Business success is measured by more than the sales total. As a learning entrepreneur, you want to increase your customer base and ensure that learners are happy with your online courses. However, building a good relationship and providing an ongoing positive experience doesn’t just happen organically. In this article, we’ll cover customer success strategies that will help you grow your e-learning business and retain more learners.
What is customer success?
The concept is closely related to customer delight. Initially, customer delight was an objective of emerging SaaS companies, but it has become a requirement for all businesses seeking to maximize the customer experience at each checkpoint. They also link their success to that of the customer.
The goal is to foster long-term relationships with learners, who become trusted partners. The better the customer experience, the greater the chance of recommendations and upsell opportunities. In a world dominated by word of mouth, having a working customer success strategy is the best way to get visibility, build brand trust and increase revenue.
What are the main components of customer success?
If by now you think that it's too big of a goal for your e-learning business, think again. In this competitive online environment, the customer experience can make a world of difference. Here's what to take into consideration:
Technology – do you have the best platform for your business and for your learners? A good learning management system (LMS) that allows you to customize your courses and offers a seamless learner experience is a must;
Brand awareness is crucial since 59% of customers prefer to buy from brands that are familiar to them. This has much to do with your marketing strategy but also relates to how you design and present your courses. Make sure the platform allows you to customize your website and showcase your brand values;
Customer onboarding will set the tone for your relationship. You must engage learners from the beginning and show them the long-term benefits of choosing your products;
Customer retention plays an essential role in securing your client base. It’s important to increase your reach constantly but also focus some of your attention on existing learners;
Value realization is the last but not the least important on this list. This means that you want your clients to achieve results or see value in using your products.
Read more: How to create a unique selling proposition for your online course business
7 Customer success strategies for course creators
There’s no universal pathway to achieving customer delight. It depends on your business and the audience you are targeting. For learning entrepreneurs, here are some of the best strategies for customer success:
Offer guided onboarding to new customers
Your job’s not done once learners sign up for one of your courses. It's only the beginning of the journey, and it's up to you to make it smooth and memorable. It's essential for learners to feel welcome and to see how they can make the most of the learning experience. An excellent learning platform will allow you to design and deliver an engaging onboarding experience that will set the tone and the right expectations for learning.
Offer customer support throughout the journey
Even with everyone being rather digital-savvy these days, issues are bound to arise. If you want your learners to feel comfortable, let them know what options they have for getting support if they need it – it may be about logging in, finding suitable online courses to reach their goals, or downloading certificates of completion. A good platform will already have a built-in, easy-to-use help section and guide for learners.
Read more: Top 5 customer support tricks for course creators
Personalize the content and the experience
Learners have grown used to having content carefully curated to their preferences. While learning is not the same as entertaining media, some of the same expectations apply. Knowing your client persona and targeting them is the first step. The second is to ensure they are met with an intuitive interface and have the tools they need to complete the courses successfully. Language support and automatic translation play a big part in that.
Monitor engagement levels
It’s important to know how well your courses are doing, even before the end-of-course surveys — learners may or may not fill out. By looking at the LMS’s analytics – such as the users' progress through the modules, how much time is spent on each course, how well they do on the quizzes, or how often sessions time out. Having this data will help you improve the platform or course areas that need it.
Read more: 7 Learner retention strategies for knowledge entrepreneurs
Follow up with the learners
A relationship requires constant communication. Following up with your learners, asking them about the experience, and looking for ways to improve your courses is a great way to demonstrate that you are committed to providing the best possible experience. While this may be time-consuming and doesn't directly generate revenue, it's one of the most effective customer success retention strategies, and it greatly increases your customer's lifetime value.
Act on learner feedback
Learner feedback is only as valuable as the actions you take following it. It may not be possible to make all the changes they would like, but it is important to show that you’re listening and are trying to adapt. You can even go the extra mile by explaining why something can't happen. As a rule of thumb, if you are on the right platform, you'll have a lot of flexibility and abundant resources to create a better learning experience, so it won’t be hard to follow through.
Analyze your churn
A while ago, I had to deliver customer retention training in the telecom company I was working for at the time. I spent a lot of time researching bullet-proof strategies for convincing customers to stay. If there are any, I have not found them. What I did realize, however, is that sometimes customers are better off with another company, and that is fine. So, unless your churn rates are suddenly going through the roof —signaling that something is wrong with your courses or on the market— don’t worry too much over losing a few of your learners. That being said, keep a close eye on the churn and analyze the most frequent reasons for it to see if there are actions you can take to prevent it.
Read more: How to avoid customer churn as a knowledge entrepreneur
Customer success strategies for course creators
Entrepreneurial success depends on your ability to attract and retain learners. A big part of that involves marketing efforts and sales techniques. However, once the prospect becomes the learner, it's no longer about the quality of the pitch or the competitive pricing — it's all about the experience.
Achieving customer delight should be your goal. Applying some (or all) of the strategies mentioned here will get you on your way to success. You have to make it easy and fun for your learners to take your online courses – through guided onboarding and quality support. Furthermore, you should constantly seek improvement opportunities – and be transparent about doing so – by measuring engagement, collecting feedback, and aiming for value realization. Learners should see that they are more successful in reaching their goals due to your courses.