For SaaS companies, customer education happens throughout the customer lifecycle. Increasingly, SaaS companies are looking to improve and scale their customer education and training programs, and acknowledge this is as a critical driver of business growth.

Here, we talk about six ways SaaS companies can improve customer education:

1. Apply the ‘as -a-service’ mindset to the design of customer education and training

A recent McKinsey article recommends SaaS companies apply the approach used for product to provide a streamlined, customer-friendly experience across business functions. Designing a customer training program with this mindset creates a seamless, intuitive customer training experience that meets evolving customer expectations and builds a sticky and satisfied customer base.

2. Keep SaaS customers informed

SaaS products are changing all the time. For this reason, it’s imperative that customers stay abreast of changes and updates. One way to make customers aware of these changes is by regularly communicating with them. For example, product updates about new features or iterative enhancements can be delivered in a variety of formats – email, website, or in app – and are often a starting point to improve customer education on an ongoing basis.

3. Educate in app

A common and effective way to provide ongoing education to customers is within the application itself. Again, different methods can be used to suit different learning styles and at different moments in the user experience. Contextual short form help can both support and educate at key points in the journey, while a knowledge base can serve as a complete guide to the product’s capability. SaaS companies who do this well typically observe a reduction in customer support enquiries.

4. Offer a variety of customer training options

To support different learning needs and styles requires a variety of different training modalities. One way to improve customer education is by providing flexible training options in a variety of formats at the right time in the customer lifecycle. At certain points, a short video or article will suffice. For more involved training, an on-demand course where learners can work through at their own pace might be more suitable. In our experience, instructor-led training is the most effective way to give customers hands-on experience in the use of complex software.

5.Monitor progress

To understand how your SaaS training is performing, it’s essential to have visibility of how customers are working through training content. The best training modality to directly interact with customers is physical or virtual instructor-led training, where instructors have live visibility of participant experiences and can offer assistance during the session. Seeking regular feedback from training participants allows for the identification of areas to be improved.

6. Make training material as relevant as possible

Too often there’s a tendency for training material to be oversimplified so it can be re-used. However, it’s important to strike a balance between being efficient, and creating relevant content. Customers have a far greater chance of success if training can cover real world applications of the software.

 

SaaS products are typically not built to support training objectives, making it really hard for training teams to improve the quality of their customer education program. A specialised platform for SaaS customer training can help improve items 4-6 above.

Next in our Customer Education series, we’ll share what to look for when choosing a training platform for your SaaS company.

For SaaS companies, customer education is an essential component throughout the SaaS customer lifecycle. Through customer education, SaaS companies can ensure their customers realise the value of their product. This in turn drives sales, increases adoption, and leads to higher retention rates.

Customer education is needed throughout the SaaS customer lifecycle

Customer education starts the very moment a prospect becomes interested in your product. However different methods to educate are used throughout the customer lifecycle.

Providing hands-on access to your SaaS product early in the sales process – at a marketing event or during a product demo – is a proven way to drive greater conversion through the sales funnel. This is because often the feature set is too extensive to describe. This way, prospects can also play around with the features that are most relevant to them, deepening their engagement. SaaS companies who are able to provide prospects with a fully-featured version of software to trial typically also see greater conversion success.

Once the deal is done, it’s not a case of set and forget. Ongoing customer education is a key component of customer success. At this stage of the customer lifecycle, customer education can again take various forms, the most prominent being customer training.

High quality training with hands-on practice is essential for customers of SaaS

High quality training is one of the primary ways to ensure high adoption and give users of SaaS applications enough experience and understanding so they can get full value from their SaaS subscription.

Even then, there are a variety of ways to provide training. With most SaaS applications, hands-on experience is the best method of training to ensure understanding. In our experience, hands-on training is best delivered by an instructor in a virtual or physical classroom environment.

Another, more flexible training option to consider is self-paced training. Many SaaS companies have chosen to create a training curriculum that can be completed on demand. This provides an immersive and safe learning environment for learners to have hands-on practice with their software.

Regardless of how the training is delivered, hands-on practice with real world scenarios should be the cornerstone of any SaaS training program. And in the ever-changing world of SaaS, ensuring customers say up to date and educated is of utmost importance.

Effective customer education improves adoption and retention rates

As you can see, for SaaS companies, a customer education program with different training options across the customer lifecycle provides numerous opportunities to develop strong relationships with employees across their customer organisations. An impactful customer training program increases user adoption, with employees using the product more often, using more features, and working more independently[1]. When done well, it can also reduce customer support interactions and costs.

SaaS companies who focus on making their customer training great see an increase in customer success as measured by high retention rates, which is a key driver of growth[2].

How could your SaaS company’s customer education program be improved?

SaaS companies should be working to ensure their customers have what they need for the software to help them achieve their business goals. This includes regularly looking at ways to improve the quality of their customer education across the SaaS customer lifecycle.

In the next blog post in our Customer Education series, we’ll share six ways SaaS companies can improve customer education.

[1] https://www.tsia.com/blog/3-ways-education-services-can-advance-the-customer-journey

[2] https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/technology-media-and-telecommunications/our-insights/grow-fast-or-die-slow-focusing-on-customer-success-to-drive-growth

A changing RPA landscape makes training more essential than ever

Robotic process automation (RPA) is a form of business process automation that allows companies to automate their workflows using bots. Companies invest heavily in RPA to bring efficiency to business operations, freeing them up to focus on delivering fast service and exceptional customer experience.

Changes in working styles over the last few years, including an increase in remote working, have only added to the use cases where RPA can be beneficial. For example, companies are now using RPA to onboard employees remotely, or execute tasks that previously required an employee to come into the office.

Managing bot development and deployment is a key challenge for companies to ensure standards are maintained, and there are not bots that result in more work for IT teams rather than less. It’s therefore obvious that specialized training of RPA software is key to a successful RPA implementation overall.

How virtual labs are being used for RPA training

In our many years of experience delivering cloud-based training solutions, one thing’s for sure: Hands-on experience is essential for user adoption and retention. With RPA training, this is more the case than ever.

We’re seeing our customers use virtual labs to train RPA solutions in a number of ways, including:

  • Self-paced courses where trainees can create their own RPA processes, objects and work queues, and discover how these interact with each other;
  • Advanced training courses where RPA application based configuration exercises and projects are used to upskill in identifying applications, controlling safely, and searching for imagery and typography; and
  • Physical and virtual instructor-led training courses that provide hands-on experience in RPA best practices and real-life automations, leading to developer accreditation.

A specialised training platform for on-premise and cloud-based bots

Both on-premise or cloud-based RPA software can benefit from a specialised training platform that:

  • Streamlines environment and course setup and administration
  • Automates user and environment provisioning, including setting policies to automate the suspension and deletion of environments
  • Reduces running costs when compared to consuming VM images directly on cloud platforms
  • Customises training material
  • Provides advanced virtual classroom features, including instructor controls for over-the-shoulder monitoring and remote assistance

To learn more about how Heropa can help with virtual labs for RPA training, speak to us today.

The rise of Virtual Instructor-led Training

Virtual training, and specifically virtual-instructor led training (VILT) has been on the rise, with COVID-19 removing the ability to hold events, conferences and training sessions in person.

What’s great about VILT is more participants can be reached in more locations than ever before. This means new customers and regions are now accessible in a way that they previously were not.

In line with this, there have been improvements in the technology that powers VILT and virtual events. Most platforms offer live stream and pre-recorded sessions, multimedia presentations, and virtual networking tools as standard.

VILT and Virtual IT labs

Companies that train or sell software know how important hands-on experience is. Running VILT with Virtual IT labs gives these companies exactly that. In a virtual classroom, each participant receives access to a virtual lab environment that replicates a real world environment.

Run Multi-region VILT

Instructors often run into challenges providing participants in different regions access to virtual labs. Sending invitations to participants is simple, since labs can be accessed from anywhere. However, when the infrastructure is in a different region to the participant, this can impact virtual lab performance.

As a result, instructors often set up separate events in different regions to optimise virtual lab performance. This results in additional administrative overhead that is inefficient.

Multi-region VILT from the same virtual classroom

Heropa allows VILT to be run across multiple regions simultaneously. Within a single virtual classroom, you can spin up environments in more than one region. This provides participants with a virtual lab environment that’s local to them.

This is more convenient for instructors, and also ensures participants get the hands-on experience with software they need. And what’s more, all the other VILT features such as over-the-shoulder assistance, integrated chat, video and screen sharing are available as well.

To learn more about how to set up multi-region VILT, speak to us today.

How virtual events are forcing us to change the way we do business With physical events and conferences not an option at the moment, companies have been forced to take their events online. Virtual events such as conferences, trade shows and product launches are a key part of software sales. With these, software companies overcome […]

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Heropa announces the latest release of Virtual Labs, their next generation IT practice labs platform for TAFE, University, and IT learning organisations.

Heropa’s Virtual Labs platform provides TAFEs and Universities with a fast, easy and secure method to create full-featured IT practice labs in the cloud. Using the platform, these organisations can increase student engagement and completion rates, while reducing the total cost of ownership. By using Virtual Labs, students gain unparalleled hands-on access to virtual environments from anywhere.

“This latest release of Virtual Labs has a strong focus on analytics” said Jason Kinsella, Director at Heropa. “One of the key messages we received from visitors to our stand at the EduTech conference this year, was that they all struggled to get access to accurate detailed student activity information. As education moves from classrooms to online environments, student engagement and completion rates significantly decrease, with dropout rates as high as 80%. This latest version of Virtual Labs captures all student activity in real-time and provides both dashboard reporting and scheduled engagement triggers that are completely customisable. By exposing these granular student metrics to course administrators, we have already seen significant increases in student engagement and retention rates. Virtual Labs has always been very strong in providing students with an excellent experience, and now with the introduction of analytics on the platform, the course administrator experience is also greatly enhanced.”

Benefits of the Heropa Virtual Labs platform include:

  • All aspects are fully managed to ensure each student has a secure and predictable experience. This allows educators to focus on teaching, and not the management of the underlying technology.
  • Labs can be scaled to match teaching needs and student numbers. Learning organisations need never be restricted by physical lab environments again. Everything is done on-demand, in the cloud.
  • Security risks are eliminated by removing the need to grant access to an organisation’s internal infrastructure from untrusted traffic sources. Every student environment is fully isolated and secure.
  • Significant cost savings can be realised compared to physical infrastructure deployments, by only paying for consumed resources.

About Heropa

Heropa has revolutionised how Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) deliver IT courses to their students. This Australian cloud provider established in 2010 provides a fast, easy and secure method to create full-featured virtual lab environments in the cloud. With their Virtual Labs platform, organisations can increase student engagement and completion rates, while reducing the total cost of ownership.

https://www.heropa.com

For more information, please contact:

Jason Kinsella

Tel: +61 421 733 465

jason(at)heropa(dot)com