The 7 Areas of Designing & Growing a Customer Education Program
Here at SaaS Academy Advisors, we define Customer Education as:
Any purposeful and organized content designed to impart attitudes, knowledge, and skills to customers.
When you want to invest in customer education, you do it in service of a greater goal. This is why understanding the definition of a customer education program matters too.
Here's a definition of a Customer Education Program:
Strategic initiatives by organizations to educate customers in service of improving top and bottom-line business metrics. The end goal is to improve retention, upselling, cross-selling, product usage, etc.
“Αs the leader of a customer education program, it is very important to consistently reinforce the purpose, the mission, and the principles.” Chris LoDolce
Above all, a leader needs to have the right mindset. Education and training professionals with excellent learning programs embody extreme ownership, take responsibility, and exude excitement for their job. Their focus isn't just around teaching people how to use the product, but for the impact ecosystem learning can have on the learners' lives and the business.
According to ProductPlan, program management is defined as:
Program Management is an organizational function that oversees a group of individual projects linked together through a shared organizational goal or common area of impact. This programmatic grouping of multiple projects provides synergy, consistent management, and greater visibility to stakeholders than individually managed projects.
As a part of the program management, learning professionals must do the following:
According to ProductPlan, stakeholder management is defined as:
Stakeholder management is the process of identifying, prioritizing, and engaging stakeholders throughout the product development process. It’s an essential component of product management because stakeholders – the individuals or groups who can either impact the success and execution or impact the product – ultimately play a significant role in a product’s life.
While it isn't a common used paralallel, building a customer education department or corporate academy division is a lot like building a product.
And similar to building a product, a CE program won't drive value if it is built in a vacuum.
Learning leaders need to think about how their education programs align with the organization's various departments (sales, marketing, customer success, and produt) and how it can help them to do their job better or achieve their metrics easier.
It's improtant to recognize that program's may need to pivot when priorities and resources change so that it still brings value to the business where it needs it most.
For stakeholder management, build out:
First, you build your team, and then you design the customer education program.
Content design and development should include:
This section is all about the tech tools you use when creating the customer education program.
Remember that each time you add another piece of software to your tech stack, it will most probably make things more complicated for your processes. Ask what’s going to happen if you get rid of that tool. Will it make things harder or easier? Could you replace it with a more beneficial tool?
The following teams can use your content to make their jobs easier:
[Ready to grow your education program? Download our Marketing Your Corporate Academy Templates to help you track your growth, experiment with confidence, gather ideas for a backlog, and successfully launch your program.]
An overlooked part of customer education is how you'll support your learners.
Full customer education support includes technical issues (like login or badge inquiries), and content discussion.
Give multi-channel opportunities for communication with learners. It’s essential to find ways (e.g., through a discussion forum in your LMS or emails) to open up the lines of communication and show customers you’re there for them.
When the teams engage with their learners, they understand their needs, obstacles, and questions better which results in better content.
When getting started building a customer education program, ask yourself:
Deciding this from the onset will make expectations clear and streamine your team's workflows.