Many companies use customer education and training to onboard customers and partners and increase time to value. Increasingly, training leaders that track the value of their programs discover that customer education contributes to overall business results as well, including revenue expansion, retention efforts for trained accounts, and support ticket deflection.
In fact, over 70 percent of learning professionals plan to do more to measure the many ways customer education influences revenue and profitability, according to our 2022 Customer Education Benchmarks and Trends Report.
This post covers seven metrics education leaders can use to improve customer success and demonstrate ROI for their customer and partner training programs.
Why Is It Important to Track Business Metrics To Prove ROI?
Customer education programs not only automate and scale the onboarding process for new users but also help keep them engaged throughout the customer journey. Therefore, tracking business metrics that relate to education programs helps make a case for ROI.
Education teams that track customer training metrics are able to:
- Drive Adoption: By providing consistent, comprehensive, and trackable customer training, training professionals are able to able to show the value of their education program with increased adoption and retention rates.
- Scale Resources: With the foundation for successful customer and partner engagement and enablement, they can scale their programs and proactively educate their customers and partners without additional resources or headcount.
- Grow Revenue: Training leaders can monetize current programs and accelerate results by putting customer health data at their team’s fingertips.
Next, we explain how training professionals are using these metrics, and more, to track customer success and demonstrate ROI for their programs.
7 Business Metrics to Track and Help Improve ROI
1. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
The most common metric used by external education teams to measure the success of their programs is customer satisfaction, with over 50 percent currently tracking CSAT scores, according to the Benchmarks Report.
CSAT for customer training is measured through customer feedback by asking a question or short survey that takes into account the learner’s opinion of the training, such as: On a scale of 1 – 5, how would you rate your overall satisfaction with this course?
It’s important to create an internal benchmark for customer satisfaction as a potential indicator of churn; a customer that is more satisfied with their training is more likely to use the product and therefore less likely to churn. The idea is to increase customer satisfaction scores through training.
Gong, a revenue intelligence platform, uses Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) scores as an important driver of success for their Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) programs. They look at CSAT scores based on persona, course, instructor, format (instructor-led vs self-paced, 1:1 versus 1:many), and what impact the training had on product usage.
The results are used by trainers to fine-tune their delivery, as well as instructional designers to see if there are any areas that need to be revised. Gong uses this information to iterate content to improve the training experience, and therefore, improve their CSAT score.
2. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Another popular business metric to measure the value of education programs is the Net Promoter Score. Nearly half of the customer training professionals who responded to the Benchmarks Report cited they track NPS.
A net promoter score is ascertained by asking customers one simple question: On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend (your brand) to a friend or colleague?
The more customers that respond with a higher number, the better the NPS score for the company. What’s more, the company can then set out to improve this score by listening to customer feedback and asking the same question again to compare scores.
Entelo, makers of real estate software solutions, set out to improve their NPS score by using Skilljar to help improve client satisfaction during one of the industry’s most turbulent times. In addition to significantly improving customer retention through customer education, Entelo increased its average NPS score by 200 percent taking it from “Good” to “World Class.”
3. Product Onboarding
Product onboarding scored highest in our Benchmarks Report for demonstrating training impact, with close to 80 percent of respondents indicating they have seen a correlation between customer training and product onboarding.
Product onboarding also ranked among the most popular business metrics used to track the success of education programs, with 35 percent of learning professionals saying they currently measure improvement in onboarding success and nearly 50 percent indicating they would like to track it.
Product onboarding is key throughout the entire customer journey, but particularly in the early stages of time-to-first-value and adoption. The faster training teams can engage a customer and demonstrate product value, the more likely they are to retain customers.
Product onboarding can take on many different forms–from a few FAQs in a Help Center to formal Instructor-Led or VILT programs.
Many companies, like Gainsight, find that when they scale quickly, 1:1 onboarding sessions with customer success managers and Help Centers are not sufficient to keep up with user demand. Gainsight’s Director of Global Education Services, Lila Meyer, told us:
“Skilljar allows us to deliver a more robust set of training offerings so that our onboarding team can focus more on the technical aspects of customer projects, and our CSMs can partner with clients on strategy, rather than doing ad hoc training.”
4. Customer Retention
Tying customer education to customer retention is another way to prove the impact of training programs. Nearly three-quarters of our survey respondents saw a correlation between customer training and customer retention, and nearly 50 percent said they would like to track improved customer retention as a success metric for their education programs in the future.
Customer retention is fairly simple to track– either customers continue to use a product (renew) or they churn. User surveys are commonly incorporated into training programs to assess customer and partner satisfaction.
Business metrics that help measure the impact of training programs on customer retention, along with lead generation and revenue, include:
- Onboarding metrics that include time to first value and between key implementation milestones, attach rate, average number of users, and completion rates by account
- Continued engagement and expansion metrics that include the number of students enrolled in training, number of course completions and certifications, number of hours engaged with training, and number of customer renewals/upsells.
Over 70 percent of respondents plan to do more to measure the multiple ways that customer education influences revenue and profitability, which includes revenue expansion, retention efforts for trained accounts, and support ticket deflection.
Skilljar customers have found that customer and partner training is a proven way to scale businesses. There comes a point for every growing startup when the existing support and customer success teams can no longer address customer needs on a 1:1 basis and the move to an automated, self-service platform becomes necessary.
One of the reasons Asana chose Skilljar was to help prove the correlation between education and a return on investment.
On a company-wide level, Skilljar has given Asana a way to massively scale the delivery of education to its customers. Over the last two years, they’ve doubled the number of customers who are coming through Asana Academy each month and have been able to tie the types of learning experiences customers are consuming to product behavior and usage metrics including net retention revenue (NRR).
Asana has also been able to draw connections that prove the impact of its education programs by identifying opportunities for new business and expansion within accounts.
5. Support costs
More than one-quarter of the respondents in our Benchmarks Report said they are currently tracking the success of their education programs to support costs, while 50 percent said they would like to do so.
Providing technical support through live admins grows more expensive as a company scales because more staff is required to answer user questions.
Skilljar customers are able to direct many common questions that users have about getting started with the product through automated training. By analyzing support call data, they can create courses specifically tailored to addressing these key concerns such as how to log in, find the information they are looking for, use the main features, etc.
The EdTech platform Clever reduced support tickets by 25 percent by scaling customer education with Skilljar. Blair Mishleau, Sr. Customer Education Manager for Clever, explains:
“Live training requires tons of resourcing every time we lead it, but a strong Clever Academy course can be built and shared at scale, available for users 24/7 when it’s convenient for them.”
Clever offers various program types in their academy, such as quick-start guides that offer a no-frills explanation of specific functions like setting up the dashboard, or “getting started” guides to help their users answer questions on their own, rather than reach out to the support team.
6. Employee satisfaction
Some companies use a learning management system (LMS) to offer external training to their customers as well as internal product training for their employees.
As a company scales and adds headcount, new employees need to be onboarded on product features, sales enablement, and other items outside of traditional HR onboarding. The more employees can understand product benefits, the better job they can do to ensure customers derive value from their solution.
While this metric scored lowest in our Benchmarks Report for current or future tracking, since most of the respondents were focused on customer training, there are still some benefits of employee training leading to employee satisfaction and overall business outcomes.
Real world example:
Julie Badger is the Director of Product Learning Experience for IPRO, an eDiscovery and governance solution for the legal industry. IPRO Learning Center is their customer-facing site, but they also use Skilljar to power IPRO Academy for internal employee education.
They knew as a growing company that, in order to scale, they had to move from live 1:1 private customer training to a nearly 100 percent self-guided online learning model.
“The Skilljar dashboard is super easy to use,” said Badger. “We’re doing a LOT with this tool: external customer training, internal employee product training, pay-per-seat courses, subscription plans, learning paths, and lots of free courses. Skilljar handles all of it and we still don’t feel like the system is burdensome even though we’ve grown our course count to well over 150.”
7. Product adoption (Bonus Metric!)
Not yet convinced that customer training impacts business outcomes? Here’s a bonus metric to consider: product adoption.
Software companies are often challenged with customers that sign on to their product, but then rarely use or take advantage of its features. This can eventually lead to churn, so it’s important to measure how many customers are actually using the product, and how quickly they adopt.
Seventy-seven percent of our survey respondents indicated there is a positive correlation between customers who consume training and improved product adoption.
By providing consistent, comprehensive, and trackable customer training, Skilljar customers are able to show the value of their education program with increased product adoption and retention rates.
One way Skilljar customers drive product adoption is with custom learning paths to create personalized learner experiences. There may be different ways customers interact with and gain value from a product. Creating customized learning paths for different products, features, or even user types can help demonstrate the true value of that product and help it become ingrained in the customers’ daily business interactions.
Businesses that track these seven metrics and tie them to business outcomes will have greater success justifying and keeping their education programs, and making improvements and enhancements based on user insights.
Want to learn more about how your education program stacks up with the rest of the industry? Download our 2022 Customer Education Benchmark and Trends Report.