Celebrated Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt theorized in his book The Marketing Mode Pathways to Corporate Growth, “Last year one million quarter-inch drill bits were sold — not because people wanted quarter-inch drill bits but because they wanted quarter-inch holes.” Nearly 50 years later, Levitt’s words still ring true and are perhaps even more applicable, especially with the surfeit of products vying for the customer’s attention and wallet.
We know that customers buy solutions, not products. And that they’re impatient to solve the problems that brought them to your product. It’s imperative that your customers find value in your product or service as quickly as possible.
Customer education is one of the most effective means of bringing this about. With customer education, it’s imperative that you make it as easy as possible for customers to find and consume your educational content.
Mechanisms to Reduce Friction
As you develop your customer education program, it’s important to keep in mind elements like a simple, intuitive signup process and course accessibility. Especially with voluntary learners, reducing friction and potential barriers to program entry and completion can be a key determinant of learner satisfaction. Read on to learn about five mechanisms that you can implement to reduce friction across your education program.
It should be easy for learners to find and register for the courses that they need. With self-registration, when students visit a course detail page, they are able to sign up for the course then and there. They don’t have to wait for someone to create an account or provide them with login credentials. This allows customers and partners to find your training and register for it without intervention from you or your training team. You can also customize the registration form to request only the most necessary information from your learners.
SSO enables your trainees to use their existing credentials to sign in to your training portal. If your trainees have set up a login on your website, for example, SSO enables them to use the same login for their training activities. This process may be especially important to your company if you are striving to create a seamless transition from your website to training, and remove barriers to training like creating (and remembering) a new account and password.
Course Catalog Search
Perhaps your learners can’t recall the exact name of the course they are looking for, or they are interested in learning more about a specific topic or feature. For these cases (and others), integrating a search function into your catalog will help students quickly and easily surface the most relevant content for their needs. Because search results are based on keywords, we recommend taking the time to carefully create relevant descriptions for each course and lesson, including the use of keywords you anticipate your users will use to aid in their discovery.
Course Catalog Filters
Are you onboarding a new entry-level employee or offering ongoing training to someone, such as a VP of Sales, who has been in your industry for years? Even if both employees are in the same department, they won’t be looking to learn the same information. To avoid this problem, you can use catalog filters to organize the courses in your LMS into categories, such as beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Another option is to turn off sequential learning, so students can skip around to different lessons, rather than following a strict path. Additionally, you can create customized learning paths within your catalog for different user types based on role, level of experience, or required skill set. Based on the characteristics of your learner, consider developing a series of courses that build on each other to achieve the desired outcome.
Course Visibility Settings
Course visibility is another important component of the catalog. With an LMS like Skilljar, you can remove a course from the catalog if you do not wish for it to be accessed with the rest of your courses. This will prevent general visitors to your training site from being able to register. Oftentimes, companies may offer some courses publicly to any potential trainees, while offering other courses only to a limited group of trainees that meet a certain type of criteria, like those in a certain job role, for example.
Choosing the Right Technology for External Audiences
When it comes to customer training, even the slightest bit of friction can dissuade learners from engaging with your content. Further, As our colleagues at TSIA Research explain, “With new learning approaches being introduced at a rapid rate, technology is a critical investment area for education services teams hoping to meet and exceed customer expectations.” Investing in the right technology platform for your external audiences, such as an LMS like Skilljar, is a crucial component of any successful Customer Education program, especially from a user experience perspective.
With platforms like Skilljar, you can implement each of the tools above, and more, to ensure your customers and other learners have seamless, frictionless training experience. As with any program, if you do not have the resources to implement all of these features, consider which will have the greatest impact and start there.
For more information about building a successful Customer Education program, check out our eBook: Three Keys to Unlocking a Successful Customer Education Program or request a demo below.