How do you define who your “best customers” are? For most SaaS companies, the best customers could be those who adopt the fastest, use the solutions more, and have a high lifetime value. Others could consider “customer champions” and “raving fans” best customers because they love your product and are willing to shout about it–through word of mouth, social media, and other vehicles.
We happen to know a thing or two about customer champions and fans, because we’re fortunate enough to have more than a few. So we wanted to know what they think makes a customer a “best” customer. We weren’t too surprised when they all shared one common ingredient–customer training.
At Skilljar, we believe trained customers are your best customers. It’s not just a tagline, it’s common sense. When you invest in customer training for onboarding and product adoption, you are, by definition, creating your best customers–those who are engaged, get more value from the products they own, don’t churn, and are willing to spread the word about how great your product is.
I’d like to share the points of view from a number of our amazing customer champions. They represent some of the most successful customer-centric organizations and they agree with us that their trained customers are their best customers.
Why are trained customers your best customers?
1. “Most engaged and fun to work with”
Jill Glynn, Manager Scaled Education, LinkedIn Learning Center
Trained customers are your best customers because they’re most engaged with your product and the most fun to work with.
“Customer education is really at the center of LinkedIn’s success because we are focused on providing customer value at massive scale. We’re always thinking of ways we can meet our customers where they are and empower them with the tools, techniques, strategies, and skills they need to be successful, both using our products and also in their profession. Our goal for LinkedIn learning is for customers to feel confident, have fun, and feel empowered. Our customer education program at LinkedIn is focused on providing a red carpet experience at scale for our biggest, most strategic customers, as well as our smallest customers.”
2. “Cultivate advocates with deep product mastery”
Carla Bagdonas, Customer Engagement Program Lead, Asana Academy
Trained customers are our happiest, healthiest customers.
“At Asana, we think of customer education as a force multiplier for our customer success team. It works as a scale engine across the whole breadth of the business, particularly for our CSMs working with our highest value, enterprise accounts. Our trained customers cultivate deep mastery of our product and become advocates and champions for Asana. In fact, one of the primary referral sources to our Asana ambassador program is our learning platform, Asana Academy. Training correlates with broader business metrics like adoption retention, deal size, and net retention revenue (NRR).”
3. “Faster time to value”
Stephanie Pellegrino, Director of Customer Training & Education, Gong Academy
Trained customers have a faster time to value and result in reduced support costs.
“Our customers need help scaling their businesses faster, so time to value is of the utmost importance. Customer education is really important to the success of Gong because we’re not successful if our customers aren’t successful. One of the key ways we make our customers successful is to make sure we are training them on what they need to know to leverage our product–from pre-sales all the way to renewal. Our best customers know not just how to use their product, but how to engage best practices and leverage the product strategically for better results. Every day I ask myself, How do I engage customers? And once I’ve engaged them, what do I need to do to retain them? Customer training helps me answer both of these questions. If my customers are on the best path then that means that I’m on the best path too.”
4. “Fewer support tickets”
Burt Lamar, Sr. Director, Learning & Development, Apprentice
Our best customers have the greatest customer experience and the greatest level of product knowledge, which is imperative in the life sciences industry.
“Thanks to customer training efforts, customers are actually understanding our product and are able to use our system at a more advanced level. Training has had a tremendous impact on customer retention. There is a clear indication that those customers who have fully embraced and are using our training are having the greatest success with our product. When we get an RFP from potential customers, they literally ask us, what is the training? Trained customers result in fewer support tickets. We see very few ‘how-to’ questions about how to actually interact or use the product.”
5. “Growing partner businesses”
Mary Kidd, Customer Operations Systems Manager, Alarm.com
Trained customers are our best customers because they’re the most educated and are able to really grow their businesses based on the educational programs and services we offer.
“Attending a webinar or getting product certified allows our service provider partners to go out to their customers and provide them with the support they need. Installations and troubleshooting become way more efficient, plus, they’re able to better retain and upsell their customers using our products and services. Customer training has always been viewed very highly within our executive team. We’ve been able to demonstrate the impact of our training through fewer support interactions and lower call volume as well as increasing product adoption. Success is embodied through the impact we see in product engagement, adoption, and retention. And it’s also all about seeing our partners succeed. One of our biggest priorities is enabling our partners. Skilljar has been phenomenal in helping us build out our program and see the full picture of our training impact.”
6. “Onboarding success in the first 90 days”
Taylor Spangler, Director of Customer Education, Feathr Academy
Trained customers are our best customers because they take the heat off of our customer success managers who were getting burnt out on live training as we were growing the company.
“Customer education is important to Feathr because it’s helping us scale and allow our customer success managers to have more strategic conversations, reduce support tickets for those basic how-to questions, and help our customers discover more things they can do with our product on their own. Success for our customer education program is helping customers get to those aha moments by getting the most value out of the product they purchased. Our dream is that we help our customers get promoted in their jobs. Everyone in our company loves hearing about the success our customers have in the first 90-days of onboarding in terms of NPS, customer effort scores, along with really positive qualitative feedback on our live training.”
7. “Improved gross margin and net retention”
Brandon Carroll, Founder, Grow Product Adoption
Trained customers are your best customers because they result in greater product adoption which leads to improved gross margin and net retention.
“Customer training allows you to scale and create more best customers because it helps drive desired customer outcomes and predictable adoption of your products. There are many ancillary benefits of customer education including helping to onboard new hires as well as new employees, and having a standardized way of doing product education and enablement, all of which help to improve gross margin as well. The main focus though, of investing in customer training, I believe, is driven by the product adoption that connects with net retention. Skilljar is the future. I’ve never been so bullish on a software product.”
We see it every day in our business. Our customers are creating their best customers through scaled product training and education. I think the question most businesses should be asking themselves is what are we doing to create our best customers?
See more stories from Skilljar customers who are realizing the value of trained customers.
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