3 Questions to Ask Before Building Your Customer Training Program

3 Questions to Ask Before Building Your Customer Training Program

March 9, 2017
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Many organizations are well aware of the benefits of customer training. And yet, they may still struggle to implement an effective program. Why is that? 

In this post, we’d like to address one issue that comes up when planning a training program: When you’re starting from scratch, the choices can be overwhelming. For this reason, we put together a short overview of common training course components.

If you’re looking to implement a customer training program, start by answering these questions:

1. Which is better: on-demand or instructor-led training?

When developing your training program, the first thing you should consider is how to deliver your content. Specifically, does it make sense to utilize on-demand training or instructor led training (ILT)? Let’s look at the benefits.

The primary advantage of on-demand training is that students can access coursework anytime, anywhere. It’s also easy to scale your program as your customer base grows and you need to train a larger number of students.

In contrast, ILT facilitates a more personalized learning experience. For instance, instructors can incorporate hands-on exercises into their lesson plans and provide students with real-time feedback.

For a more detailed breakdown of these two options, check out our recent eBook. But remember, you don’t always have to choose one or the other. Some organizations choose to utilize both, and will even use their LMS to schedule live training events.

2. Do you want to include pre-built or custom content?

Once you’ve selected your training method(s), the next step is to decide whether to build or buy your content. Again, you’ll want to think about the pros and cons here.

Custom content may take more time to create, but it also allows you to tailor courses to meet your students’ specific needs. For example, you could show someone in sales different lessons than someone in marketing. Or you could ensure that a Director of Marketing, who needs to learn about your entire product suite, would not see the same coursework as a Marketing Manager, who might only be looking for information on a few key features.  

The question is, what are your priorities? If you’re not on a tight budget, you may want to invest in custom content. But if resources are strained, off-the-shelf content may be the way to go. Of course, the choice isn’t always black and white -- you could include some pre-built content, which can apply to all users, alongside custom content.

3. Should you focus on onboarding & implementation or continued education?

There’s not one clear answer here; it’s all about determining what would best serve your customers’ needs and your organization’s goals. So as you begin to explore this question, talk to your Customer Success team and other internal stakeholders. Given that your Customer Success Managers (CSMs) speak with customers on a daily basis, they should have a strong understanding of the knowledge gaps it would help to address.

Here’s an example. Let’s say your CSMs answer a lot of basic use questions about your product. In that case, you’d want to focus on onboarding. Those who participate in training would then feel more confident in their ability to use your product right from the start.

Alternatively, your Product Support team may introduce a new feature, which requires some training. This is when continuing education would come into play. It's a win-win situation. Customers would be able to extract more value out of your product, and as their expertise continues to grow, they’re more likely to become advocates for your product or organization.


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