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Maximize ROI: Tips for measuring the effectiveness of customer training and onboarding programs

Effective customer training and onboarding programs are a crucial ingredient for both retention and return on investment (ROI). With rising customer acquisition costs and stiff competition in every industry, it only makes sense to invest adequate time and resources to amplify the lifetime value of your customers.

It’s essential to take a data-driven approach to maximize the ROI and retention of your training efforts. After all, while anecdotal feedback is always nice to hear, the actual data is where the rubber meets the road. That’s why simply offering training isn’t enough—it’s imperative that your chosen training platform includes integrations with CRM platforms like Salesforce or Hubspot in order to successfully connect the dots to real world business impact. 

The Dual Impact: Customer Training on ROI and Retention

It’s easy to understand why effective customer training directly encourages customer retention. Customers that are more confident in their ability to use a product—and maximize the value from it—are much more likely to be satisfied with the product overall. 

What’s less obvious, however, is that the relationship between training and retention is often symbiotic, with increased retention in turn leading to an increased appetite for additional customer training. This makes sense when you consider the positive effect that learning has in general. Gaining new skills and knowledge increases enthusiasm for a subject, which leads to a desire to continue learning, and help others gain knowledge as well.

Craneware, a revenue cycle management software provider for the U.S. healthcare industry, is a leader in their customer training efforts, and they’ve enjoyed above average retention rates as a result. After rolling out Craneware Academy to their customers, they quickly realized a correlation between engaged learners and increased renewals. After certifying more than 650 customers in just one year, they were pleased to discover that 94% of that group was happy and likely to renew!

Key Metrics for Measuring Customer Education Effectiveness and Retention

With the correlation clear between customer retention and education, the next question for L&D teams is, “Which metrics most effectively show how one impacts the other?”. We recommend anchoring to two ROI metrics: Customer Retention Rates and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). These two metrics are easily understood across your organization, and being able to show how training efforts impact both draws a clear connection with retention. 

When it comes to measuring the effectiveness of customer education efforts beyond retention, the following metrics are recommended:

Knowledge Acquisition

Businesses can use features like quizzes and assessments, to gauge the degree to which their customers are understanding and retaining the information being presented, where there might be gaps, etc.

Engagement Levels 

Leading L&D platforms offer interactive features like discussions and other social learning options. This functionality increases engagement between learners, which in turn helps to reinforce the course material.

Skill Application 

By connecting learning initiatives with customer data, companies can draw a correlation between the skills being taught, and the level to which they are being applied in real world scenarios.

Feedback and Surveys

When looking to gauge the effectiveness of your customer education programs, it’s always a good idea to ask customers directly! Features like surveys and other methods of feedback collection are invaluable for gathering insights into your training program.

In a recent webinar, Claude Werder, Senior VP at Brandon Hall Group, explained that it’s important to remember the differences between internal and external training efforts. While internal training allows for much more robust data collection and reporting, external efforts face some challenges in that regard. Claude explained, 

“External learning programs . . . are a little bit more challenging because again, direct assessment isn’t always appropriate. In fact, it’s rarely appropriate. So you have to be a little more flexible. And what you look at is learning data. And our argument is that all data is learning data. Every piece of operational metric in the entire organization, no matter what it’s primarily used for, you can repurpose as learning data when it’s appropriate to support the logic bridge of your program.”

Claude’s takeaway is an important one. When it comes to measuring the impact of your customer training efforts, don’t overlook any available data; it all has the potential to be valuable.

Connecting Training Impact Through Integrations

As mentioned above, it’s paramount for organizations to choose training platforms that offer integrations with their sales and marketing tech stack. Without these integrations, it’s difficult to make the connection between customer education efforts and real-world ROI. 

LearnUpon’s Salesforce integration, for example, makes it possible to correlate training metrics with sales data living in the CRM. This unlocks a world of reporting possibilities, including the ability to cross-reference training data with specific customers to see how your company’s training program impacted individual deals or renewals. You can also take a more holistic approach and see how customer training is impacting sales goals on the whole.

Another power integration is LearnUpon’s HubSpot integration. Where the Salesforce integration provides valuable understanding on the sales side, the HubSpot integration offers a similar level of insight (both granular and high level) on the marketing side. 

Being able to directly show clear ROI between your customer training efforts and your sales and marketing objectives is critical to the success of your L&D efforts. It helps your organization make better decisions about where to allocate budget, which topics are most resonating with customers and prospects, and which areas require a little more reinforcement.

Maximizing Customer Retention through Training and Onboarding

Customer training and onboarding has the potential to significantly improve your organization’s retention rates, but only if your program includes a few important features:

Personalization

When participating in a training, customers need to feel that the content they are being presented connects to the actual challenges and tasks they encounter in their job. Further, the training should leave them with a clear understanding of how they can use your company’s solution to achieve their goals.

Continuous learning

The benefits of continuous learning are supported by science. Embracing this always-on training approach helps reinforce a sense of community and brand loyalty among your customers.

Proactive Support

Comprehensive customer training should be seen as an extension of customer support. By resolving potential questions or issues before your customers even have them, training can proactively reduce customer issues and churn rates. 

Better customer training and onboarding starts today

We hope that this article has helped you better understand the value that customer training and onboarding can add to your organization. These efforts have the potential to significantly increase your customer retention, and in doing so, demonstrate real-world ROI. 

In order to achieve these goals, however, it’s important to partner with a robust L&D solution like LearnUpon. By offering a host of valuable training data, and also integrating with platforms like Salesforce and HubSpot, LearnUpon makes it easy to determine the return on investment of your customer training and onboarding efforts.Browse our resources to learn more about LearnUpon, or request a free demo.

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