Skilljar Coffee Chats showcase different ways customers are using our platform, including presentations from internal “Skillets,” who are experts in helping our customers find success with their programs. This month’s Customer Education Coffee Chat, hosted by Cutler Bleecker, Skilljar’s Customer Training Manager, featured a conversation with Spencer Schumacher, Solutions Engineer for Skilljar.
Integrations are crucial to a successful customer education program because they enable best-in-class tools and solutions to work with the software you already use for a seamless customer experience. Skilljar’s suite of integrations includes tools for CRM, marketing and sales process automation, content management systems, eCommerce and payment gateways, customer experience, secure access and authentication, business intelligence and workflows, certification, and more.
In this coffee chat, Spencer presented integration options for help centers, certifications, and community. Spencer also discussed how iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) solutions make it easier to automate business processes and share data across applications. For each topic, Spencer shared a “crawl, walk, run” approach for further automating and enhancing your customer education platform using integrations.
So grab your coffee and read the recap!
Integrations for Help Centers and Knowledge Bases
Tools to help build your help center or knowledge base include Zendesk and Salesforce Knowledge. Spencer explained how the easiest way to get started integrating these with your system (“crawl” approach) is to create deep links directly to your platform. He gave the example of how the Skilljar Help Center, powered by Zendesk, links to Skilljar Academy in our navigation header. The link to your system from the tool that powers your help center can also be a call to action, a contact link (mail to), or within the articles themselves. This could be in the form of a feature definition or additional product information to get people excited about the functional aspects of your offering.
Beyond showing people where to go for help articles or academy courses, the next phase (“walk” approach) for the help center is support ticketing. One way to do this is by surfacing historical training content as is relevant to the user’s need. For Skilljar, this is provided through our Zendesk integration.
If a user opens a support ticket in Zendesk and their email matches a support email that’s been opened, it will surface the training that user has taken. You can use this same type of widget with Salesforce data if you’re using Salesforce Service Cloud. In addition, your support reps can be armed with these deep links when they are responding to a user or closing out a support ticket. You could also use this data to identify courses or articles that can solve a recurring pain point the reps are seeing.
These data points also help you to identify the top support queries that on-demand courses can address. For example, Skilljar created a series of microlearning — short-form courses and “Quick Tips”– to address the top support tickets that were opened each quarter. This would be more of the “run” approach once you’ve incorporated deep links and armed the support staff with these resources.
Crawl – Knowledge base (use of deep linking)
Walk – Support ticketing (surface historical training)
Run – On-demand courses that reflect top support inquiries (support ticket deflection)
Integrations for Certification/Badging
The “crawl” approach entails using certification as a means to solve an engagement problem. If you identify low enrollment or course falloffs through your Skilljar analytics, you can aggregate this data across an entire course, and across courses, to learn what is most and least popular with users.
Attaching a certification to a course can incentivize them to finish as well as help with lead generation and awareness by driving prospects to a course on a particular topic of interest. This approach uses the native Skilljar certification engine for built-in assessment tools and verifiable badges and certificates, which can be shared on a user’s LinkedIn profile.
Spencer shared a demo of how this works for Qualtrics, which has a learning path that leads into a certification course at the end of the path. Once a user gets their certification, they can post it to their LinkedIn profile, which promotes brand awareness for Qualtrics.
If you’re looking to get started with certifications and badging, identify where there is an engagement problem or use the native Skilljar certifications to get started.— Spencer Schumacher
The “run” approach is about extending your program to badging. Here, you can integrate with Credly or Accredible for more advanced-tiered badging options for customers, partners, and anyone taking your training. (You can learn more about this at the Skilljar Walkthrough site.)
Crawl – Analyze course analytics for drop off (identify if engagement problem)
Walk – Native Skilljar certifications (lead generation, brand awareness)
Run – Extend to badging (more incentives for learners to complete training and share their achievements)
Integrations for Community
Whether you’re looking to add a community element to your program or give your existing one a lift, integrations can help.
As with the Help Center, the “crawl” approach here is deep linking. Spencer showed the example of Planet’s community, powered by inSided, which deep links to their university from the community header. The beauty of an integration is, it doesn’t require any developing or coding expertise. You’re simply adding a hyperlink to guide people from the community to engage in your learning platform.
After you’ve guided people to find learning content, how can you increase the reach and impact of training materials? Leveraging tags and federated search to surface training so users can easily find what they need is the next phase, or “walk” approach, to community integrations. The impact of the right training is surfaced from the search for the right users at the right time.
The “run” approach to community is creating a unified learner experience across your education program. Many Skilljar customers, including Gong, have used this approach. When you have cohesive branding across platforms, wherever you go in the experience has the same look and feel. A user arrives through Single Sign-On (SSO), and no matter where they go between your assets, it feels like a unified experience.
Crawl – Deep linking
Walk – Tags/Federated Search (increased reach and impact of training materials)
Run – Cohesive branding across platforms (unified learner experience across education program)
Integrations Made Possible with iPaaS
iPaaS, or Integration Platform as a Service, may sound like the buzzword du jour, but it’s made the lives of many customer education professionals much easier! These tools serve as the glue for your integrations and remove the need for a developer with out-of-the-box plugins for Skilljar that allow you to automate functions and scale. iPaaS tools were designed to remove the need for development resources, allowing for more complex functionality with no coding required.
The “crawl” approach to iPaaS is to identify the manual processes you go through that could be automated. What are those pain points? Maybe it’s moving a user from one group to another when they complete a course. You can leverage a popular iPaaS tool like Zapier or Workato, which may already be in use at your company by the RevOps or Sales team.
iPaaS integrations for Skilljar.
As the “walk” approach, Skilljar customers can work with their CSMs to use iPaaS tools that work well with Skilljar to solve their pain points and automate specific use cases. The “run” approach is to automate processes to free up internal resources by eliminating these manual workflows.
Crawl – Identify manual processes that are time consuming (pain points that need to be addressed)
Walk – Bring identified pain points to CSM (validate with Skilljar experts)
Run – Automate business processes with iPaaS (free up internal resources or eliminate manual workflows)
The most common integrations Spencer sees for help centers are Zendesk and Salesforce Service Cloud, and for certification, Credly and Accredible. Deep linking is a great way to get started making the most of your integrations, for both the help desk and certifications/badging. For community, Influitive and inSided are great options, depending on your community strategy.
As far as iPaaS tools, Zapier, Workato, and Tray.io are leaders but there are hundreds of tools available because of their disruptive nature. And why not? They really make integrations much easier to use and improve the experience for everyone using your software.