The Harvard Business Review published a report on customer satisfaction a few years back. In their report, they analyzed the customer satisfaction ratings of a telecom major that was grappling with a 50% dissatisfaction rating.
Upon further investigation, the researchers found that new subscribers rated the company either on the very high side (9 or 10), or extremely poorly (1 or 2). Analyzing the reports, the researchers found the answer – backend employees in charge of installing the line were not incentivized to fulfill orders on time. When subscribers did not get their new connections on time, they rated the company low on satisfaction.
The HBR study underlines the importance of first impressions on customer satisfaction. A customer whose first brush with the product or service is positive tends to give the company a longer rope while dealing with future issues. Unfortunately though, most companies tend to falter at this stage of the customer journey. This happens because of the inevitable transition of responsibilities from the sales team to the operations team.
One of the most effective ways to handle this transition and still ensure a good first impression is through customer onboarding. Onboarding a new customer achieves two important objectives – firstly, it reduces the friction that comes with using a product for the first time. This, in turn, increases satisfaction ratings.
More importantly, the onboarding process serves as a competitive edge for your business. This is especially true for products with a high learning curve. An effective onboarding strategy makes your product a lot more easy to use compared to competitors. This creates a barrier to switch between providers and thus contributes to higher loyalty.
What kind of customer training works
It is worth pointing out that not all customer training processes work the same way. The kind of training programs you offer, the duration of these programs and the tools you use all make a difference and influence the customer’s satisfaction and loyalty.
B2B products that contain hundreds of features and is used by dozens of different industries would require comprehensive, yet personalized onboarding lessons from the seller. On the other hand, it is ideal for single utility applications targeted at individuals to have simple walkthroughs that do not take a lot of time and are still easy to follow.
The training strategy can impact satisfaction too. Overtly detailed learning modules are useful in theory, but do not help with retention. Such customers tend to experience CX friction even after onboarding and this can impact satisfaction. Studies show that short lessons that range between 3 to 6 minutes are most effective during onboarding.
The profile of a customer can influence their preference for learning platforms. Mobile eLearning tools are emerging as one of the most preferred tools among customers who like to get onboarded on the go. Virtual classrooms and webinars are however still preferred among enterprise customers. This is especially true in the case of organizations with a distributed workforce that cannot bring all learners under one roof for training purposes.
Tracking customer training
Customer onboarding sessions often come integrated with assessments that monitor the learner’s performance. From a business perspective however, the greater objective is to ensure that your onboarding session has an impact on CX and satisfaction.
Consequently, these are the parameters that need to be measured in order to track the success of your customer training sessions.
NPS (Net Promoter Score), CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Index) and Usability testing are some of the different ways customer experience and satisfaction can be measured. It is a good idea to benchmark these metrics before and after a training session to assess its impact on your business.