What Is a Customer Education LMS?
A customer education LMS, or customer education learning management system, is a solution that delivers and tracks educational content for external audiences, such as customers and partners.
This content may be delivered through a variety of content formats, and can be viewed as either live or virtual, on-demand sessions. Also known as customer training, a customer education LMS is intended to help organizations serve their customers better.
What Makes a Customer LMS Different From Other eLearning Platforms?
There are different types of training systems. Although they share similar objectives, the audience for which they are designed is a key differentiator.
For example, a learning system used for academic institutions to train students has different needs than one used for internal human resources to train employees. Even within an organization, an internal LMS has different needs from those built for external customers, partners, and stakeholders.
Ideally, your external customer education program should be supported by a modern learning management system that can help end-users see value as quickly as possible and avoid churning. There is a distinct benefit to investing in a customer education LMS for companies with the following goals:
- Provide user value through deep product knowledge
- Influence the way users process or work with your platform
- Serve diverse audiences with different roles and needs
- Inform users regularly on updated products with new features and functionality
- Increase upsell and cross-sell of product suite
- Reduce the burden on internal tech and customer support teams
If these goals sound familiar to you, read on for guidance on how to know if it’s time to invest in n a customer training LMS.
How You Know It’s Time for a Customer Education LMS
There are several reasons why an organization might want to implement a customer education LMS. Here are eight telling signs it’s time for a better training system.
1. You need a shorter time to value
Training and educational activities play a crucial role in onboarding customers and getting them to engage with your products and obtain long-term value. A lack of rapid product adoption is likely the number one challenge in the customer journey. A coordinated onboarding practice featuring curated content geared specifically to new customers can engage customers early on and considerably speed up time to value.
2. You need a better overall customer onboarding process
During initial onboarding, you have the opportunity to show users how your product works, how it benefits them, and why they should feel confident about choosing your product. An improved onboarding process will ultimately lead to higher product usage, higher renewal, and reduced churn. A customer education LMS can provide one system for disparate data that may be part of your customer onboarding process.
3. You need to improve your product adoption and engagement metrics
According to the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) research, trained customers are 68% more likely to use a product than untrained ones.
Customers are much more likely to adopt and engage with your product when equipped with the resources and support to find value in your offering long term. Even more so, when they can access this information on their own time through a self-service format or through a mix of live and on-demand training. Customer education teaches end-users about product benefits specific to their role or interest, and continually keeps them informed of the latest updates and features.
4. You need more flexibility and availability in training
Although instructor-led training (ILT) can be a great way to get started with customer education, on-demand training will allow you to reach more customers anywhere at any time for greater reach and impact. The time zone, geography, room capacity, and availability of instructors are no longer restrictions. Trainees can pick up and resume training at their discretion and review the material as frequently as they wish.
Further you can feature your strongest instructors in on-demand content, scaling their impact. Regardless of where they are located or when they attend training, customers worldwide can benefit from your best training.
5. You need to lower your training costs
By converting in-person training to on-demand learning via a customer training LMS, education becomes more cost-effective. The days of sending trainers across the country to conduct live sessions with customers are behind us. Setting up group trainings every time your company scales can be cost prohibitive, especially if your customers are located across the globe. With a customer training LMS, you can deliver online training materials continuously, so upfront costs expended on curriculum design and creation can continue to provide value without having to pay salaried trainers to deliver repetitive sessions.
6. Your support tickets are skyrocketing
Do your Customer Success or Customer Support teams get asked the same questions by customers repeatedly? It takes time and effort to deal with individual tickets and this can often lead to staff burnout. By developing training content that addresses these key areas, a customer education program can free CSMs up to focus on more strategic concerns with customers. It can also lead to fewer inbound tickets to Customer Support, which can also help cut down on costs.
7. Your business is scaling
If your company is small enough, you might be able to get by with a few Customer Success Managers who can attend to each customer’s needs. But as your company grows, this becomes unsustainable and training can no longer be individualized.
To handle the extra workload, a company could hire more CSMs. As an alternative, it can provide self-service on-demand training through a customer education LMS as part of a company-wide onboarding strategy. This will result in a reduction in the number of customer touches and improved team efficiency, without having to add additional CSM headcount.
8. You need to improve retention and renewal
A cohesive customer education program can help reduce customer churn and increase retention rates. Your customers become more invested in your product when they learn how to use it and see its benefits firsthand. By showing customers the value of your product, you increase their engagement, and as a result, create customer advocates. You can also help customers continuously benefit from your product through ongoing training, increasing the likelihood of renewals.
If you’re still reading, chances are many of the above situations resonate and your company is ready to reap the benefits of a customer education LMS. Make sure you consider these aspects when you research providers.
What to Look For in a Customer Education LMS
There are some key considerations to keep in mind as you look for in an external LMS to successfully scale your customer training program.
Your chosen LMS needs to support the growth of your business without sacrificing functionality or reliability. Before choosing a platform, consider the volume of users you will have, the type of content you will deliver, and the level of security you require, not just now, but three or five years from now. Make sure your LMS can grow with your company, and not experience downtime if you add a number of new users simultaneously.
This is particularly important since external learners are more likely to engage with content voluntarily if the system is easy to use. A user-friendly and intuitive LMS increases customers’ likelihood of completing coursework and returning for more. When evaluating a technology option, ensure that it offers customization, single sign on, curated learning paths, localization (if you have customers in different countries), and other features that will serve customer needs and provide them with an enjoyable experience.
A customer education LMS should easily integrate with other commonly used tools such as:
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems
You should be able to seamlessly merge your training data with your CRM, in real time, to uncover actionable insights for your training program.
Marketing & Sales Process Automation
You’ll want to automate marketing and sales emails and campaigns based on learning behaviors.
Content Management System
CMSs help you to create engaging, interactive courses and knowledge bases.
Using support queries, customer health scores, and community engagement networks helps you build a comprehensive education ecosystem.
Additional integrations that may be important depending on your type of business may include eCommerce and payment gateways, secure access and authentication, badges, testing, and certification, and others.
Reporting & Analytics
Advanced analytics lets you track a customer’s entire training path and then link it back to product behavior, such as how training impacts customer adoption, retention, and renewals. Reporting also empowers you with metrics to secure additional budget to improve and expand processes as you scale. Lastly, you can use analytics to determine what training content is working and what isn’t, and bring that information back to the content creator(s) to ensure your training program is best in class.
Are you looking for a customer education LMS that does all this and more? Skilljar’s external customer training LMS makes it easier to onboard, engage, and retain customers and partners. Our cloud-based learning management system has enabled businesses of all sizes to significantly improve their onboarding, engagement, and retention strategies.
If you’d like to learn more about how Skilljar works, watch our product videos.