Unlocking The Power Of Customer Education For Customer Success

Unlocking The Power Of Customer Education For Customer Success

Courseprofs recently teamed up with Thinkific to talk about unleashing strategies to measure and prove the ROI of your customer education initiatives. You can watch the entire webinar above or read about some of the key insights below.

In this webinar we cover:

  • Practical recommendations and insights on scaling online learning programs are provided.
  • Strategies for nurturing customer success through customer education programs, with a focus on onboarding, are discussed.
  • The impact of customer education on customer retention rates is highlighted, with a case study example.
  • Building a learning universe and empowering customers to become experts in the product/service is emphasized.

Many customers initially to find a solution on a help centre, people will get in, get the information and get out. But then there’s a slightly bigger kind of challenge you’re trying to solve, which is, how do I become an expert in the software? What I find tends to work slightly better and has a better kind of completion rate and engagement rate for this question is having many short courses that solve a particular problem in an LMS.

TL:DR: Here's a summary of what we talked about.

John Kilroy and Simon Dunant discuss the emerging field of customer education and its importance in organizations. Over the past five years, customer education has gained recognition as a formal discipline, driven by the need to train customers on products and reduce churn rates. Customer education teams typically sit within the customer success department and collaborate with various departments to provide structured learning opportunities for customers. The goal is to improve onboarding processes, alleviate the burden on support teams, and ultimately enhance customer satisfaction and retention rates.

The conversation also highlights the structure and responsibilities of customer education teams. They typically start with one or two individuals and expand as the organization recognizes the value of training customers efficiently. The teams consist of a director overseeing implementation and success, learning designers creating content, and content creators developing training materials. The discussion emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of customer education, involving collaboration with support, sales, marketing, and product teams to address challenges and opportunities. Overall, customer education plays a vital role in ensuring customers understand the value of products and remain engaged, contributing to the success of businesses.

In addition, John and Simon explore various strategies and considerations for creating effective customer education experiences. It emphasizes the need for learning designers to structure and create content that focuses on solving customer challenges. The conversation also touches on the concept of microlearning, where short courses and bite-sized lessons are preferred. The importance of designing customer education from a problem-focused perspective and tailoring content to specific scenarios is highlighted. The role of technology, such as learning management systems, analytics, and AI, is also discussed, suggesting that these tools can assist learning professionals in personalizing learning experiences for customers. The transcript concludes by encouraging individuals to proactively position themselves as customer education experts and to propose their expertise to organizations that may not be aware of the need for such roles.

Where does Customer Education Fit Into a Business?

Download our Customer Education Touchpoint Organisation Chart for a typical SAAS business

Full Conversation Transcript

[00:00:00.440] – John Kilroy
Hello everyone. You’re all very welcome. You’re probably just dropping in anyway, but you’re all very welcome to this matches LinkedIn Live conversation with Simon Dunant. So just to set the lead scene a little bit, in case you don’t know who who we are. So the Digital Learning Institute, we’re the global leaders in, in digital learning education and certification. So very much working with individuals to help them advance their careers in the whole area of, of digital learning design. And, you know, increasingly over the last twelve months, we’ve had more and more students from the customer education. Field, which is and I’m really just delighted to be doing having this conversation today around the whole field of customer education, because it’s a really exciting space and I guess a space that’s really important for organisations. And Simon. Is probably the leading voice globally to seen there the leading voice probably in customer education and what we want to try and do today is probably demystify the space, maybe just talk about the history that it’s gone through, what good Practise looks like in customer education. What does a typical day in the life of a customer education professional look like?

[00:01:03.650] – John Kilroy
So in terms of the format for the session today, I have a series of questions and I want to go through with Simon. Simon’s Dunant will introduce himself in a couple of minutes as well, but we will have loads of time at the end for kind of an informal Q and A. So if you do have any questions as we go through the session, please type them into the chat area. You hope you can see the chat area there. We may answer some of the questions as we go through, but if we don’t, there will be the ghost of 20 minutes at the end for a Q and A with Simon and myself as well on this whole area. So hopefully everyone can hear me okay? Can everyone hear me okay? Because sometimes when you’re in LinkedIn Live, it seems like you’re in a studio without any sense if people can hear you or not. So you might just let me know in the chat if you can hear me, okay? That’s all right. Or even farcas if you’re there, you can let me know. Okay?

[00:01:55.330] – John Kilroy
So Simon, I might just hand over to you initially just for a bit of an introduction, if that’s okay?

[00:02:00.950] – Simon Dunant
Yeah, pleased to be here. Great to be talking with everybody on the call today. I’m Simon Dunant and I’ve worked in customer education for over 15 years. I’ve actually stopped counting even before. It called customer education, really. It’s born out of product training. And I run an agency called Courseprofs, which helps businesses build their academies and their customer education programmes, and for the last six years, also worked with a large organisation called Engaging Networks, which runs a very big customer education programme. And I’ve managed that for the last six years, too. So I’ve got a lot of experience in this space. I’ve kind of gone through all the twists and turns, the roller coasters, the ups and downs, from start right to where it’s grown now. So I’m really excited here today to kind of shine a light on that and bring my experience and help out the viewers today on giving them some insight in what’s it like to be inside customer education and where is it now?

[00:03:11.130] – John Kilroy
Yeah, because such a different context, I guess, particularly if you’re working in, let’s say, in internal learning and development, but obviously customer education, the context is quite different. So maybe we just start off, Simon, just with a bit of, I suppose, setting the scene in terms of what’s kind of the history of customer education, how has it emerged and why it has to become so, why it’s important, particularly over the last number of years.

[00:03:33.570] – Simon Dunant
Yeah, well, I mean, for businesses, obviously, training people on their products is key to actually keeping customers, right? A well trained customer is a long term customer because they know the value of what they’re using and what they’ve bought into. So, really, years ago, it started off probably 1520 years ago, probably always been there, really, as product training. If you had a product, especially in the internet space, then in some way, somebody had to be responsible for training the people that were using your product. And back then, it really was kind of usually either customer support or account managers that were training these people. And it was taking up enormous amount of their time putting people into rooms, 5100 people sometimes, right, from clients that wanted to use these products. So, really, customer education was born out of that and has kind of grown in the last five years. I mean, the aims of customer education is similar to the product education side. It’s probably expanded a little bit more, but its aims and goals really has been emerging in the last probably five years out of that traditional product training. And it’s really a more formalised and organised discipline within organisations where people have started recognising that there’s value to training their customers more efficiently.

[00:04:59.890] – Simon Dunant
And companies across Europe and in the US worldwide, really, they’ve been investing in building customer education teams for their businesses. I would say it’s more mature in the US rather than the EU. The EU is catching up. EU UK this whole area is quite wide open in terms of opportunities. As I say, the US is much, much more mature. But customer education really, I describe as kind of commercial focused training. Digital product training can move into things like channel partner training. So third party organisations that work with a business, they are ancillary to the business, and it might be a slightly modified version of customer education, but you’re training those people as well. In terms of goals. The main goals, obviously, for a customer education Department is obviously to train their customers so that they keep them. More recently, I think, the rise of customer education kind of tracked and followed the rise of SaaS products, right. Software as a service products, something you go online as a user and sign up for, and it’s kind of very self service and you never actually have to either or you might have to call support, but you use all this online information to kind of guide you through that and it’s a very efficient way of training your customers.

[00:06:28.350] – Simon Dunant
But if you don’t have a good kind of customer education programme to help keep those, then basically they’ll leave. And that’s called churn. Right, okay. So the turnover of customers now, that’s bad for business. That’s one of their main goals, really, is to reduce the churn. Yeah.

[00:06:48.690] – John Kilroy
Any kind of, I suppose, research done on the impact of customer education on churn rates, or is that ours? Maybe too early to tell at this stage.

[00:06:58.630] – Simon Dunant
It has been done to research. But again, five years, we’re actually still really young in the customer education space. I mean, pretty much everybody who’s built any kind of customer education online will see an improvement in their churn rate, right. Even if it’s a simple just bunch of videos on YouTube and directing people to YouTube, it doesn’t have to be very advanced. It really is that simple rate. So getting that organised does reduce the churn rate. I mean, for example, Engaging Networks has a 98% retention rate and obviously there’s quite a big team of people that are working on that. There’s account managers and there’s customer support and all of a tonne of people working there. And it’s a good example because it’s a reasonably large organisation that works with very large nonprofit organisations all over the world. Right. When they introduced the Academy and their help centre, like four or five years ago, it not only obviously really provided some sort of structured learning for their customers, but I think one of the other benefits there is that it also took away a real big heavy lift from their support team and account management.

[00:08:08.470] – Simon Dunant
They weren’t going into routes. It really assisted online learning. And here’s the thing about customer education and this online learning side is it’s an assist to the support team and account management, not a replacement. So I’ll give you an example. Onboarding for a support team or an account management team can mean spending a lot of FaceTime with customers, especially new customers, teams of people, and matching up all of their kind of times and everything across the world, wherever they are, is really difficult. So they do a lot of repetitive training as well. Right, okay, click here, click here, do this. Here’s how to get started. Now, if you can take all of that heavy lifting away, put that in a self serve context for the customer to go away and do those kind of simple stuff, but heavy lifting. All the account management team and the support teams end up actually speaking to the customer about the stuff they never got to before, which is specifics about them. So that’s another massive benefit, huge value.

[00:09:14.510] – John Kilroy
Absolutely. The more you talk about it. Now, the application is there’s a huge business case for getting this right, really, isn’t there? And you mentioned there are kind of academies and so on. Simon, how are organisations typically structuring their costume education teams at this stage? What does that typically look like?

[00:09:31.270] – Simon Dunant
Yeah, well, we have a slide if we can bring it up. I think your backroom technical guys can bring that up on screen. Now, I really like to actually show the kind of customer education general touch points that people this is a mature kind of organisation. So if you have a look at customer success right in the middle, that’s usually where customer education sits, in a mature kind of organisation, with or without customer education. Right. So they’ll typically have client support, you’ll typically have sales and marketing and you’ll typically have product people. And this customer education, the third kind of column here is where it gets built out. Now, what I’ll say about this is this looks like okay, there’s a lot of people working in it, but typically when I started Engager Network, like kind of six years ago, all of those four things that you see there, which is a Director of Customer Education, which manages and measures the implementation of success, and the learning designers who kind of decide what should be built, and the content creators that can be one person at the beginning. Right. Doing all those four jobs right now, that looks like a lot of work, but actually it’s an opportunity especially for people who want to get into the customer education from another section.

[00:10:47.690] – Simon Dunant
If you have skills in kind of managing the technical implementations of learning systems or even simple help desk systems, and you can do a bit of learning design and you can create some content for organisations that are really early on in the stage, right? You could jump in and actually kind of get in here. But what you’ll find is when a customer education team gets started, whether it’s a one person it usually is, and then expands is very quickly, they will kind of interface with so many different parts of the business, right. So support teams will come to you with the challenges which you will turn into the training. Sales engineers will come to you and say, here’s the time we’re spending with XYZ customers onboarding. Could we do something about this? Sales teams, marketing teams, then the partnership teams get on board and say, oh, okay, can we kind of like train our partners as well? And then you end up going over to the product team and finding out all about all the things that you need to build into the training and then your job is to push that up into backup to the customer success and then perhaps get marketing involved and kind of help them promote that.

[00:11:58.620] – Simon Dunant
So I think this is a really good slide. I mean, this looks like a mature, say, organisation, but really the customer education usually starts out with kind of one, maybe two people at most, and then expands into this. But it’s useful to see what the disciplines are, I think, of what is kind of expected in that area.

[00:12:19.630] – John Kilroy
Yeah, it’s a really good slide here, by the way, guys. If anyone has any particular questions here on that slide, because I know just why we have it up, just shoot it in. And just out of interest, do you find that people, from a career perspective, are transitioning from client support into Ce to customer education, or are they coming from, say, the marketing? How does that tend to work in organisations?

[00:12:41.650] – Simon Dunant
I think it tends to be skewed towards client support because you have to have the mindset of solving that challenge for the customer. Right. But you’re doing it in a different way rather than a one to one FaceTime kind of on the phone or via an email. Right. That’s the firefighting side. What you actually have to do is kind of bring over your solutions to kind of reduce those firefighting, which obviously then improves the churn, improves the customer support experience, et cetera, unless the client support guys and the Am guys get on with what they need to do, as I said before. So what you’re trying to do is actually come in with a more long term solution to solve any of these challenges. So you’re having these conversations with people, which I used to find really interesting to have. It’s like, how can we build something that will completely eradicate this problem so you don’t have to deal with it again, which clients just never have the time to do.

[00:13:36.340] – John Kilroy
Yeah, it’s so problem focused, really, isn’t it? Sometimes that would be when you’re talking maybe to in house learning and development professionals. Sometimes the ability to define the problem isn’t always maybe as easy, but when you’re talking about, I guess, customer facing products, it’s a lot more tangible to a certain extent.

[00:13:54.980] – Simon Dunant

[00:13:55.760] – John Kilroy
I see that role of the learning designer, because obviously a lot of our students will be in that space. What do you think is important, even if we go on to maybe the next question side, in terms of what does a good customer education experience look like? And I guess the role of the designer within that.

[00:14:15.570] – Simon Dunant
Yeah, so we’re probably done for this slide at the moment, but in terms of focusing on learning designers, so what you’re going to be looking at there is building out some sort of structure. So sometimes when you start a customer education programme, you don’t have a budget, so you might have to kind of bootstrap yourself I mean, that’s certainly how we did it. At Engaging Networks, the first thing that people usually do is try to get some sort of content out, right? So that might be some sort of online help content, videos, articles, et cetera. And they tend to be a bit fragmented. They end up on a blog, they ended up on a YouTube channel. And then that tends to get formed into an online help centre, right, which is generally article, but can be video formats. And then the next stage pretty quickly is like, how do we then measure that content and how do we kind of bring in some kind of training academy, which is guided learning, which we can take people through a user journey. And I think that’s where learning designers can help here because they will have the understanding of, okay, we can find out what the challenge is, but what’s the best way to deliver that?

[00:15:24.630] – Simon Dunant
And I think building some kind of business academy for custom education means that you can actually sit down and work out some learning journeys to get people kind of trained up as experts in the product, right. As soon as you empower them with that, then those problems and challenges go away. You’re thinking about kind of like micro learning. Micro learning is very big because people don’t have a lot of time when they’re trying to do their jobs and learning about a product to dive in and dive out, building shorter courses and putting them together into learning paths and thinking about what the journey is for those particular kind of customers. And they might be different cohorts, et cetera and stuff like that. That’s where learning designs can really make an impact in customer education because, yeah, you know, obviously, you know, support teams, they know all of the answers, but they don’t have the time or the knowledge to actually structure those. So that’s where I think, value here.

[00:16:26.140] – John Kilroy
Yeah. And I just see Elaine here. Elaine from Hookspot is here and she just makes the point that they’re certifying as part of their customer education, they certify their customers as experts as well.

[00:16:35.440] – Simon Dunant
Oh, absolutely. Well, this is the thing, right? I mean, for example, Engaging Networks, which is the biggest company I work with, they work with nonprofits all around the world. And nonprofits aren’t known for, like, investing in staff’s education, professional education. They don’t have the budget to do that. So if businesses can come in and help their clients certify some of the skills that their staff have, it’s a real bonus for the business to be able to offer as well.

[00:16:59.750] – John Kilroy
Yeah, because there’s a career development aspect to it, then I know certified with HubSpot or certified with Google Analytics, so that’s kind of in that space already. Great. So in terms of a best Practise experience that I know you’ve got a question of some of this already, but what would a good customer education experience typically look like. I know you mentioned things like micro learning and learning pathways and cohort based learning. Any other observations on that?

[00:17:31.230] – Simon Dunant
Well, I think it also kind of loosely follows things like the Addie model. You need to analyse, you need to design, you need to develop and you need to evaluate. Right. You need to implement and evaluate all of that. So, again, somebody coming in. It’s much looser in customer education, right? Because informal education, academia or even in kind of HR and the typical type of learning development, this is much looser. You have the freedom to kind of build your own adding model effectively if you really want to, right. And add on to that. So whatever gets job done. I mean, even five years in, we’re still learning how some of this stuff will apply and pulling stuff in, whether that’s multimedia skills or learning design skills. We’re pulling from a whole range of really rich skill sets and it’s coming together in customer education. And it’s a super mix of people that I meet every day that have these really skills and a new one comes along every day to go into that mix to improve it. So that’s why I find it such a fascinating place to be at the moment.

[00:18:36.470] – John Kilroy
Yeah, no, it is, really. Your passion is jumping out through the screen, which is great. And Elaine is just asking here if we just go maybe a bit deeper into micro learning because obviously you can see the fit. There’s an obvious fit between micro learning or learning in the flow of work and customer education. Is there any insights into the examples of micro learning that work quite well.

[00:18:57.210] – Simon Dunant
Or typically, what that people like the hit of completing something. Right? I mean, ultimately customers are usually trying to find a solution now on a help centre, people will get in, get the information and get out. But then there’s a slightly bigger kind of challenge you’re trying to solve, which is like, how do I generally use the software? What I find tends to work slightly better and has a better kind of completion rate and engagement rate is having many short courses that solve a particular problem in an LMS. So it’s better to have lots of short courses in a customer education LMS where people can come in maybe for up to 45 minutes or even an hour max with kind of ten minute lessons that they can pick it pick up in their coffee break and go through and, like, oh, okay, right, I’ve learned that little section. And then they can, at the end of it, guide people through to the next section so that they can kind of do that same thing, maybe the next week or the next day and build up on their education that way. That tends to be really successful.

[00:19:57.940] – Simon Dunant
And I’ve seen a lot of uptake doing that. So in terms of micro learning, I think it’s as I say, bit by bit, but also not having massive courses. Right? People get scared off by those massive courses because that’s just not how they consume media outside of work, outside of learning. Right. So their mindsets are watching YouTube video where they get the answer in kind of 15 minutes.

[00:20:19.210] – John Kilroy
Yeah. Particularly from a customer education perspective. I like that idea, I guess, Simon, of maybe designing the content in the context of the problem and not just here’s the how, if you’re in this scenario, this is what you should look at doing, and then here’s some micro resources to help you. And I think a lot of the time with micro learning, it’s about choice, but giving people flexibility in the type of content, whether it’s video based or whether it’s a blog or a checklist or an infographic or some sort of maybe quick demo video. But even if they want to go also giving them the option to go deeper so I could read maybe a blog, then if I want to go a little bit deeper or listen to a podcast if I want to go deeper again. So I think sometimes with micro learning, it’s a little bit about choice, because the more choice you give, the more personalised it feels. But I really like that idea that you mentioned there about designing customer education from problem down as opposed to content up to a certain extent. Okay. I guess if I’m working in the customer education team, and I know it’s probably a small team to a certain extent, what would a typical day in the life look like?

[00:21:26.430] – John Kilroy
It sounds very exciting, by the way, typically, what would a typical day today look like? I guess?

[00:21:33.710] – Simon Dunant
Yeah, I mean, the exciting part about it is that generally because customer education programmes aren’t kind of that mature for organisations that are just starting out, you have the option to contribute. So if you are starting from scratch, it might be things like selecting the right learning management system for the customer education programme, building out a learning content production process, working out those course curriculums, going around talking to people. Seeing what content is out there, gathering that together, finding out the challenges, and then kind of placing that content in the right places in that journey, basing that on the business goals and learning about the business. And one of the great things about customer education is that you get involved in areas of the business and sit down with people to talk about the goals on a range of stuff. You kind of have to work right across the business. Rather than just seeing yourself as somebody who works within the customer success, you have to be that person that pulls in those people elsewhere. So a lot of conversations across the business on how you can get input from the business and also how you can expand out into the business and just building that general learning strategy for customers.

[00:22:46.630] – Simon Dunant
If you’re joining a team that’s already growing in customer education, then you’ll probably be looking at things around expanding course curriculum. So they might have started and have a bunch of content and they might have tried to put it in some sort of format, but then it’s more kind of like picking it apart and making it better. So that would probably be more around kind of content production, building and managing content pipelines, organising content updates and stuff like that. And looking for new areas of business where customer education can help kind of remove those training. Heavy listings that I meant listing, that I meant mentioned before for larger, more mature customer education programmes. The focus might actually be on developing out things like metrics, measuring the return on investment, the customer education programme, because at the beginning it really is kind of like you get out there, you build a minimum viable product and get it running. But content teams who are managing those pipelines and they’re repurposing content, et cetera, then they have to go back and kind of refine it a lot. So if you’re going into a mature business and you have any kind of analytical skills, then those will be sucked up really quickly.

[00:23:54.320] – John Kilroy
Yeah, I think having a strong evaluation strategy for customer education is like, you know, it’s important for any learning intervention, but you can, I suppose, typically for in house learning and development, sometimes the link from, let’s say, to business impact can be the most difficult step to make. How do I show a tangible impact on business results from, let’s say, a leadership development programme or some soft skill type training and even customer service training to a certain extent as well. But I think with this you’ve got a lot of KPIs to work off, whether it’s churn rate and customer satisfaction. So I think that ability to performance consultant sounds like a really important part of the role and it’s something that we would talk to our students about that you need to be able to stay connected with the business and to be able to have problem conversations. And particularly in this customer education space, I think that is even probably more important. And I see, Josie, you just dropped in there. This is recorded, I think, Fergus, isn’t it? We were recording this. So anyone that’s missing, if you missed the start, we get the recording out here.

[00:24:58.990] – John Kilroy
So I guess with the last question before we get into, I guess, the kind of general Q and A is some of the, I guess the opportunities and challenges for learning professionals to move into customer education. So a lot of our students will be existing learning professionals or people transitioning into learning design. And for those that might like to get into this space, any kind of tips that you would just give them.

[00:25:21.830] – Simon Dunant
Yeah, I mean, the customer education space does continue to grow. I mean, obviously the tech sector in the US particularly has been hit with a lot of layoffs. So when they have layoffs you tend to lose learning and development people, right? But on the flip side, they still need their customers coming in more than ever, right? That’s why in those particular markets actually a lot of learning professional in the US are moving over to kind of the customer education side in Europe. I think there’s a lot of SaaS companies in Europe that still don’t have a customer education kind of programme and if they do, it’s very basic. So the opportunities here are to jump in and contribute. I think what you really need to do is look at your transferable skills. You need to be open to tweaking these, morphing them into a more commercially focused kind of revenue driven environment. Content production is a heavy focus, having good content. So if you’ve got any skills in kind of creating really nice looking content that really hits the mark, then bringing that to the customer education side is really valuable. Professionals with multimedia skills, I know getting a little bit specific like in the learning development side, things like articulate, storyline, Rise, all of those kind of authoring tools have been staples.

[00:26:48.210] – Simon Dunant
But I think in the customer education side it’s a little bit more looser and it reflects kind of the more general web consumption. So video skills, writing skills, those are kind of two of the main things and coupling those with your understanding of learning design and keeping up to date with kind of like the latest tools and focusing on building your skills in general web skills, it’s kind of a little bit like marketing but not marketing, right?

[00:27:16.780] – John Kilroy
Yeah, it’s kind of that blend between marketing and learning design and a little bit but I think you’re right, I think for a lot of that kind of articulate type courses they’re just too time consuming. Obviously with customer education it’s about agility, it’s about speed, it’s about obviously updating it. So I think obviously from that perspective that has to be considered in terms of the authoring technology. You know, in a parents like the likes of Rise and Genie and Elucidas.

[00:27:43.900] – Simon Dunant
Would have a lot of they all have their place but you know, the the massive freedom you get in customer education is from that that you can just build what you need and as you say, the agility and speed to delivery is important. Right? Because if customers are kind of like leaving or there’s a churn right, then you have to get something in place as quickly as possible. So I think there is a massive freedom that you get and that’s the excitement of kind of getting into the customer education space.

[00:28:14.020] – John Kilroy
Yeah, no, it is really exciting and if I just ask the question around and again, even if you’ve heard around it, I suppose maybe the potential impact of artificial intelligence now in customer not just. Customer education, but across the whole customer experience, customer success, landscape. Any initial observations?

[00:28:33.470] – Simon Dunant
There exciting times in AI. I mean, we created the title of this LinkedIn live from Chat GPT. Right. I think AI, rather than kind of replacing people, I think it is assist. Right? It’s AI assist. It can do a lot of things. Chat GPT, you can put a lot of stuff in there and it gives you a great starting point. Right. But you can never really replace your unique set of experiences that you’ve experienced through life. Right. I’ve ended up in this position, getting all of these experiences without AI, and it’s very difficult to kind of replicate those experiences because AI kind of looks at what works. But I think you have to go through some of the missteps and learning experiences to kind of really get that experience. So I think there is a place for AI in learning and I think it’s going to take over probably most of the web over the next kind of 510, 15 years. It will be a very different landscape, but I think at the moment, use it as an inspiration, use it as a starting point. There’s some great stuff out there, but don’t underestimate what you’ve learned and what you can bring to the table as well.

[00:29:46.490] – John Kilroy
Yeah, okay, great. Elaine is just making the point there. You can’t underestimate the value of knowledge basis and SEO for customers to get them to chat GPT was a fantastic assistant in new courses, but absolutely, we need the humans to refine it. Okay, great.

[00:30:03.150] – Simon Dunant

[00:30:03.330] – John Kilroy
So, listen, I think that was really a really insightful conversation so far, Simon, because we have some time now for a bit of a Q and A, if people would like to put some questions into the chat, if you’d like to go deeper into any of those areas. So, does anyone have any questions they want to ask?

[00:30:19.430] – Simon Dunant
Simon? I’m just looking through the common questions now, somebody, I think it’s Marie Claire Kelly, was asking about rolling out a new LMS, embarking on customer training journey. So, yeah, one thing I’d say about rolling out an LMS is it tends to come a little bit later after you’ve got a bit of content and you want to kind of organise it. And what I would say with learning management systems is it’s just get started with it. People ask me all the time, how many courses should I launch? I would say, pick your three biggest problems and focus on those. Right. I mean, we started at engaging networks with one onboarding course, and it solved a massive challenge of getting people in a room, which was expensive and time consuming, and getting them doing the repetitive training online. And that one course really transformed things and it showed the value of the learning management system to the business. And we bootstrapped that on Moodle. It was literally on a server. We built it on Moodle later on. We moved to a SaaS LMS afterwards, but it really gave us the opportunity to kind of prove to the business what the value of the customer education programme was and then that very quickly started expanding.

[00:31:35.670] – Simon Dunant
So I would say if you’re rolling out on an Ms, don’t think like, oh, I’ve seen somebody else’s academy and it’s got like 50 courses and they’re all structured this way. Right. Everybody starts with the first step, so just get your first one, two, three courses out for your biggest challenges and the business will support that.

[00:31:51.410] – John Kilroy
Yeah, and you’re right, I think. I think focus more on the course and maybe initially less on the platform. Sometimes the experience that you’re looking for will then dictate the type of platform that you need. I think sometimes when I talk with organisations about learning management systems, it’s important to have your content strategy clear first because that ultimately inform then decisions you might want to make on platforms. But just out of interest, generally speaking, do you find that organisations typically use learning management systems and learning platforms for customer education, or does it tend to be more flexible, where they might have stuff on YouTube and LinkedIn and Joke? How do you generally see that working?

[00:32:29.230] – Simon Dunant
Yeah, well, I mean, one of the things is you want to get metrics, right? So having people log into a formal learning management system allows you to guide them through that. And I think self discovery is great and YouTube channels really do work for a time, but at some point you do want to kind of move to a formal programme so that you can measure the effectiveness on the back end. You can certainly do that through views, but you can’t tie it to a user. So having it tied to a particular user. Here’s an example. The LMS we’re using at the moment at Engaging Networks allows us to have something called a group analyst feature. What it basically does is it allows you to have put the training tracking in the hands of a company. So Engaging Network serves nonprofits. The nonprofits has a bunch of people that are trying to use this product. So you can have a team leader at the organisation that you’re serving and they can track their own kind of little group of people. And that’s great because the account managers don’t have to interact with that client on their training progress, they can do it all theirselves.

[00:33:31.390] – Simon Dunant
So look for those kind of things where the learning management system can help the client help themselves as well.

[00:33:37.420] – John Kilroy
Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. The more you kind of allow them to have ownership over analytics, the better. Giving them their own dashboards and so on, and visibility on data. I think that’s a really good point as well, and a lot of LMS will be set up for that, but I definitely think that would be a consideration. So the question there around the type of tools I think we were discussing earlier that there’s definitely a focus on micro learning. So I’d be kind of looking at tools that facilitate that. So your Seven Taps, you might have heard of seven Taps is a really good micro learning tool. You’re a Lucidat Genie is a good micro learning tool. You know, rise obviously on the articulate side, you know, so Anthem that Anthony kind of can facilitate like, you know, altering of micro content but even any kind of video based learning as well will be in that space.

[00:34:26.440] – Simon Dunant
Yeah, camtasia is very, very popular in the customer education space for sure because obviously you can do the animations and stuff like that as well. So actually on that point, that’s a very good point is what type of content you use. A lot of the customer education content, especially around kind of SaaS products, tend to be like screen recordings. But what I would say about that is don’t forget to put a human in there if the person’s recording it, right, try and overlay their face into it as well because otherwise you get a tonne of just watching a computer screen working, which is great, click here, do this, et cetera. But having a person just overlaid in the bottom right hand corner really brings the human aspect through that because self serve can be even on micro learning can be like a lonely space, right? Put some people in there and it.

[00:35:14.570] – John Kilroy
Gives it credibility as well. If the subject matter expert is in it as well, particularly with AI, know that credibility element will become more and more important.

[00:35:25.350] – Simon Dunant
One other little tip is that if you run conferences and you record those or you have webinars, right, go in and repurpose all that stuff as well. You don’t have to record new items. If you’ve got a library of a rich library of content already, go in there and pull out those snippets, et cetera, and put those in. And if you’ve got somebody presenting a case study or one of your clients, these are things you can pull into that as well.

[00:35:48.660] – John Kilroy
Case studies. Is there a lot of simulations happening? So you mentioned like, let’s say screencast or demos of the software. Would you see any kind of where the customer can go in and actually interact with the software in like a sandbox and do kind of Practise sessions? How popular is that?

[00:36:06.550] – Simon Dunant
Yeah, I mean, obviously if they’re already a client then they’ll probably have their own account and they will follow along and try to build that. And actually that’s another thing to think about is that if they aren’t clients, that tends to be on the kind of presale side, but it doesn’t matter because customer education can help with that too, right? So they might well be in like a sandbox or have a sandbox account. What I would say is that think about the context of where where that where that’s going to going to fit in in that side. But certainly there are tools that you can have interactivity as well, that you can embed in your LMS or have on your website where people can actually go and follow along. I’m sure most learning designers will have used something similar to follow along with.

[00:36:50.530] – John Kilroy
Yeah, an interesting question here from Samuel. So I’m struggling a bit to build education around a large product area concept. It feels a bit all or nothing. How do you prioritise where to start and do so whilst making sure that initial content supports ongoing development for the whole thing?

[00:37:08.310] – Simon Dunant
Yeah, I know. Well, this is the thing I was mentioning, right? It can feel overwhelming, especially like you’ve got a mature business that needs such a big amount of stuff doing right. You can only ever take the first step, right? That’s why I said pick your top three challenges and go from there. You’ll soon find that the business does come in and supports it once it sees the value right, and then wants you to do even more. For example, we started the client academy Engaging Networks, and then it was very quickly, like, how can we then accredit the web partners that help our clients, right? So then we set up this accreditation programme alongside the client side and suddenly we had two Academies Academy for Partners training partners how to help our clients and use product. We were running a client academy and then, of course, Engaged Networks was about 50 people. We didn’t have a HR, so they said, well, can we set up a staff academy? So we suddenly had a staff academy born out of customer education, funnily enough, but they didn’t have kind of that side inside. So you’ll find people come out of the woodwork in the business and actually show you where you should be focusing your time very quickly.

[00:38:15.680] – Simon Dunant
But I would like to say just start on the biggest three challenges, right? Don’t worry about a bigger picture. It’s always the same when you’re trying to build out this, you can see the possibilities, but you need to build out that timeline to get there, a realistic timeline to get there to avoid.

[00:38:28.870] – John Kilroy
I think that’s good tip, Sammy. Just like, identify the top three pain points with the product and build from there. Initially, build down from the problem and I think probably reaching out to your stakeholders to find what they are, what those paypoints are, or even the customers themselves. You’ll get a lot of buy in if you take that approach with a product training. I don’t know the product that you’re looking at, but it could be quite fast in terms of where do I even start here? Do I have to go through the whole customer journey with the product? I think, like Simon said there, identify all the challenges or pain points with it and then build down from pick the top ones. And Elaine has a tip for you as well, I think. So Samuel has to also think about layering. If you’d like to look at it like a pillar page. I like that idea where the overview of everything is on the main page and the subtopics are available as links within the pillar page so that the learner can choose what topics or some they want to learn.

[00:39:25.410] – Simon Dunant
That’s a really good point. Actually. If you go over to Engagingnetworks Academy, I’ve actually structured their academy exactly like that, so it’s in kind of like categories. So it’s actually a good example of how to do a self serve academy at Engaging Networks Academy. What I would also say is I’ve seen more and more, rather than structuring it around the product and the actual kind of areas of the product, I’m also looking to expand their academy out into kind of job roles. And because we have a lot of content now, I’m going to kind of put a secondary page where people can go and say, I am a X. And these are the courses you will probably want to take, like a tracked kind of development programme for somebody who’s like a campaign manager or a marketer or whatever their role is, or I’m an analyst. And then once you have that kind of mature content that you can pull from that library, you can then construct it into kind of job roles. I mean, ideally I probably would have started there. Maybe you should, if you’re in that position and thinking about job role journeys effectively.

[00:40:35.330] – Simon Dunant
So there are many ways to do it. It just depends what works for your audience, really.

[00:40:40.650] – John Kilroy
You can see there the overlap with marketing. Again, just when Elaine’s point there around pillar pages. Obviously that would be a typical approach for SEO as well.

[00:40:48.590] – Simon Dunant
Yeah, of course.

[00:40:50.190] – John Kilroy
I suppose it’s identifying how you structure the pillars. Do you do the pillars by job roles or do you do by, I suppose, a feature in the product? But I like that idea of doing.

[00:41:03.010] – Simon Dunant
Absolutely well. Also, I’m toying with the idea of having questionnaire as well, is like, what do you want to achieve? And this is probably where you mentioned like, AI coming in eventually, maybe this is too early, but this is like my ultimate thing is like, I want to achieve X. And then some AI bot would come in and construct those courses and bring them in or pull in resources and construct that. And I could see Chat GPT, potentially, if you could build a learning model from your own individual content, that would be amazing because you could literally over time, serve your customers well. So that’s a little bit glimpse perhaps into the future.

[00:41:37.410] – John Kilroy
But no, I don’t I don’t think we’re too far off that. Ultimately, that’s probably where it’s going to go, where it’ll be question based, where I suppose your customer education will be essentially a type of chat GBT. But obviously you have to feed it, though, if you go to chat BT. Now you’re getting content from the wider web, but in the context of customer education, it needs to be content from the actual customers sorry, the products itself. So investing in your content is going to be worthless, but there might be a layer on top of it, like a search engine, AI based search engine, where it will help you find the right content at the right time.

[00:42:15.690] – Simon Dunant
You mentioned SEO, and this is an important thing because people spend time like, okay, what’s the search function in our learning management system? Like, how good is it? And it’s like most people are probably going to Google and trying to first look there for the answers to questions. So you’re right. If you’re structuring your help centre, if you’re structuring your learning management system, try to make it very SEO friendly. It’s a little bit more difficult with learning management systems because a lot of the content is gated behind that because it has to have a login. But certainly things like landing pages for enrollment pages, there’s a lot you can do there. And on the general kind of LMS, not every LMS is gated, but obviously you have to have a login to track a user. Right. So those are tips. People probably aren’t searching or starting their journey on the actual platform where you’re delivering that learning. You have to think about like, Google and the search engines out there because that’s where they’re generally looking for the answers.

[00:43:10.510] – John Kilroy
Yeah, but I think even though if you are asking people to log into an LMS, maybe the search feature should be up front and centre, because I think they probably won’t mind too much logging into the system as long as they know when I get in there, I can get it really quickly. It’s the scenario if I go in and I have to go through reasons of content to get to the problem. So maybe designing your platform from search down as opposed to categories of content where they have to go looking for.

[00:43:38.010] – Simon Dunant
It, that’s exactly probably the way to go.

[00:43:40.070] – John Kilroy
Yeah. But okay, great. Okay, guys, any other questions? We’re just going to start wrapping up now. Simon that was a really interesting it’s really exciting space. You definitely see there’s a huge overlap with learning design, but also with marketing as well. I think it’s like one of those kind of multidiscipline type professions, isn’t it, in terms of ability to work with the business, the ability to bring marketing into it. But also learning design, I think is going to become more and more in terms of differentiating customer education from other your competitors. I think the quality of the actual experience will be really important.

[00:44:17.730] – Simon Dunant
Yeah. One last thing I would say, John, is that for people out there that are viewing this, is that if you’re looking for a job in customer education, don’t always necessarily go out there looking for the existing jobs. And I’d say this, especially in Europe, is go to companies and suggest some of this, right? Because they may well be looking for it but don’t know how to hire for this because it’s so young. Right. Five years is nothing in this space. Right. So be proactive. I mean, that’s how most of my jobs be proactive. Go to the company, show the benefits, and say, can we test this out maybe on a short term, six month basis, and see what I can do for you? Right. It really is very much that you are the master of your own destiny here right now, and it’s a massive opportunity for people who are looking to move from learning and development into customer education. Those are all hidden jobs. So be proactive and take what you’ve learned today and apply that and go knock the doors.

[00:45:14.540] – John Kilroy
Yeah. Network and position yourself as a CX educator or CX trainer. I think that kind of that will give you a bit of a bit of foot in the door and just open. I think you’re right.

[00:45:25.670] – Simon Dunant
Companies don’t always know that they want this, right? Yeah. But when you turn up at the door and you present it to them, they’re like, this is a great idea. Let’s give this a go. So it’s amazing opportunities.

[00:45:34.690] – John Kilroy
You don’t know what you want until you have it, I guess.

[00:45:37.450] – Simon Dunant
Okay, great.

[00:45:38.410] – John Kilroy
Listen, Simon, thanks a million for the time. That was a really great conversation. So we will record this podcast, open and send it out to people. And obviously you can reach out. We love to share Simon’s details as well. So, again, Simon, thanks a million for your time. Really appreciate it. And thanks, everyone for joining the conversation today.


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