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An educated customer is a more valuable customer and is much more likely to be a customer in the future.

When you boil it down, your business has two priorities: make something useful, then make people good at using it. That’s much easier said than done. What is clear is that the latter point is entirely dependent upon how effectively you deliver knowledge to your customers. 

Barring the rare customers who will dedicate significant time and effort to teaching themselves your product, most customers need the expert guidance of the product developer (hey, that’s you) to help them gain confidence in using your product. 

The quality of the learning content you build is crucial to the depth of knowledge you deliver to your prospective users. Obviously, this is important because you spent time putting a product together, so why wouldn’t you spend a similar amount of time teaching users to be good at using it? 

 

Good Customer Education Builds Good Customer Experience

Building directly off the idea that getting people to know your product is top-tier important, it’s not hard to see why customer education influences customer experience. You’ve made a useful product, but few things are so intuitive that they require zero instruction. There are a couple of elements that need to be at the forefront of your customer education efforts.

Accessibility 

I like to refer to this as a cognitive admission price. Fancy words for a simple idea: in other words, is your content’s cost of admission so high that only people with a certain entry-level of understanding will get any use out of it? Are you leaving out potential customers because your learning content isn’t accessible enough for people outside your industry or without an advanced technical background? When your learning content starts with a high cognitive admission price, you deprive scores of people access from learning your product. And they’ll simply go find another one. 

Engagement 

This is the part of your customer education process that will either cause excitement or indifference. Think back on an awful, boring lecture you slogged through, battling the weight of your own eyelids. Being attentive was painfully difficult, wasn’t it? The same applies to your own learning content. 

Focused, concise bits of content breaks the larger body of content down into smaller pieces, each of which is easier to engage individually. When content engagement is in digestible pieces that can be built into something larger, it’s more likely to keep learners attentive. Topic-based content development provides an ideal way to accomplish this. When your content is broken up into smaller topics, learners are more easily able to access and engage them, while you’re equally able to asses what works and what needs improvement. From there, you’ll be better informed for optimizing your education content. 

People rarely stick around if they’re not engaged in what they’re learning. They’re already interested in your product (hence they’re there to learn), now it’s your responsibility to teach them in a manner that attracts their attention, engages them, and delivers useful instruction in an easily digestible manner.

Without these two ingredients, the recipe for customer education isn’t complete. This part is about you climbing into the minds of your potential customers and delivering content that is both unintimidating and engaging. 

 

Your Level of Care For Customer Education Reflects your Level of Care About Customer Success

A more psychological level of the customer experience, every bit of care you put into your learning content and customer education is telling of how much you care about customer success.

If they get it, they get it. If they don’t, they don’t.” 

Don’t be that company, it’s not a good look (and they certainly exist). As much as your product is whatever it is, it is nothing without people. You have to care about how successful you can help those people be when it comes to learning your product. Otherwise, you’re missing the mark and doing your business no favors.

Deeper still, a lack of care about customer success can easily be viewed as not believing in your own product. You definitely don’t want to seem indifferent about your own product. Passionate, effective teachers are the ones who never stopped loving their subject matter. That’s something that resonates in a classroom. It’s something that should resonate with your customers, too. 

Remember, you’re here because you made something and you believe in how useful it is. Be that excited teacher who wants to show everyone else how awesome their subject is. 

Customer Experience and Customer Education Inform One Another

A good product requires good educational material, sure. What it also requires is close attention to customer input to further inform better educational content development. 

A teacher doesn’t build a lesson in their first year of teaching and repeat it for the next five. 

Pardon me. A good teacher doesn’t do that. A good teacher uses their lesson planning and subject matter expertise in tandem with ongoing student feedback. In this facet, your customers are no different from students and your customer education materials are no different than a curriculum meant to teach them how to effectively use your product. 

Here’s the key takeaway from all that: listen to your customers and let their feedback, pain points, and victories inform how you build your product’s educational materials. 

You have an obligation to your customers to be a good teacher. You have an obligation to your own company’s success to be a good teacher. Because it’s not only about putting together a few presentations so people can get the gist of your product. You want more than that. 

It needs to be your goal to build educational material that works so well that your customers are excited about how good they are at using your product. When people are good at something, they talk about it. That team that buys your software and is excited about how great they are at using it will become product evangelists without the job title. They’ll tout it to teammates, strangers, and stakeholders, and positive word-of-mouth marketing is the absolute best kind there is. It all starts with education.

Patrick Bosek
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