Build a Virtual Customer Learning Academy: 5 Steps to Satisfied Customers
Why do your parents have you on speed dial? To catch up? Or for any and all tech-related questions?
The answer may be more shocking than you think.
But the issue is that tech frustration runs deeper than unsavvy parents, it can be rampant throughout Software as a service (SaaS). Ensuring your customers are as up to date on your product can be the difference between a closed-won and a closed-lost renewal.
It is no secret that, to be successful, folks in customer education or product management need to create educational content that customers love. Still, many struggle to create engaging and informative content.
This 5-step guide was created to help create a customer learning academy that customers find not only helpful, but a joy to use.
Step 1: Understand what your customers want and need
What is the most effective way to create a universally loved customer learning academy? The best solution is often the most obvious one.
Listen to your customers
Ask your customers what they want to know and how they want to learn it.
The feedback from asking customers what they need and what they don’t understand is invaluable in creating content that resonates. Here’s how to get golden feedback:
Do everything you can to get feedback straight from the mouths of your customers. Consider a combination of customer interviews, customer surveys, focus groups, and user testing.
Then, touch base with your customer support team. On the inside, they hear the good, the bad, and the ugly about your product. With that insider knowledge, they will know what educational content about your product will meet customers’ needs.
Much can be learned from what people say about your product out in the wild. Ahem…social media. People often turn to their networks with troubleshooting questions, to vent their frustrations, and to ask for tips and tricks.
Rack your brain for companies that have built a large, supportive community of users and fans around their products. Then, search for mentions of your company and your product on popular social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Reddit to get an idea of where customers feel your product hit and missed.
With that knowledge, you can create educational content that clarifies how to use your product and maximize its benefits.
Many customers leave a review only when they’re absolutely thrilled or frustrated with a product. Often, they’ll share how and why they are struggling with it. Even though unintentional, that word-of-mouth marketing influences the purchasing decisions of potential customers.
By digging through those reviews, you’ll see opportunities to improve your product, along with opportunities to help customers solve their roadblocks through educational content.
Reviews are a gift to customer education team because they let you capture the exact language your customers use when they talk about your product. Then, you can use that language to create content for your course using words and phrases they understand.
Pick the brains of customer educators
Learn from the best and reach out to people who are already teaching customers. Use LinkedIn and word of mouth to search for folks with a reputation for providing a quality customer education experience.
Chat with these people about what they found their customers needed:
- How to determine what customers need and want to learn about the product
- Choices that led to their customer education hub design
- Which of their educational content has the most traffic
- Feedback customers leave about the customer education hub
- Roadblocks they have encountered and how they moved past them
Not only will they have hard-earned experience to share with you, but they might also direct you toward relevant courses, articles, blog posts, and the like to help you learn more about creating a customer learning academy. This will give you a good starting point for creating your own content.
Scout ideas from other companies
Looking for solid examples to follow? While talking to other experienced customer education professionals, look for ideas from other companies. Ask others who they think is creating excellent content. Then, visit those sites and observe:
- What content are they offering?
- How is it organized?
- How do they make it engaging?
- How do customers navigate the content?
For example, if you’re creating a course on how to use new software, look at the documentation another software company provides. This will give you an idea of the topics you should cover in your course.
Once you gather enough information to create a solid library of resources, organize it so customers can effortlessly wade through it instead of falling off a cliff into a deep, rocky, and cold ocean of how-to articles and videos.
Step 2: Create a structure that makes content easy to navigate
When structuring your content, ensure each piece of content supports a main goal.
Consider whether you want to group content by topic, feature, difficulty, or a combination. This will help you organize your thoughts and make it easier for customers to find the content they need right when they need it.
If your goal is to teach customers how to use a new software program, all the course content focuses on that.
For instance, Hopin’s customer learning academy — Hopin Learn — is designed to help event professionals master Hopin’s suite of tools so they can run seamless events. With that goal in mind, we organized by features and topics.
Step 3: Choose the content formats that fit your customers’ lives
The next step is to decide which formats will serve your customers the best. Will it be written, video, audio, or a combination? Each has advantages and disadvantages.
Publishing posts, guides, and roadmaps treats customers to versatile and valuable content. Not only do you stand to benefit from the resulting search engine optimization (SEO) value, but it is also easy to produce and update.
Also, written content meets the needs of time-strapped folks who don’t have time to watch a video or people who don’t want to listen to audio in a public place. Instead, they get:
- Skimmable content they can read quickly
- Relatable-sounding content that engages them
- Actionable content packed with information, visuals, and use cases
These elements serve customers a powerful educational experience regardless of how much time they spend with it.
73% of customers prefer learning about a product or service by watching a video. Not only are videos visually engaging, but customers can pause, rewind, and forward the video precisely when they are ready.
While it can be expensive and time-consuming to produce video content, the people want what the people want — making the format’s popularity well worth the expense and effort.
Did you hear audio is a great way to engage customers? So much so that, in 2022, a projected 424.2 million people will listen to podcasts worldwide. Because of its hands-free delivery, audio — especially a podcast — is a top choice for folks on the go.
While they are driving their dog to the vet , they can get an in-depth understanding of a topic. And audio can also be used to supplement written or video content.
Also known as repurposing, combining formats lets you take existing pieces of content and extract new pieces that stretch across various formats. For example, you could pull an editorial article, social media post, and email copy from an existing video recording.
Even better, plan to distribute your content across formats from its inception. Plan each course to include the same or similar content in multiple formats for a delightful customer education experience. Since your customers have a choice of formats, they can access a learning program that meets their needs.
A live workshop
Sometimes, folks want to bounce ideas off with a teacher or others who are learning the same topic. This is easily done through a live workshop. You will need to first find a platform that can host an interactive live workshop, and then market to your students - which often can be done through your LMS.
Step 4: Craft quizzes to help customers retain what they learn
Once your content is ready, the next step is to create quizzes at the end of each lesson. This strategy, which educators call retrieval practice, helps customers remember what they learned. Retrieving something from your memory strengthens the connections that make it easier to recall the content in the future.
The customer education team can also use quiz data to assess customer understanding and the effectiveness of the customer learning academy.
Step 5: Choose a user-friendly hub for product training content
Select a learning management system (LMS) to host your content. A quality LMS will have user-friendly tools that help you create, deliver, and track your customer courses. Not only should the LMS be simple for your team and customers to navigate, but it should also allow you to interact with and receive feedback from your customers.
Are you interested in understanding how Hopin's learning academy works? Check it out here.