLearning.

Customer learning makes up a slice of this overall picture today but is growing at an aggressive pace.

  • TSIA published a new report by Maria Manning-Chapman that stated “80% of education organizations have seen an increase in virtual instructor-led training.”
  • When asked if customer training had increased in the past five years, 75% of respondents in the 2020 State of Customer Training Report said it had increased or significantly increased.  

The ROI of customer learning 

According to McKinsey, a SaaS company that only grows 20% has a 92% chance of ceasing to exist within a few years. And a customer learning management system, unlocks a treasure trove of benefits that will ensure increased adoption, profit, and overall growth.

The Technology Industries Services Association (TSIA) reports that with customer learning and training, 68% of customers use the product more, while 87% work more independently. This greatly benefits companies because these trained and learned customers eventually become brand ambassadors. Often, they share the expertise that they’ve developed in the app to new potential customers. 

These existing customers effectively become your sales staff, leading to customer base growth.

Brand reach reliably increases with customer learning. A platform with community capabilities and gamification allows for social interaction in real-time, and gives companies more flexibility in terms of engaging their customers whenever, wherever. Enterprises can  build their own global community within their platform and unlock more opportunities.

Moreover, companies with a customer learning platform have a 92% renewal rate. Considering that acquiring a new customer can be 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining existing ones, it’s not a surprise that renewals lead to more ROI for a company. In fact, according to Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, a 5% increase in renewal rate equals 25%-95% more profit!  

Three ways customer learning creates value

Customer learning platforms have seen a great deal of growth in recent times. Many have boosted numbers by offering free access to their services.

CentralReach, a leading provider of solutions for applied behavior analysis (ABA) clinicians and educators, has experienced massive growth since launching free access to their continuing education units (CEU) course. Nearly 50% of the clinicians in the ABA market have signed up (that’s 23,526 people), and their course enrollments have increased tenfold in a year.

Seismic has also seen some impressive growth by embracing customer learning. As the industry leader in marketing orchestration and sales enablement technology, the company launched Seismic University, aimed at supporting their customers during continuous education opportunities, platform onboarding, and SaaS technology mastery. With their new customer learning management system, Seismic certified 280 customers, saw 15,404 courses completed, and returned about 6500 hours to their CS teams. 

Broadly speaking, there are three ways customer learning provides value:

  • Training users how to use a product (how to create a landing page in Wix, for example)
  • Training users how to maximize the business impact of a product (how to create a high-converting landing page with HubSpot, for example)
  • Helping users become better professionals beyond your product (For example, "how to stand out as an inbound marketer in 2021, get certified!")

Whatever the approach, customer learning promises to expand into an exciting segment in eLearning. It’s time to explore the benefits of an educated customer base and discover how it can contribute to your business growth.

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