Fast-growing organizations often run into a conundrum when they start adding more customers – and therefore more support tickets – than their customer service team has the resources to handle. The costs of hiring, training and paying new customer service reps at the same rates as you increase your customer base can be prohibitive, yet providing good customer service is crucial to an organization’s success.
Research by New Voice Media found that 44% of US customers took their business elsewhere following a poor customer service experience. The threat of customer churn is especially high in the beginning of a customer’s experience with a company. If your customers have trouble finding the answers they need to learn your product – or have trouble getting through to your overwhelmed customer service staff – they’re likely to start looking for another vendor before they invest too much time in your product.
How can growing companies keep offering fantastic support as their customer base expands? Online customer education is a scalable solution that can proactively answer questions customers have before they arise. And it allows customers to find the information they need in the moment without having to make a phone call or send an email.
Customer education solves more problems, earlier.
If a new account is calling your customer service department or submitting a support ticket, chances are they’ve already tried to look for the answer on your website or support forums and haven’t been able to find it. They’re frustrated before they ever hear the hold music.
Traditional customer service is focused on resolving problems and answering customer questions. Customer education, on the other hand, is focused on making sure customers have fluency in your product and the resources they need to head off questions before a problem arises.
Essentially, customer education is about being proactive whereas customer service is about being reactive.
One of the best ways to proactively set your customers up for success is by providing easy to understand, easy to access online educational materials that your customers can work through.
This route is also much more scalable, as a single course can provide every customer with the tools for success, no matter how quickly your company grows.
Why take customer education online?
The idea of educating customers isn’t new. Companies have long been holding on-site trainings, providing instructional manuals and hosting webinars. Chances are your organization is already educating your customers using some of these methods.
Cloud-based learning management systems have changed the face of customer education. Expensive software and server space is no longer required in order to create an online academy. Sophisticated video production facilities are no longer required to create training videos. Expert trainers no longer have to fly across the country to impart their knowledge.
Now, it’s much more cost-effective both to create course content and to distribute it to your customers – whether they’re sitting in their offices or accessing your course on their phones during the commute.
Rather than relying on traditional trainings which impart large amounts of information all at once, LMS-based online customer education programs allow your customers to learn at their own pace, choosing topics in the moment they’re needed. If a customer forgets how to do something or has a question later on, it’s easy to return to a customer education course and refresh their memory – something that’s cumbersome to try with a webinar, and impossible in the case of live training.
Related reading: What’s New in Video for Customer Education? We Asked the Experts.
Customer education builds trust.
This not only helps to ensure a quick and successful start when using your product, it gives your customers greater confidence in your company’s service – even if they’ve never spoken to one of your customer service reps. Because you’ve provided them with the tools to ensure they’ll be successful with your product(s), they’ll trust you to support them later on.
Don’t wait to provide customer service until customers have already tried and failed to find answers on your site. Make it easy for them to find a solution to begin with before they have to start Googling for their answer – and end up on your competitors website.