Rethink Commerce Blog

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Developers & IT

Customer Training: Why You Should Create an Academy for Your Customers

Grab your favorite pasta sauce and look on its back label—there’s always a recipe for an awesome dish. They don’t just sell you a product, they teach you how to use it.

This is the purpose of a dedicated training portal for your online customers. Teaching new users how to make the most out of your product should be part of your customer onboarding and lead generation processes because it adds significant value and helps to advance leads further down the sales funnel.

 

Bring the value of your product to the surface by training your customers to become expert users. An expert user is more likely to become hooked on your product and remain a loyal customer for years to come, as well as a valuable advocate of your brand.

 

The importance of a customer training portal

So, what does a customer training portal actually mean for your business?

An academy can reduce costs by:

  • Lowering the number of incoming tickets
  • Providing personalized and automated onboarding
  • Automating customer training and support
  • Helping to automate user activation
  • Acting as a point of reference for support staff to minimize blunders

 

customers

 

It can also increase revenue by:

  • Providing a better customer experience
  • Increasing customer satisfaction
  • Reducing churn
  • Increasing possibility for an upsell
  • Providing the ability to sell premium courses or certifications
  • Increasing customer retention and lifetime value
  • Adding to brand equity, a company’s intangible real estate

 

An expert user will see the value earlier in the sales cycle. They will get value, are more likely to upgrade to your higher-end services, and will stick with you for longer.

Offering high-quality industry-related education can establish your company as a leader in the field and improve your standing as a strong brand, attracting more leads and making it easier to convert leads into customers.

 

How to use education to onboard customers

You most likely already have some sort of customer onboarding in place. Whether you have a blog, an auto-responder sequence, a webinar, or a live demo of your product, you are essentially providing training. All these are slow, time-consuming mechanisms to get to the end result.

 

A dedicated training portal can improve the process by adding self-paced education to the mix. The purpose of onboarding is to teach the use of your product until your customers reach the “Aha!” moment where they see the real value of your product.

A user can join a course teaching them the basics of your product. This is exactly what Hubspot does with their academy. They have courses on how to use every facet of their product.

 

Hubspot knowledge base

 

An example of a successful customer academy

How do you build a customer academy similar to Hubspot if you don’t have the resources of a giant? Here’s an example of a dedicated training portal: Softomotive Academy.

 

sofromotive academy

 

This portal was built using LearnWorlds, a top-rated online course platform and learning management system. LearnWorlds is a fully customizable, white-label solution to train employees and associates, educate customers, or sell online courses to a wide audience.

 

Tips for an effective training portal

There are other tools that an organization can use to implement a training portal. For example, one can use knowledge software. These tools usually have an integrated ticketing system, which is an advantage, however, they lack content presentation capabilities. Such capabilities allow course providers to create a professional-looking academy and engaging classes.

 

Some examples of features that you would expect in a customer academy that is built with an e-learning solution is a course player with lesson-ordering capabilities, interactive video, interactive ebooks, learner management, course access restriction, etc.

With the easy addition of engaging media, like visuals, audio, exercises, quizzes, and text, your training will be a unique learning experience for your users and encourage them to have fun in the process!

 

An academy for lead generation

Knowledge is highly valuable. Everyone is looking to learn something. This is why “How-to” videos on YouTube and articles on your blog get the most traffic.

People are looking for information on how to get to their intended goal. Giving away one or more free courses on popular subjects within your industry can bring in a flood of new leads. Those fresh leads then enter your educational sales funnel, get to know about your product during the process, and eventually become paying customers.

 

When creating a free course to collect leads, you should choose a subject closely relevant and valuable to your audience. Be sure to give a lot of value and prepare some nicely spread-out CTAs throughout your product material.

For example, this free course on Video Based Learning teaches how to create professional educational videos, acting as a lead capture for LearnWorlds.

 

Get started with your own academy

Facing constant pressure from competition and rapid development of new features, businesses need to do a better job of educating their customers. If potential customers do not fully or accurately understand your business benefits, they will be unable to discern your potential value.

 

Education-based customer onboarding is a huge opportunity for every organization that sells B2B digital products, especially if you are working towards increasing sales and reducing churn rates to maximize your profit.

Instead of having customers come back again and again with the same questions or directing them to a boring knowledge base, choose to educate them proactively, so they become power users of your product.

 

 

 

The B2B eCommerce Opportunity and Growth Beyond Agile – CommerceNow ’19 Part 3

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times: marketing is all about the customer. Unfortunately, that maxim can be easy to forget when you’re bogged down in the day-to-day of implementing eCommerce systems or managing agile sprints. But for all your hard work to pay off, you really need to stay focused on the customer. These recent CommerceNOW sessions covering eCommerce and growth may help you develop new strategies for making customer needs your top priority.

 

Maximizing the B2B eCommerce Opportunity: Don’t Be Afraid to Get Messy

 

In this session, Anna Talerico, Chief Operating Officer at Linux Academy, covers everything from measurement to compensation to goal setting. She started out by pointing out a reality that’s too often ignored: the buyer journey is messy! In contrast to often-shared images of a perfect funnel progressing from awareness to consideration to purchase, buyers make many detours along the way and don’t have a perfect path to becoming customers.

 

Different types of businesses may have different business models and complicated sales environments, but they all they need to focus on one thing: sell the way your buyers want to buy. Here are three easy steps to help you start selling for buyer needs, not internal processes:

 

  1. Define your lanes: Who works what deals? What deals can be sold which ways? Even in a complicated sales environment that involves selling online up to a certain number of seats, sending POs through Zendesk, fielding inbound and outbound calls and more, you can control and define how you sell your product for each kind of deal. Make sure to answer questions like who gets paid on a deal, who gets credit for expansions and renewals or how to transition deals to customer success.

 

  1. Document the ground rules. Once you’ve defined your selling lanes, write down the details—now! Too many companies operate on institutional knowledge about how deals work, leading to confusion and people working at cross-purposes to chase a commission. The more clearly you define and document lanes, the more likely you are to succeed—and the better prepared you will be to scale.

 

  1. Look for loopholes. What deals don’t fit in the system? In one company, salespeople were sending deals over to the eCommerce system to close and then grabbing credit for them, because deals were easier to fulfill that way. They weren’t following the process, but still got commissions! Find and close loopholes like this.

 

  1. Evolve as needed. No matter how good your initial “lanes” are and how well you document them, they won’t be perfect! Make sure they change as your business does. Evolve the processes in line with your team to ensure continued success.

 

  1. Sell the way your buyers want to buy. Don’t force them into anything—make it easy for them every step of the way.

 

Once you start recognizing the messy reality of the buyer’s journey and prepare to handle it, you may be ready to improve your product or service offerings to drive additional growth. Here’s how to do that—by going beyond agile.

 

 

Growth Beyond Agile: Focus on the Customer

 

Andre Morys, cofounder of konversionsKRAFT, discussed the recent hype around A/B testing, growth culture and experimentation—and where the hype falls flat. He shared the top 1% of growth principles that were consistent across 500 global experiments conducted by GO Group, a group of optimization consultants.

 

The Top Growth Principles You Can’t Ignore

  1. Give people a relevant reason to buy. Speak their language, not yours.
  2. Use herding and scarcity: funnel buyers to channels where scarcity exists.
  3. Make people feel good when the going gets tough—add a “you qualify for free shipping” message in checkout, for example.

 

Why are these are winning principles? Because they start with human behavior, not marketing departments. Too many marketers think about templates and tracking pixels rather than people and behavior. Leading with tactics will never win: lead with the customer instead.

While these principles are globally applicable, you’ll need to build out your own experimentation engine to find similar principles that work for your company. You can do that by getting started with an agile approach to growth.

 

What Does It Mean to Be Agile?

 

Agile has clearly taken off: the methodology has been widely adopted, with colorful sticky notes and cool illustrations available even on stock photo sites. But there’s way more to agile than feel-good sticky notes and cute drawings.

A lot of people are involved with agile processes, and agile means that product gets shipped more often, but it doesn’t always mean that the product gets better. Quality often rests with the product owner (PO). A good product owner will produce good product; a “bad” one will build a bad one. This means that agile alone is not enough—an agile team can build a product with a poor customer experience.

 

To ensure that agile works for your customers, not against them, have your company (including your PO!) adopt these three tasks to produce growth:

  • Analyze customer problems
  • Prioritize work (throw away irrelevant ideas!)
  • Validate learnings (with a quantitative framework)

 

The growth equation: analyze x prioritize x validate = growth

                                               

Start to move from thinking about features to thinking about customer needs. You’d be surprised to discover how many features are not designed with the customer in mind. In addition, when testing, don’t just test, test the right thing. Work on understanding customer needs through interviews, behavioral studies and more. Don’t stop your research after just a few interviews. Find out how customers really feel. And get angry about customer problems! When their problems drive you, you’ll succeed.

 

Ready to learn more about eCommerce success? Check out more presentations from CommerceNOW.

mail-header-commerce-now-19v2

 

How to Make Your Website Lightning Fast (And Why That Matters)

 Since 2010, Google has included page speed among the most important signals determining a website’s search ranking. Page speed is the wait-time for your site to load that visitors have to endure. On average, eCommerce websites take about 7 seconds to load; the optimal time is around 3 seconds or less.

2Checkout Summer 2019 Release – Optimize Business Performance Worldwide

We are very excited to announce today our Summer ’19 product release, which brings merchants an all-in-one solution to ensure business scalability for any type of product and service!

The latest 2Checkout offering includes Advanced Order and catalogue management options for any type of products – digital or physical – enabling your business to rapidly scale, grow revenue streams across channels and optimize digital commerce operations through a flexible all-in-one monetization platform.

eCommerce Trends for 2019 – Customer Experience, Personalization, and Technology

The eCommerce Trends Survey carried out by 2Checkout with almost 1,000 companies across the world has revealed the latest digital commerce priorities, challenges, and plans important to them as we approach the end of 2018. The participating companies span a wide spectrum of industries and sizes, yet they all report similar concerns and approaches around eCommerce.

How to Create Better Forms

What is a (digital) form?

In a broader sense of the meaning, a form, is an interface that collects through interactions, the required information, in a logical, meaningful way, and then passes it to at least one third party entity.

Sounds complicated, right?

Simplify the eCommerce process. Try 2Checkout.
The most flexible digital commerce platform that can give your business a real boost.