To answer the question of why develop eLearning targeted for your customers, I'll ask another question:
How did one company get a 380% increase in upgrades?
Wishbone developed an on-demand training hub designed for customers and prospective customers to learn how to use the product. "The majority of SaaS companies have gotten customer success all wrong" reports on Thinkific's research into Saas companies like Wishbone that are using customer on-demand learning to reduce churn and grow revenue.
It's all about providing an online experience to "every single new customer - hundreds and even thousands of times over, without the need for 1 on 1 resources." (Miranda Lievers, Thinkific)
Customer-focused eLearning takes customer success activities like knowledge base, forums, and help desk activities that are reactively pulled by customers when they hit a wall or have a problem and goes a step further to proactively push learning to customers to help with their success. This kind of content can turn customers into loyal advocates for your program.
The investment in this type of eLearning may be less than you think. Compare that cost to the potential savings in time and money spent wooing and training customers, and the question isn't why eLearning for customers; it's why not?
This week I attended a session of the Virtual Summit on Advanced Practices in Technical Communication, well-timed in relation to this topic. The session was “How to Start Small with Video and Get Big Improvements in Customer Support,” presented by Martin Ceisel, technical writer for ESET North America. For Martin’s team at ESET, videos enhance their knowledge base and product-specific online help, as well as providing “customers another way to troubleshoot on their own.” You can view his presentation here.
Technology and internet speeds have made videos more accessible than ever. In the Cisco® Visual Networking Index™ (Cisco VNI™) forecast from June 2016, the prediction is that global IP video traffic will be 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic by 2020, increasing threefold from 2015 to 2020.
On their TechSmith® Blog, the makers of Camtasia (my preferred tool for creating tutorial videos) provide several reasons your company needs video on their blog, including:
Of course, you can do one-on-one or larger group webinars to demo your products and offerings and teach your customers how to perform the tasks they need to get the most out of your product. But having a video to demonstrate a task allows customers to view it whenever they want. It also frees the time of one person (or a few people) repeating demonstrations multiple times.
The short answer to the question of when to use tutorial videos: anytime that viewing a task in action is better than (or an important supplement to) reading about it.
There’s no need to be overwhelmed by the thought of the task of developing a video library. Videos of an ideal length of 1 ½ to 3 minutes each can usually be done in just 2-3 hours. And I love the ESET strategy of releasing 1-2 new videos a week, growing their audience and their subscribers.
Let me know in the comments how your organization uses tutorial videos!
Shortly after completing my eLearning Instructional Design certificate program, I visited the new LinkedIn Learning Portal. Captivate 9 came up as one of the courses for me (not surprising, since this is a tool I use).
I knew the course instructor was an Adobe Captivate employee, because I had watched several lessons and webinars by the same instructor over the past few years. The striking observation about this course was that the curriculum of the course closely followed the functionality of the software.
While focusing on software function isn't necessarily a bad thing (it's obviously better than nothing), it fell short of the mark for me as a learner, especially for such a complicated tool, because learning focused on the software function doesn't always address what the user really needs to learn how to do (or why, or when).
In the last two posts, I've taken you through the process of creating a tutorial video and an online interactive lesson. The examples I've provided contrast a video focused on a software feature/function with a lesson focused on a specific task including context for the task. Of course a tutorial video COULD be more task oriented. And just adding some clicks to a lesson might not necessarily redeem it, if it is focused on a software feature.
The point I'd like to make is that these are two different types of products with two different goals.
Videos are a great way to introduce prospective customers to your product. At that point, it's not necessary to train them on the nuances of how or why or when to use the feature, you are just showing what is possible. And if the budget is tight, maybe that video is enough to cover your bases on customer training, even though it may not be perfect.
I had hoped in preparing these examples that I could gain some efficiencies in covering the same feature or task in two different ways. However, what I found was that I couldn't really reuse any of the video clip in creating my interactive lesson. When I wrote the script for the video, I had software function in mind rather than user task. The interactive lesson was designed from the perspective of the user task instead.
While videos are well-suited to prospective customers, interactive training provides a great customer experience for new customers who need to learn how to use the tool they just invested in. It can also be great for just-in-time training when customers progress with the tool and want to accomplish something that they don't yet know how to do.