Customer acquisition is often viewed as the primary driver of growth at many companies. However, there are several trends, the rise of the subscription business model being one, that are challenging this belief. As SaaS becomes the dominant model of software delivery and consumption, it’s becoming evident that customer retention and expansion are of paramount importance. By some estimations, it can cost five times more to acquire a new customer than keeping an existing one.
Customer Education can help you improve customer onboarding, increase customer engagement and retention, and decrease support costs. Understanding how often customers are taking advantage of your training resources, and which resources they are gravitating towards can provide essential insights into the state of your program and how beneficial (or not) it is for retaining customers. In this blog post, I will share several critical metrics to track, identify potential causes of low engagement, and offer initial steps to take to reverse that trend.
Customer Education Program Metrics to Track
You can bucket customer education metrics into two categories: metrics that help you run and optimize your program, and metrics that help you measure and communicate business impact. You can think of these as leading and lagging indicators of your program effectiveness respectively. Program optimization metrics reflect the current state of your customer education program, while business impact metrics measure the impact of your program on customer retention, lead generation, and revenue.
As you begin your assessment, there are a number of key data points to pay attention to that serve as leading and lagging indicators, including:
- Number of registrations by Course,
- Completion rate by Course,
- Number of customers actively consuming content,
- Percentage of users in each account consuming training,
- Consumption and completion rates by type of asset (eBooks, videos, case studies, toolkits, etc.), and
- Trends for the items above over time, by persona, and by account type.
Exception handling and trend identification are important when managing using these metrics. With that in mind, consider month-over-month comparisons across users within the same account, accounts with similar characteristics (based on size, vertical, industry, etc.), and users with similar roles across different accounts (based on level, job role, skillset, etc.)
If you notice your users largely aren’t engaging with training, that’s a warning sign. There are a few reasons why this is the state of your program:
Reason #1: Your customers don’t know the resources exist
If you notice that customers aren’t registering for courses or taking the initial steps required to engage with your training, it is worthwhile to connect with your Marketing and Customer Success Teams. Find out how (or if) they are promoting your education program. Are they sending out promotional emails, highlighting resources on social media, and/or directing customers to specific coursework based on their use case? If the answer to these questions is yes, great! If not, consider this a new opportunity for collaboration and start working with your teams to establish a multi-channel outreach strategy.
Reason #2: The value of the resources is not clear
Take a look at the headlines and titles of your content. Do they explicitly spell out the value that customers would derive if they engaged with the resource? “Customer Education 101” might be obvious to you, but it doesn’t tell your customer what they will find within that resource. Think along the lines of the following:
- “10 Things to Know Before Creating a Customer Education Program”
- “The Ultimate Checklist for Successfully Building a Customer Education Program”
- “Customer Testimonials: Learn how others are using Customer Education to achieve success”
The additional specificity in a title alone can go a long way towards engaging your desired audience. Sub-headers or short bullet points can also be effective to clarify value:
“In this eBook, you will learn:
- How to identify your strongest training resources
- A three-step process for repurposing existing content
- How to start collaborating with your marketing team to promote new content”
If you are still finding that customers aren’t engaged, even if the value is well-defined, it’s time to take a closer look at the resources you’ve produced.
Reason #3: The content isn’t engaging or relevant
Perhaps the most difficult challenge to identify and address is ineffective content. Especially if users aren’t engaging with training at all (versus starting and not completing), it can be baffling to understand where and what the issue is with your content. Your best bet? Ask your customers. Using Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, or time during your regular check-ins to dig in:
- Why aren’t you engaging with training?
- Do you have a preferred content format (or a strong dislike of one)?
- Are resources too long or too short?
- Do you find the training materials relevant to your work? Are they too broad or too specific?
While it can certainly seem painful to update, overhaul, or archive content, remember that your Customer Education program is like a skeleton key that has the ability to unlock many positive benefits for you and your users when it’s designed well.
You can learn more about how to assess the effectiveness of your Customer Education program by downloading our latest eBook below. For further information, you can also check out our comprehensive online guide to Customer Education.