Customers are demanding product and skills training. If you aren’t offering training you’re missing out on a big opportunity to help your customers. In this article, Steve Penfold shares five reasons why you should invest in customer training.
You’ve got a fantastic product or service and you have a PDF user guide on your website to tell customers how to use it. Job done, right?
But why would vendors go to this trouble? Surely if a customer has bought into a product, they’re happy with it, right? Again, this could be a dangerous assumption. Here are five reasons why providing training to your customers is important.
1. Training teaches customers how to use a product
Just because you know your product inside and out, and its nuances and logic make perfect sense to you, it’s unwise to assume this will be the case for your customers. And the more sophisticated or complex a product is, the less intuitive it is likely to be.
I’m willing to bet you’ve used software and at some point you’ve hit a dead end. You’d obviously done something wrong (or the software let you take a wrong turn), and a cryptic error message popped up asking you to fix the mistake.
Maybe you were able to figure it out, or maybe you contacted a support representative who explained where you went wrong. In extreme cases, maybe you switched software vendors! Regardless, it wasted your time and probably had you cursing the product.
Providing training can minimize this kind of frustration and time wastage.
2. Training shows customers how to get added value from a product
Even if your customers are not running into problems when using your product, are they getting the most from it?
Perhaps there are features customers could use that would make their lives easier. Perhaps showing customers an alternative way to use the features they already know would open new opportunities for them.
Having untapped potential in your product does no good for you or your customers. The more empowered your customers are, the more likely it is that other potential customers will hear about your product and want it, too.
Providing training is a way for customers to extract the maximum value from your offering.
3. Training stops potentially unhappy customers from leaving (reduces churn)
Churn, or churn rate, is marketing-speak for the number of customers who leave a vendor, relative to the number who join. If you’ve changed insurer or mobile phone carrier because of dissatisfaction or because a better deal has lured you away, you’re part of those companies’ churn statistics.
Customers leaving you is bad. It’s generally accepted that it’s less expensive to maintain existing customers than it is to win new ones.
Losing a customer is a double whammy; you’ll lose ongoing revenue from that customer, and it’s unlikely they’ll be directing new customers to you.
Relevant training that excites and gives customers the tools and knowledge to do their jobs (or hobbies) better will keep them from churning.
4. Training delights customers and creates advocates
If customers who churn are at one end of the spectrum (the bad end), customers who are delighted are at the other end (the good end).
And similarly to dissatisfied customers who give you a double whammy, delighted customers can give you a double win! Not only will you continue to get revenue from a satisfied customer, but there’s every chance that customer will actively push other prospects your way.
Providing training can help delight customers and drive additional customers to you. Let your existing customers be your best marketing tool!
5. Training provides an opportunity to gain valuable customer feedback to improve product and customer experience
Training can give you invaluable insight into how your customers use your products and services.
Imagine that you have a library of how-to videos for certain features of your software product. You notice that one video in particular has been viewed 60 percent more than any other. What does this tell you? Perhaps that software feature is confusing and could be improved.
Perhaps one of the other videos hasn’t been viewed at all. This could be because the feature is already perfectly clear, but maybe it’s because customers don’t know the feature exists.
The ways customers interact with training may not always give definitive insights into what they’re thinking, but it’s an avenue of intelligence to prompt you to ask more questions and improve your offering.
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These five reasons for providing training on your products and services show that there are benefits for both you and your customers.
In case these haven’t convinced you, here’s one final thought. Think about how your customers would respond if your competitors started offering useful customer training as a value-add. Could that take some of your market share? If you think it would, then you should leverage the information in blogs like this to see how to start to build your training program — because it’s only a matter of time before your competitors will, if they haven’t already.