How to Evaluate your Customer Support Efforts
It’s happened to everyone—you purchase a new product you’ve wanted for a long time. But despite your excitement to use it, you realize, to great irritation, that you don’t really understand how to use it.
These days, customers have an abundance of options any time they want to make a purchase. If something is too hard to use, returning it or canceling the subscription is just a few clicks away.
Closing a deal does not mean your customer will stay. It’s essential to offer services to retain your customers, to keep them happy and loyal.
That’s why customer support and training is at the core of successful businesses. Remote customer support is essential for your relationship marketing strategy: customer loyalty is something a company can only gain if they invest in structural efforts to help their customers.
There are two ways to make customer retention possible:
- Short term strategy: make sure customer support is available all the time. Keep your response time as short as possible by building a support team of experts that can cover the load.
- Long term strategy: If your product or service requires high touch onboarding, or technical explanation, create resources where customers can learn more on their own, or through guided sessions with product specialists.. Educating your customers on how to successfully use your product or service will help them meet their business goals and will alleviate pressure on your customer support team.
Customer support and training are equally important. The basic difference is that customer training helps your customers in the long run: it helps them better understand your product and service, so they can use it to best achieve their goals. If conducted well, it will serve as a smart strategy to gain loyal customers.
Why Customer Training and Customer Support Go Hand in Hand
The concept of customer training follows the old saying of “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
If you provide customers quick fixes to their issues concerning your product, they’ll be happy at that moment. But if you provide them in-depth training on how to use your product, they’ll have a better chance of meeting their business goals and experience long-term happiness with it.
Some of the most popular brands in the world provide in-depth training. For example, HubSpot has an entire academy meant to help its customers learn how to use the platform to achieve their business goals. Providing this experience to your customers not only expands brand awareness but also creates customer loyalty.
Continuously Adjust and Improve Your Support Efforts
There’s always room for improvement as your product becomes better, more intricate and advanced, if you want your customers to have a stellar customer experience.
Even if you have a thorough customer training program, make sure to also have a customer support team. This team will enable your customers to have a human experience and can help you advance your training based on the areas where they see customers struggling.
But outside of calls and chat conversations, how can your customer support team understand the experience customers are having with the training?
Quizzes are a good opportunity to gauge customers’ knowledge of the product. How well do they know it? Do they know the product’s goal so they can better understand how it can help them?
Quizzes can seem daunting, but this one is simply trying to understand how informed your customers are at the outset, so your customer support team can see the areas where customers are struggling and make the needed adjustments.
If you have enough responses, you will even be able to observe and collect significant data: maybe a significant number of customers struggle with the same issue. Then you’ll know it’s time to find a workaround for this issue and write an extra product guide or create an extra training session or webinar.
You can also provide respondents with feedback. After finishing the quiz, they’ll receive their score, the correct answers, and customized advice. This insight will guide the customer through the possibilities of your product range: maybe there’s an even better product out there for them?
In the example below, Delta Dental, a company specializing in dental care, quizzes its audience after they finish reading the “welcome module.” With this, the company learns about the level of quality of their module, and what they should change to make the info more clear to the customer.
Quizzes help your customer support team get insights into the way your customers think, act, and experience your product. To get feedback on your customer training efforts, you should however consider another type of feedback: training surveys.
First of all, it’s important to distinguish between “product surveys” and “training surveys”.
Product surveys provide opportunities for customers to give you detailed feedback on your product. How does it help them in their day-to-day? What do they hope to accomplish with your product? Is there something more they wish you would cover in the product information? Did the product influence their ROI? These surveys provide feedback on all of these questions.
Training surveys aim to give customers a voice directly to those who create the training. As those who make the training, you most likely have a good idea of what your customers need to learn. However, each customer is unique. They will need your training to cover something different and specific to their needs.
You might want to consider that customers are busy! They have a million things to do in one day, so you’re going to need to offer them something in exchange for their time to participate in your survey. Therefore, keep your questionnaire short. Try adding something interactive such as a scratch card at the end of the survey—with a small reward for participating!
This survey, for example, was built with the objective of collecting data. First, the company asked the respondent to share demographic information, which helps to define their target audience. You can already help your marketing department with this information! Then, they ask open questions about their products such as, “What do you like about them?”
As you can shape a survey to whatever questions you’d like to ask, you can also focus on asking questions particularly about the available training sessions, instead of focusing on the product information as in the example below. Just consider which parameters you want to measure, and write smart questions based on these parameters.
Maturity assessments measure the respondent’s ‘readiness to purchase’ through a series of questions. At the end of the assessment, the respondent gets a maturity score, along with a number of recommendations for improvement.
It delivers valuable insights for you, the assessment distributor. The outcome of the assessment gives an indication of whether the respondent is ‘ready’ or has the ‘maturity’ for the distributor’s product or service. This way, a maturity assessment offers value to both the respondent and the assessment distributor.
This is all information that can be covered in a maturity assessment. However, you will most likely need to create an incentive for your customers to participate, and gift cards might not have the same pull as it would for a training survey. For maturity assessments, it might make sense instead to provide them with a certificate that they can share with others to show that they are better trained and more marketable for jobs or to clients.
Provide your customers with feedback after the maturity assessment. Let them know which training sessions would be most beneficial to them, or which training sessions they should go back and watch since they struggled in that area on the test.
Evaluate Your Training Sessions
There are two challenging parts about collecting feedback—battling your ego and converting feedback into actionable steps toward improvement. It could feel satisfying to think you already have the perfect training sessions available, but if that’s not what your customers are telling you, listen to them.
Look at the results you received, and put them to good use. See if there are any similarities in what your customers report to you. Is there an area where everyone seems to be struggling? Or is there an area where everyone is succeeding with gusto?
Write down what you are seeing and break the feedback into digestible steps you can take toward improvement. Consult with the customer support team about the training assessment feedback. If there is an area where customers need extra work, then it’s your responsibility with the customer support team to rework the training to help them better understand.
Customers are most likely excited to use your product. They’ve done their research, read the reviews, and have a general understanding of how it can help them. However, customer training sessions will help them learn the nuances of your product and how specifically they can get the most out of it.
Training sessions will help you turn your customers into experts of your product, increase brand awareness, and deepen customer loyalty. So it’s important to continuously improve your pieces of training, to keep your customers engaged and informed, and above all: happy!