How Customer Education Pros Certify Users to Build Advocacy and Loyalty

How Customer Education Pros Certify Users to Build Advocacy and Loyalty

April 30, 2024
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Acquiring users is just the start of their journey. The key to building brand loyalty is to transform them from passive participants into active brand advocates. Users engage when they feel a sense of accomplishment; not fulfilling this need leads to user disengagement and churn. But what if there was a way to harness this initial interest and convert users into lifelong advocates who organically promote your brand?

This article will outline the benefits of certifications and their impact on user advocacy and loyalty, as well as provide a roadmap for building your own successful program.

The difference between certificates and certification

Certificates and certifications both recognize learning accomplishments, but they have some important distinctions to understand — we'll break them down below.


A certificate is a document you typically receive after completing a class or a series of classes. It is official recognition that you've mastered the material covered in the training program. Earning a certificate can be based solely on completing the course, or it may require achieving a specific score on a final assessment or quiz.


In contrast to certificates, certifications are a more detailed validation of a learner's professional expertise or mastery of a specific skill set. Earning a certification usually involves demonstrating competence through a comprehensive examination.

Plus, some certifications require meeting predefined industry standards or criteria, ensuring a baseline level of proficiency. Certifications may also require ongoing education or passing a re-certification exam to maintain status, whereas earning a certificate is a one-time event.

Certifications can be valuable for specific types of content, such as skill-focused content, compliance-driven content, and complex topics.

More importantly, strong certifications establish credibility and expertise, fostering trust in your brand's authority and ability to deliver valuable learning experiences. This trust translates to loyal users who are more likely to recommend your brand and champion its value to others.

How certifications increase brand advocacy and loyalty

The benefits of certifications for people in the job market are well understood: increased marketability and greater knowledge. But there are also benefits to companies who offer certifications to users.

When a company invests in certifications for its customers, it sends a powerful message: a deep commitment to the quality and user experience of its product. This dedication fosters a sense of trust and confidence, translating into long-term loyalty.

Customers who embark on the journey to certification become more invested in the brand. The time they dedicate to learning the product's intricacies strengthens their connection to it. This deeper understanding makes them less likely to be swayed by competitors, reducing customer churn.

The benefits go beyond loyalty. The certification process creates a strong understanding of the product's capabilities and certified users become empowered advocates. For example, by adding five interactive simulations to its training program, Procore empowered its users to master Procore's mobile app through hands-on practice. This gave customers confidence to leverage the app to its full potential, turning them into vocal advocates who spread positive buzz through recommendations.

Check out this case study and see how FinOps Foundation launched a credentialing program for customer education using Skilljar

Steps to create a certification program

Certification programs involve standardized exams, hands-on projects, and performance evaluations to assess participants' knowledge and skills. Here are the three steps to build an effective certification program.

Step 1: Align goals with business strategy

Before discussing the nitty-gritty of your certification program, take a step back and ask yourself: "Why are we doing this?" What do we hope to achieve with this certification program?” Is it about getting more people to use your product? Maybe it's about setting your brand apart from the competition.

Collaborate with different teams within your company to ensure the certification program aligns with your overall business goals, such as boosting product adoption, increasing customer satisfaction, or simply becoming the go-to choice in your market. 

Step 2: Design the curriculum

Now that you know your goals, it's time to craft the learning experience. The objective here is to create a curriculum that's both informative and engaging.

Imagine the ideal learning journey for your customers. Think about a mix of formats that cater to different learning styles. Here are some ideas:

  • Self-paced courses: Offer flexibility for busy schedules. Learners can progress at their own speed and revisit topics, as needed.
  • Interactive modules: Go beyond lectures. Think of quizzes or case studies that make learning engaging and fun.
  • Assessments: Knowledge checks help solidify understanding and keep learners motivated. Think quizzes, projects, or practical exercises.

Building a successful certification program hinges on the collaboration between two sets of experts: instructional designers and subject matter experts. Instructional designers are architects of the learning experience. 

Their expertise lies in understanding learning styles, structuring information for optimal comprehension, and fostering engagement. They bridge the gap between your in-depth product knowledge and a clear and engaging curriculum.

Subject matter experts (SMEs) have deep technical knowledge that forms the foundation of the program. They ensure the curriculum is not only accurate, but reflects the real-world nuances of using your product. So, you can use SMEs as content providers who fill the learning journey with relevant information.

Step 3: Launch the program

With the curriculum completed, it's time to launch your certification program. Develop a robust marketing strategy to ignite awareness and enrollment. Use a multi-channel approach, leveraging social media platforms to connect with potential learners, targeted email campaigns to reach existing customers, and even collaborating with partner networks to expand your reach.

Use data analytics tools to track program engagement, completion rates, and most importantly, learner feedback. This feedback loop is the cornerstone of continuous improvement.

By analyzing data and learner insights, you can identify areas for refinement. This data-driven approach will allow you to refine the curriculum to ensure it always remains relevant.

How an LMS facilitates the certification process

A learning management system (LMS) is the delivery mechanism for your certification program, streamlining the entire process from enrollment to assessment. Here's how an LMS empowers you to create a more efficient and effective program:

  • Centralized platform: The LMS provides a central repository for all your program materials, including course modules, assessments, and product resources. Learners can access everything they need in one convenient location. This eliminates scattered materials or external links.
  • Automated delivery and tracking: The LMS automates the delivery of learning materials and tracks learner progress throughout the program. This frees you from the administrative burden and allows learners to progress at their own pace.
  • Data-driven insights: The LMS collects valuable data on learner engagement, completion rates, and performance on assessments. This data is a goldmine for program improvement and allows program managers to discover areas for refinement and measure the overall effectiveness of the program.
  • Provides quizzes and assessment tools
  • Enables automated sharing of certification LinkedIn profiles 

Deepen customer engagement with Skilljar

To maximize the impact of your certifications, consider investing in a powerful learning management system like Skilljar. Our solution goes beyond simply delivering courses, it provides tools to create a dynamic learning experience that fosters engagement. Get a demo to see how Skilljar empowers you to transform one-time learners into lifelong advocates.

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