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.