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What Is Customer Education and Why Is It Important in SaaS?
December 7, 2022

Why do SaaS companies need to focus on customer education? When you equip your customers with the knowledge they need for success, you both win.

Did you know… acquiring a new customer can cost 5 times more than retaining an existing customer?

Having a proper customer education program set in place can increase overall customer loyalty, satisfaction, and brand experience. It can also help you stay ahead of your competition. So what exactly is customer education and how can a company avoid customer churn? Read on to learn more.

What Is Customer Education?

Customer education is a strategic function that helps customers successfully use the products and tools that are offered by a company. It is a transitory process that has increasingly become synonymous with customer success.

Customer education enables customers to achieve the desired outcomes from your product. This reduces churn, improves adoption, and turns customers into advocates. In software as a service (SaaS) where the rate of innovation is faster and the dependency on products/tools is higher, customer education is particularly important.

What Happens If Customer Education Is Ignored?

If you are ignoring customer education, you are giving your competitors a chance to get ahead of you. Customers churn when:

  • They do not see value in your products right away
  • They fail to adopt and use your platform (i.e there is no maturity after the adoption stage)
  • They don’t continue to learn new capabilities as your platform evolves

What's the Relationship between Customer Education and Customer Success?

Customer education is the core of Customer Success. It strategically accelerates account and user growth by changing behaviors, reducing barriers to value, and improving the way people work. With customer education in place and customer success as a priority, educated customers will engage more with your product, have a better experience, and are most likely to become (and stay) loyal.

Source: Qualtrics

If your business is currently seeing churn and you are trying to understand why — a lack of customer education may be the answer.

At a foundational level, in order for a business to succeed, it is vital to drive success for your customers, who stay and grow with you and eventually become advocates for your products. Getting your customer to the outcome they desire requires a lot of training and education on the product. And this is the core of customer success.
Listen to our podcast to learn more: Customer Ed is the Core of Customer Success

Myths of Customer Education

While customer education is an iterative process, there are a lot of misconceptions about this topic. Let’s dive in to clear up a few myths.

Myth: Education starts and ends at onboarding.

Reality: Onboarding is just one (and the first) part of education. Customers need to feel supported and understand more about the products that can bring them value throughout their entire time with the company.

Myth: The customer relationship management (CRM) team is responsible for customer education.

Reality: While CRM is important, it is not sufficient because through it, your clients are not being educated which is key for product adoption. Focus on a long-term relationship apart from just relying on CRM.

Myth: Documentation is sufficient enough to provide customers with the education they need.

Reality: This is not true. As Dave Derington, Director of Customer Education at ServiceRocket puts it, “Documentation is the map and education is the GPS. Both work together in a very organic manner and ensure the best possible experience for customer education.”

As the old proverb says, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.” The latter is customer education.

Why Is Customer Education Important for SaaS Companies?

Essentially, customer education equips your customers with the exact knowledge they need to succeed which is why ServiceRocket believes, “Customers who don’t learn, churn.”

An average company has 254 applications and 40-60 tools each per department. Engagement on these apps, however, remains low at 45%. With so many tools and applications offered by one software company, customers often feel overwhelmed if the right amount of support and education is not put in place. As one can imagine, feeling overwhelmed leads to feeling disappointed which directly impacts customer experience and loyalty.

In a scenario such as this, customer education steps in to:

  • Standardize global workforce operation
  • Handle scalability
  • Help customers benefit faster by showing them value more quickly
  • Increase product adoption
  • Reduce churn
  • Positively impact brand value

The Future of Customer Education

Companies are increasingly realizing customer education is no longer a luxury but a necessity for their business. It accelerates success and growth — seamlessly and proactively — and the best part? Any customer, at any stage, will benefit from customer education. A recent Forrester’s report identified that:

  • 90% of companies see a positive return on their customer education investments
  • 6.2% see an increase in bottom-line revenue
  • 7.4% see an increase in customer retention
  • 6.1% see a decrease in support costs

Translate the statistics above into real numbers for your company. What does a 6.2% increase in bottom-line value translate into in dollars? Add the numbers and see for yourself how customer education is the golden ticket for your company.

With ServiceRocket’s customizable, repeatable, data-led education program, customers can now realize the full potential of your products. When your churn decreases, revenue grows. We mean it when we say — we’ve got your back.

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