What is customer education
Customer education is when you strategically use education to drive user behaviors that support your business goals. Done right, it accelerates user maturity and growth throughout the customer journey.
Why you need a customer education strategy🎓
Customer education is more than just teaching customers how to use your product. It refers to the entire customer learning journey before, during, and after the sale.
A customer education program often grows organically inside startups without them realizing. It's usually a way of closing the gap between what you already know and what your customers should know to be successful. Put it this way: customer success often depends on factors outside of your product. If a client doesn't know how to do email marketing, they probably won't have much use of your email marketing tool.
On the other side of the coin, most companies are also already doing at least one form of content marketing. It's necessary to educate customers on their problems and the possible solution impact before being able to sell. Hubspot for example created an inbound marketing tool when people didn't know what inbound marketing was. Hubspot academy taught people the why, how and what behind it.
However, separating customer education across departments is missing the strategic point, which is to influence and shape user behaviors to motivate decision-making and to help them succeed better.
When does customer education make sense for you?
You want to eliminate customer churn
Why do customers churn? Because they don't get value from your product. On average 49% of software clients don't use the products they are already paying for because they are to hard to set up.
Your customers don't understand your product
Do you have a complex product? Perhaps you're in a relatively unknown market. So how do you go about selling data science products to companies who might not understand completely what that means?
Your customer support is overloaded
Are you tired of getting the same questions again and again? Maybe you're wondering how to scale your support organization as you keep growing? Education is the solution to automate support and win back time.
Why do customers churn?
The benefits of a customer education program 💡
#1 Improve lifetime value
Boost customer lifetime value by increasing the average revenue per customer as well as the lifetime. You can even improve profitability by lowering acquisition costs.
#2 Drive renewals & expansion revenue
Prompt customers to upgrade their software package. Show them the value of more advanced features and how to use them to drive product adoption.
#3 Win back time on customer support
Improve customer self-help with onboarding and success content. Avoid spending time on returning support requests.
#4 Generate demand & boost conversions
Teach customers the value of your solution. Educate them on the problems they are facing and how your software is able to help them overcome that.
#5 Scale customer onboarding and drive success
Set up a repeatable onboarding process that ensures quality. Give your users personalized documentation to fast-track their success.
#6 Stop customer churn and create power users
Reduce your churn rate by showing customers how to get value from your product. Once you're able to identify power users, you can leverage those insights to grow!
How does customer education work? 🔎
How can education grow your business? We provide the framework for rapid experimentation and testing to validate or debunk assumptions about your target group's behavior.
We create engaging learning experiences to motivate target group behaviors that help you grow. A perfect content mix, to move learners from unaware into product experts in an entertaining way.
Our technology helps you provide personalized learning experiences at massive scale. You can use it to generate leads, drive user engagement and even partner training. And you don't even have to worry about how! We'll set it up for you!
Educated customers are 68% more likely to use a product
How to set up a customer Education strategy 🎯
1) Set up your customer education team
If you want your customer education strategy to succeed you need to have a team first. Make sure there is at least one person responsible for customer education. Depending on the size of your organization you can add members to the team from customer success, marketing, sales, and product management.
2) Empathize with your users
Before developing any content you should empathize with your users and define what knowledge they are missing to succeed. Assessing the maturity of your users will help you prioritize which content to create first.
3) Set your goals
You want to set goals that help your customer as well as your business. Think about which behavior you want to change, and how education might help you achieve that goal.
Business goal: Drive more engagement to feature X
Education goal: Teach learners how to use feature X
Customer education goal: Drive engagement to feature X by creating a course
4) Design a learning experiment
What assumption do you have? How do you think customer education will change behavior? Make sure you make the behavior change measurable. Decide on which metrics you are going to track to determine if the experiment is successful or not. Don't expect one blog to change behavior though. Your customer education program usually consists out of many different content pieces brought together.
5) Develop a minimum viable product (MVP)
Now it's time to create your content. Get together a representative test group and start testing content on them. In the beginning it's often good to start with real-life training so your test group can ask questions when something is not clear. This helps you anticipate similar behavior for similar audiences.
6) Measure the effect of customer education
Compare your trained versus untrained customers data. What is the effect of education on engagement or expansion rate for example? Depending on the goals you set for this program you will measure different things. A few methods you can use is test groups, or cohort analysis depending on your business model.
7) Launch, grow, and scale
After you're done testing and improving you can launch your education program out there! Here you formalize the content of your MVP so it can be distributed throughout your marketing or support channels. Make sure everything is error free or granny -proof as we like to say. Create a campaign around your content to amplify its reach and get the most out of it.
Tactics for more engaging customer education
This method uses the Hook Canvas from Nir Eyal. It works by triggering and rewarding the user in a continuous but unpredictable manner so they stay engaged throughout their entire lifecycle.
Self paced learning
Learning shouldn't feel like a duty. Users should be able to learn and leave whenever they want to.
Interactivity & personalization
Learning is different for everyone. That's why personalized learning based on decisions can help you achieve way more.
Here you use the power of community to learn. An example of this is a forum where customers can ask questions. This way you can react for the entire customer community, or in some cases other customers might have already answered for you!
Repetition is key in learning. Through micro-learning you get remembered key principles in a continuous matter.
We learn best by doing. That's what activation training stands for. Carefully implementing instructions and directions into your software can boost engagement immensely.
Trained customers are 78% less likely to submit service tickets
What metrics should you track? 📈
There are loads of different metrics you can measure to determine the effectiveness of your customer education program.
If you're focused on growth, revenue and lead generation will be more relevant. If you're trying to scale on the other hand, retention and support tickets will come first.
However, it will depend entirely on your primary business goals. Don't let it became metric mania, rather focus on what your primary growth drivers are.
Here we give some examples of metrics you could track and how they're calculated. Beware that some formulas might change according to your business structure.
Who should build a customer education program? 👥
Customer Success Teams
Customer education helps you scale customer success. We create programs to guide your users to value faster, and better! How do they get started with your product? What are best practices? How do you help your customers succeed in a scalable way?
Growth Driven Teams
Drive growth through customer education. By generating awareness and motivating product adoption you will increase lifetime value and profitability of your users.
Promoting a highly technical product can be challenging. We'll help you position your product and create messaging that resonates with your audience!
What content should you use for customer education? 📄
Customer education is all about scale. That doesn't mean however you can't ever directly interact with your customers anymore. Finding the right content mix is different for every company, and to be honest it mostly depends on your target audience. That being said here are some content forms we like to use and why.
Blogs allow you to use the power of storytelling to make topics interesting. Additionally, it's short and sweet and often the first interaction a customer will have with your content.
Podcast are the next big thing. Why? Because people can listen to it whilst doing something else like working out or cleaning. Inviting domain experts to discuss your industry is a great way of infotainment. It can also help you reach new people and build your audience.
Video is a great format for visual and auditory learners. It's also a bit more snackable than a long blog post. Video series are a personal favourite!
This literally tells your customers what to do, why they should do it and how. Ideal for goals like onboarding.
Templates can be a great way to help users in their learning journey. It can be something simple you use all day, or build though leadership like Strategyzer did with their business model canvas.
Similar to playbooks you can guide users through a series of actions to help them succeed. A checklist is the simplest version of this.
Keeping users engaged over email can be hard. However, it's a great channel to create micro-doses of learning. You can send weekly chapters, newsletters, exclusive tips and more to relevant target group segments.
A fully interactive E-course has its benefits. It takes away a lot of the custom work per clients. However, it might take a lot of time to develop and probably isn't the best choice for an MVP.
Always be preaching! Educate your customers constantly on social media so they know you're the expert on the topic. When their questions or needs would ever arise, you will be there to help them!
Speaking for groups of customers or prospects can be beneficial to create a larger sense of community. Some people prefer the personal treatment and in that case live labs are great.
A webinar isn't just for marketing purposes. This is a great opportunity to educate people about your product and industry. The great thing is it also offers a lot of repurposing possibilities.
Don't be afraid to repurpose slides you've used in a training or a talk before. It can give some great extra insights for visual learners.
Customers who joined an education program renew at a higher rate than untrained customers. (92% vs 82%)
What is a customer education engine? 🚀
A customer education engine is a scalable framework for growth. It's basically a platform where all your customer education content comes together. It can also help guide your users learning journey by offering learning options and pathways.
At Eduscale we have three main types of education engines. Depending on your business and education goals we'll guide you through making the right decision. What these platforms look like varies according to the needs of every customer and company.
customer Education hub
This is the first hub prospective customers will interact with. Your customer education hub is integrated into your website and contains content such as blogs, resources, E-guides and many more. Through your hub you build trust and brand differentiation.
On your customer education hub customers will get to discover your industry and your product. Your goal here is to make them aware that there is a problem, and you are offering a solution. You want to drive demand from your different target group segments. Offering content that is tailored to their unique jobs or scenarios will fast-track your way to conversion.
customer Education base
Your education base is integrated in your support base. It takes customer success to the next level with personalized product training, onboarding flows and more. Content is a bit more practical. With onboarding guides, product training and customer success playbooks you will accelerate time to value for your user and drop churn rates.
A slight variation we make to the customer education base is turning it into a customer suite. Here we involve your users in the creation of content through live labs, and community-driven learning. Nothing better to learn from than real-world examples!
Building your own online academy is one of the greatest moves you can make. Not only will it educate your customers on your industry, your product and its features. You can also employ it for partner training, employee onboarding and so on. This is how Hubspot made inbound marketing the new norm for companies and marketers all around the world. It generates leads, and drives success at the same time!
Certified online training programs save you tons of time you would normally spend in one-on-one training. It can help you automatically determine the knowledge level of all your stakeholders. Learners that get certified will also be proud referrers to your business and often times make up for the best marketing you could wish for, as they know your product and industry inside out.
Educated customers are upto 25 X more profitable than uneducated customers
Who are we? 👋
Eduscale is a customer education agency based in Belgium. We're a global remote team that help some of the fastest growing tech companies scale through customer education.
Eduscale is a spin off from creative & growth studio Idealist. After seeing a knowledge gap return between software users and software providers we decided to create a scalable solution. Our expertise in growth sprints and creative content marketing were put to the test for 8 straight months and over 90 experiments.
Today we can quickly build launch and scale education programs for technology companies around the world
About the founder
Jente is a born businessman. He started his journey as a student entrepreneur in 2017 with his agency Phelix Branding. After gaining some experience on small projects, he started growing his team to fill in more digital growth needs. He built an agency partner network to exchange expertise and value with other creators.
One year later Phelix started specializing in helping digital, technology and creative businesses grow. They created an agile acceleration framework for growth to maximize speed and profitability for startups.
In 2020 Jente became a full time entrepreneur. He founded creative startup studio Idealist in which he and his partners from Phelix use their growth framework to test, launch and scale creative solutions.
Eduscale became the first brand to spin off from this creative studio. Jente's background in content marketing, online training, and growth give him the perfect skill profile to lead this organization.