5 MIN READ
Why Customer Education Needs to Care About Customer Journey Mapping
The customer journey is important to so many different departments in your organization. Each team may base their activities and goals on a particular segment of the customer journey, and customer education teams are no different. But that can only happen if you've mapped the customer journey. Many companies haven't, or they've only done a portion of the journey. TSIA did some research and found that mapping the customer journey was one of four key practices that lead to high renewal and expansion rates.
Who doesn't want that?
For teams like sales and marketing, the customer journey is an obvious thing to have mapped out, but it's also important for customer education pros too. It can help dictate what to work on, when, and how. Let's take a look at what customer education pros can learn from a fully mapped customer journey.
Why care about customer journey mapping?
#1: You'll uncover a clear picture of what customers want
As TSIA found out, mapping the customer journey was important for renewal and expansion rates, mainly because the organizations that mapped it out had more insight into what was important to the customer. They prioritized product improvements and enhancements more easily since they knew what would directly impact customers.
Customer education teams can use this same information to prioritize and optimize their course development. Uncovering what courses to create or update, the timeline to do so, and what the end goals are that customers want to achieve with the courses.
#2: You'll remove bias and presumptions about what customers want
Often when we create something we're so locked in to our own vision that we fail to notice other perspectives that might add value to the project. That's why I always get someone else to review and edit my work before I publish it. Another set of eyeballs always helps.
The same goes for customer education. By looking at the entire customer journey, CE pros will gain a wider perspective of their audience and their organization, thereby keeping customer education on target with customer business outcomes and technology promises you've made elsewhere (like in your marketing or product development).
#3: You'll understand better how CE fits in to the ideal customer experience
Taking the time to develop the ideal customer experience is important for today's companies, however many miss the mark. That's because they don't fully understand the importance of the various touch points between them and customers and how they impact customer business outcomes. Each customer is different and so to are their business outcomes and success goals for using your products.
CE can help fill those gaps for your organization, showing how your products impact customers and providing critical feedback on the user experience back to you.
#4: You'll demonstrate how CE is the "tour guide" to prospects and customers
You may think that customer education is only "really" active during the post-sales portion of the customer journey, however that's not entirely true. CE can act as the tour guide for your products and the customer experience, leading prospects and customers through the journey. They're at the front of the group with the umbrella held high, describing what they're seeing, answering all questions, and shepherding the group to the next destination (or course or product benefit). The course roadmap can be mapped to the customer journey, demonstrating how to guide prospects and customers through every stage of their product usage journey—from initial contact as a prospect into intermediate and advanced product users as customers.
#5: You'll increase prospect and customer software adoption
Adoption is the part of the customer journey that most CE pros are familiar with, as they understand how their courses help customers realize a return on their investment through better software adoption. Education and training helps customers get started using your products and with the meticulous planning of your curriculum roadmap, fosters continual progression of learners to broaden their product usage and knowledge.
By matching the curriculum roadmap to the full customer journey, CE pros will be able to increase software adoption as they'll engage with and assist more customers at various points during their journey, instead of just in the post-sales timeframe.
#6: You'll drive more targeted engagement with your company as a whole
A key element of any journey, whether it's a vacation or the customer journey, is engagement. Every activity is a way for people to engage with their surroundings, creating a great experience. The customer journey is also about engagement and customer education is in one of the best positions to drive engagement. CE wants to interact with as many people as possible, engaging in a real relationship with them as they progress from new users to intermediate ones, and ultimately a raving fan and brand influencer.
CE's position of wanting to interact with as many people as possible is in direct contrast to some other teams in most organizations. Professional services uses a one-to-few interaction model and support teams use a one-to-one model. These teams look to interact with as few customers as possible, and in the case of support teams, decrease the number of customers they speak to. CE can drive a more focused engagement model for these teams by filling in the gaps these other teams leave. For example, customers who call in for support have a very specific question about a product feature, instead of a general "how do I get started?" type of question. This way other teams are able to streamline their activities and CE widens their sphere of influence, thereby giving customers the "right" engagement connection with your organization.
#7:You'll create more partnerships
Getting a more complete view of the customer journey means CE will have a better understanding of who does what in their organization. They'll understand how professional services, support teams, marketing, and product development interact with each other and influence the customer. Conversely, the rest of the organization will better understand CE's place in the journey and how they influence customers too.
This cross-pollination of information can lead to some interesting partnerships as you all work together in fulfillment of a successful customer journey. For example, you could:
Bundle education programs with a professional services package
Add education to a premium support package
Create a customer success package that includes assets from CE, professional services, and support.
The next time your organization decides to map out the customer journey, make sure your customer education team is involved. Not only will you contribute important activities to the final product, you'll gain a deeper insight into your own organization, as well as develop a better appreciation for your customers' business goals and objectives. All of this information will drive better engagement internally, and more importantly, externally, between your company and your customers. Better brand awareness, increased renewal and expansion rates, and deeper customer engagement await you.
[ Webinar Recording] Customer Education: A Self-Perpetuating Marketing Strategy for Growth
To dive more deeply into this topic, we hosted a webinar on October 31, 2017 to talk to Adam Avramescu about some of his work on using customer education for non-customers to improving marketing and sales results. We discussed several examples for how you can use your education content to help your marketing team. Customer education as a marketing strategy might just be your way to position your team as a strategic part of growing your company. You can get the webinar recording. Just click the button below.