Helped customers are happy customers, and happy customers are loyal customers.
Often, the main aim of customer education is to help users. Whether this is giving them a hand in their moment of need or using training to educate them about the finer features of your product. The point is usually to move your user from problem to solution.
But it’s also so much more than that.
From a wider perspective, customer education is a key part of a business strategy all about keeping customers happy so that they return to your products again and again. Simply put, good customer education can be instrumental to scaling your business.
Daniel Quick is a master in customer education. He has over 20 years of experience designing learning, delivering training, and building customer education programs. His background includes leading customer education at Optimizely, Asana, and now he’s the VP of Learning Strategies at Thought Industries.
What makes Daniel a uniquely talented customer educator and a leader in his field is his passionate approach to creating learning experiences, informed by his past career as a game designer. If anyone can help you design a strategy to delight customers, it’s Daniel.
Daniel shares his thoughts on how organizations can create customer education strategies that better serve their users and their business. He explains how to approach content with effectiveness and efficiency in mind to keep customers happy and loyal.
You can watch the video on this topic at the top of this post, to listen to the podcast episode, hit play below, or read on for more…
Why create customer education content?
Daniel defines customer education as “a function to help customers and prospects find or get the most value from your products”. But he believes truly powerful customer education goes beyond product training to help customers build their broader skills and expertise.
Many businesses invest in customer education because empowering customers with this kind of knowledge is a great strategy to keep them loyal. The problem with this is that it’s difficult to measure.
You may struggle to get buy-in from your organization to create more or develop new customer education content because it’s not possible to empirically prove how influential your existing efforts have been.
So how can you demonstrate your customer education content’s impact?
How to find value in customer education
Daniel says there are two things you can do to help your organization understand where the value is in creating and distributing customer education content.
1. Create a strategy
Define your goals and align them with your business objectives. When you understand how your business and your customers define success, it’s much easier to see how well a customer education initiative does because you can measure it against benchmarks that everyone’s on board with.
2. Identify clear correlations
Many variables can affect how your users behave, so it’s important to find links between customer education content consumption and end results. For example, Daniel suggests looking at the relationship between healthy customer behaviors (such as product renewals) and customers who’ve undertaken some form of training.
Spoiler alert: every time Daniel has looked into these two factors, he’s found a positive relationship between them!
Having access to this kind of data is really important, says Daniel.
“To see clear causal relationships between the activities we do in our customer education programs and our business allows us to show the charts and visual data to really sell that story, get additional investment, and get people excited about what we’re doing.”
Two strategies for creating effective, efficient customer education
Daniel shared two ways customer education teams can create content that is more efficient for organizations and effective for end-users.
His first suggestion is to reduce the number of support tickets you have by creating content that helps your users overcome their most common pain points. You could even take this one step further by distributing this content to segments of your customers who are most likely to need it, before they encounter the problem.
This would drastically impact the amount of time taken to tackle these support issues and free up opportunities for you to scale your business elsewhere, rather than by expanding your support team.
Daniel’s second strategy is to use content to empower customers to use more of your product features. You could use pop-up videos within your product, for example, to show people how to use features that they perhaps haven’t tried before. He calls this “reducing the consumption gap.”
Both of these concepts aim to help or educate the user at their “moment of need”. This is more efficient for the user and also more powerful for the business, as it doesn’t bring people away from the product for the learning experience.
“We’re not asking customers to stop what you’re doing, go over here and learn, and then come back to what you’re doing. But rather, while you’re doing this thing, you can learn about this thing as well. It should all be right there in the moment of need.”
Daniel believes that the onus is on customer educators to work out how they can best deliver their customer education at these moments to help their users find success.
How to use video to educate your customers
One of the most common tools customer educators use is video. Daniel’s preferred way of using video is within a modular framework. He creates videos, each with a singular learning objective, and then uses them to build an entire learning pathway.
Daniel believes that it’s important to carefully consider the best format for each piece of your customer education content (aka, not everything needs to be a video). The most common videos Daniel makes are either tutorial-based or “feature spotlights,” where they explain the value of products.
If you want to use video in your customer education strategy, Daniel shared two top tips. First, repurpose your content. You may have existing videos which can be edited down into stand-alone modules. This can save you so much time and give you an entire library of useful content without having to record anything new.
The second tip is to use people in your videos.
Daniel has seen first-hand how much of a difference it can make to use people in your videos. He says that talking head style videos, in particular, are powerful when it comes to making an impact on your customer. He said that just adding talking head intro and outros to customer education videos led to a spike in course engagement.
So, if you want to hook your audience, Daniel recommends using a human face to make your videos more personable from the start.
What makes a good customer educator?
Skillsets within the customer education space can be incredibly diverse, with roles involving anything from training to writing to instructional design. Daniel says it’s not necessarily important what skills you bring to the table – it’s how passionate you are about using them to educate others.
There are, however, two things that all customer educators should lean into to be the best customer educators they can be. The first is curiosity.
Daniel believes that the more curious you are about finding new and better ways to educate your customers, the greater impact you’ll have.
The second is to keep in mind where customer education falls within your overall business strategy and be aware of how it fits in with everything else going on.
“Customer education is really in this unique position of sort of being at the intersection of different functions in a business. You’ve got learning, but you’ve also got the marketing strategy, your customer success strategy, product development – it touches so many different functions.”
To listen to the full discussion with Daniel and find out more tips for mastering customer education, head to the top of this page and hit play on the podcast episode or the YouTube video.
If you want to start creating helpful content for your customers, check out the free resources in the TechSmith Academy. We have courses to improve your training skills, helpful writing skills, and so much more!