Many product manufacturers and service providers have found that offering high quality solutions to their customers’ needs is only part of the equation. Gone are the days when you could sell a customer a product and then step away. Today’s consumers expect (and deserve) more. One option is a customer training program designed to showcase the how, what, when, and where of your product.
Identify Goals for Customer Training Programs
It is vital to set goals for the program. These must be based on customer needs in terms of training:
-What do your customers need to know?
-Without training, what challenges will they face?
-What are the most frequently asked questions about your program?
In addition, each goal must be actionable and targeted. Broad goals are difficult to achieve. Rather than saying, “We need to make sure our customers can use the product the right way,” instead say, “We need to show our customers how to do X, Y, and Z to use the product correctly.”
Select a Training Medium
There are a wide range of choices for training mediums, from the mundane and not particularly effective product pamphlet to the advanced and highly effective video product demonstration.
An initial assessment of the necessary technology needs to take place. Each customer training program will require these two things:
- A content authoring tool (a software suite designed to help you build the training program)
- A learning management system (LMS) where customers will access the training program, watch videos or animations, etc.
When vetting the various tools available, particularly content authoring options, consider the following:
- Ease of Use: How easy is the tool to use? What sort of training will be necessary to get your staff up to speed in order to create the customer training program you need? How much time will need to be invested just to learn the system?
- Mobile Ready: Is the tool capable of creating mobile ready training modules? Consumers are using mobile more than ever before. 2015 actually marked the first year that mobile Internet use trumped desktop and laptop access, so plan accordingly. Mobile access should not be ignored.
- Pre-built Elements: Does the tool offer the ability to use pre-built scenarios, interactions and themes? If not, how difficult is creating customized options?
For the learning management system, you’ll need to consider:
- Branding: How easily can the LMS be branded to match your organization? This is about more than just customization and is essential to keeping your company front and center in your customers’ minds.
- Activity Reporting: What level of activity reporting does the LMS offer and how detailed are the reports?
- Content Grouping: Are you able to group certain types of content together so that only specific customers can access it, or is it wide open to all customers?
Once the content authoring tool and the LMS have been selected, then the content creation necessary to address customers’ needs can begin. Consider cutting your content into bite-sized chunks as well as incorporating games, videos, simulations, and animations.
Providing an effective and engaging customer support program as part of your service will increase customer approval and initiate positive feedback regarding post-sale satisfaction.