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Customer Education Expert Q&A Series: Giovanna Cruz, MakeMusic

Customer Education Expert Q&A Series: Giovanna Cruz, MakeMusic

Giovanna Cruz
June 8, 2020
Customer Spotlight
Training Strategy

There is a lot of uncertainty in the world, and Customer Educators are adapting to keep up with constantly changing business priorities. We’ve asked our customers what they’re doing to cope with the current global landscape and how their work has been changing. In this edition, Giovanna Cruz, Manager, Customer Success at MakeMusic, shares her insights.

Tell us a little bit about your company. How do you leverage customer education to support your customers and/or the industry?

Giovanna: MakeMusic is a world leader in music technology. We are a software company that makes products for musicians and music educators. Our mission is to develop innovative solutions that transform how music is composed, taught, learned, and performed. Specifically, our SmartMusic product connects teachers and students mostly in K-12 environments so that teachers can facilitate student practice and growth. Several universities have also adopted the use of SmartMusic to teach subjects such as aural skills.

We have the largest library of multi-publisher sheet music online and a myriad of practice, assessment, composition, and sight-reading tools to make music learning interactive. There has always been a demand for teacher and administrator training on the use of SmartMusic which we used to satisfy with in-person and VILT offerings like webinars. Since most training requests hit around the beginning of the school year -and usually during the same week!- we needed a way to standardize and scale our offering. With that in mind and the lessons gathered from our first attempt at online learning, we launched the SmartMusic Academy in 2019 in partnership with Skilljar. Through SmartMusic Academy we offer free courses in SmartMusic product education and music education in general in a format that is accessible by our customers anywhere and anytime. Teachers are busy people, so our courses leverage microlearning, delivering content and videos that can be consumed in short amounts of time.

How have customer learning behaviors changed since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak? What new demands are you hearing from your customers?

COVID-19 prompted the closure of schools around the country to prevent the uncontrolled spread of the disease and to help flatten the curve. Classes were not canceled, however, just shifted to a remote learning model. With that, came an increased demand for a solution that would allow music educators to carry on their classes online. We offered our SmartMusic product for free through June 30th so we could help teachers and students everywhere remain connected and continue learning while being at home. Teachers had to learn very quickly how to get started using SmartMusic and having our Academy already up and running allowed thousands of new teachers to get ramped up fast. We’ve seen increased enrollment and completion of our free courses, which are available on-demand, as well as increased adoption of our solution.

How is your Customer Education team adapting to help customers right now? What are you doing to increase your impact? What accommodations are you making?

While our SmartMusic Academy content has been free from the start, our training webinars have always been paid. During the height of the school closures in mid-March, we made webinars free as well and offered a series of them to train hundreds of educators on the use of our platform.

We also have surveys at the end of many of our courses and we’ve learned through feedback what it is that teachers want to learn next. As an example, thanks to that feedback we created a course that allows teachers to experience the student side of our application. The response to that has been great as well.

How do you think this will change your operations moving forward?

With the uncertainty surrounding the beginning of the new school year and whether teachers and students will return to the classroom, we see a great opportunity for market capture and increased adoption of our solution. In terms of training, we see an opportunity to offer additional courses that engage our customers more deeply with our advanced features. Our content creation will likely have a ‘less produced’ feel as we as a company, as so many, are still working from home, but we feel that this new reality will also lend extra authenticity to the content that we share.

What new colleagues are you engaging with that you haven’t worked with before?

We’ve always been a very collaborative bunch, and I’ve worked with marketing, sales, product, and support teams to produce and vet our content and satisfy our customers’ needs. I look forward to even more collaboration with these colleagues.

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