Being a customer-centric organization is one of the most important traits for any successful business. If you are one of those then you must have wondered at some point about what is customer education. The times are gone when companies could sell to their customers and forget about their relationship with them. The game is not over as soon as you have sold your product to the customer anymore.
Companies have to make sure that their customers are able to derive value out of their product. Even after the sales. Because most product-led companies run on a subscription model of delivering their services, it is their prime responsibility to make sure that customers are getting success in what they want to achieve through their product.
According to the solution your product is built for, it belongs to a certain business niche. Hence, you have to make sure that the customer is educated enough. They have to be educated not just about the product but the whole business niche to which your product belongs.
Based on that education the customer can make more informed decisions about buying your product. It will also ensure that they are able to operate it successfully. It means you need to impart all the technical skills and information related to your product.
When you consider what is customer education, please note that it is not advertising or marketing your product. Those areas are more about an emotional perception customer have about your products. Customer education ensures that they get the competency needed to handle your product. This makes them stay for a longer time with your business which is most important for a subscription-based economy.
Why to educate customers?
Businesses these days, especially SaaS businesses, run on transparency and competency at their core. If you are leading a product based company then you have to make sure that your product is not just an average product among its competitors but it is something extraordinary. So, once you have achieved that objective, how do you make sure that your customer also understands the same?
This is where customer education comes into the picture. To demonstrate your worth in the customer’s eyes, you need to make them understand all the business objectives your product can achieve. Apart from all the business knowledge your customer gains, customer education builds their trust too in your brand. You have to become such an irreplaceable knowledge source for them that even for the slightest doubt on your business niche, they should turn to you for solutions. The more dependent they are on you, the longer they would stay.
Also, only when they are educated enough about your niche would they be able to evaluate your product in comparison to your competitors. Even if they can’t do it all by themselves, it will make your job easier to explain to them how your product performs better than others. That is why before educating your customer make sure that you have done all the market research and built your product superior to all other options available.
Strategies for Customer Education
Once you have decided to implement customer education you will have to build a strategy around it. You need to first ask yourself – what is customer education? It is not just about going loud on displaying your expertise in your field. It takes planning and deeper understanding of your niche. You need to understand your customers as well as the kind of content you are going to produce.
Understand your customer
You will have to understand your customers, where they are and what objectives they want to achieve. Your product must have been created to deal with a specific problem which is commonly observed by your customers, either in B2C or B2B space. Make a thorough study of those problems. How are they faced by different customers belonging to different niches?
You also need to take into account the different technical competency levels your customers have. What is the minimum technical skills your customers should possess to use your products? You can also evaluate what advanced skills you can impart to your existing customers to prepare them for your future offerings or upsells.
Some companies keep their education program only for their existing customers. While others extend this to their prospects and attract more new leads through this separate channel than marketing. Decide upon the kind of customer strategy you would implement for your customers.
Create your content
This is another factor you have to take into consideration when thinking of what is customer education. You need to finalize in what form you are going to impart the knowledge. For them to understand your product there must be some amount of domain knowledge they must possess. Hence, you can create different course modules based on different areas to cover and also your customer’s competency.
Facebook has done a tremendous job of creating Facebook Blueprint. It is one of the most comprehensive social media marketing courses that anyone has built so far. Their strategy is simple. For them to get customers to use their social media advertising tools, they need to educate more and more people about social media marketing. The more online marketers they produce the more their product sells.
Another most widely used strategy is creating informative blogs. You can cover all aspects of your business in a vast content of blogs that you can publish regularly. This will give you an added advantage of keeping the potential customers in touch with all the industry knowledge and trends on which you are doing research. Your subscribers would learn from your ongoing research and sharing of knowledge through regularly published blogs and that would immensely benefit in building your brand.
When it comes to what is customer education, it has become increasingly clear in the last few years that you can not grow your business until your customers are becoming educated and more aware of your niche. Your product is at the core but it has to be surrounded by all the online knowledge about your niche.
With a vast amount of study material available online, the quality of your content matters a lot. Are you just creating content to create your presence on the world web or are you really adding some value through your educational materials? The answer to this question would help you gauge the efficacy of your customer education efforts and that in turn would help build your online reputation as a brand.