As organizations look to differentiate themselves in increasingly crowded markets, many turn their focus to customer experience to design more meaningful interactions with their customers. Organizations that do so find that customer education is a critical element in driving positive, compelling customer experiences as well as increased loyalty. The purpose of customer education is to equip those who use an organization’s products or services with skills and knowledge they need to take full advantage of a product or service and, ultimately, succeed.
Community education is defined as programs that promote the learning and social development of people within their communities using both formal and informal methods. The purpose of programs like this is to develop the skills that people need to gain self-sufficiency, both in their personal and professional lives, so they can contribute more completely to society. A more broad application of community education can also be found in non-profit organizations that make their communities better places to live.
Customer education generally begins with onboarding or activation and continues throughout the customer journey, providing value and support along the way. Frequently, customer education is delivered via an online learning portal and covers “why, what, and how” topics, such as user stories and testimonials, best practices, step-by-step processes, and how-to demonstrations. For apps or software products, customer education may include in-app guides that demonstrate how to navigate through a product.
Community education includes programming for adult enrichment, lifelong learning, earning a GED, English as a second language, citizenship, and more. The delivery of this content comes in a variety of formats, including in the classroom, training videos, eLearning modules, and small group workshop activities.
The key to success in building customer education is first to determine what content is needed most.
This data can be gathered through surveys, interviews, and focus groups with customers and employees. A good source of information is often the customer service and help desk areas.
Once you know what is needed, offer content via knowledge bases, structured courses, and informal learning opportunities like discussion boards and webinars.
Similar to any effective learning program, customer education requires a holistic approach, not a one-time interaction. Additionally, customer education content must be available at the moment of need.
Keep it short, user-friendly, and meaningful.
Include storytelling to connect with and engage the audience. Create microlearning to deliver YouTube-like demo videos that can educate and serve as an ongoing reference, including features that encourage learners to share information, ask questions, and get tips and techniques from other customers. Deliver timely, relevant content and best practices via a company blog.
Retain engagement through interaction.
When developing community education programs and activities, maintain a dialogue with communities and participants.