Aug 9, 2022
By Ella Jamieson
Why customer education should be a top priority for your business
Your customers expect a lot from you. And rightly so — there is plenty of competition out there, and your company needs to stand out. So how do you give yourself that competitive edge, increase the value of what you offer to your customers and get them excited about your company? You teach them.
Consumers are 131% more likely to buy from a brand straight after they engage with early-stage, educational content. It’s a compelling statistic that reveals just how important customer education is. To win customers and keep their loyalty, you must exceed their expectations in solving their problems. Customers want quality and convenience, and to be able to understand how to use your product or service as quickly and efficiently as possible. Customer education is ideal for meeting these expectations.
What is customer education?
Let’s start with a quick definition. Simply put, customer education is enhancing your customers’ knowledge about your product or service, to help them achieve value faster and better scale user growth. It’s giving customers a unique experience by informing them about the value, functionality and characteristics of your product or service. You might know everything there is to know about your product or service, but your customers won’t! With the right information, customers will be able to make more informed purchases.
Why is customer education important for your business?
Cate Trotter, founder and Head of Trends at Insider Trends, predicts that the future of the ever-changing retail landscape will revolve around engagement, discovery, education, and inspiration. These factors all add value to the customer experience, and the better the experience, the more you will attract and keep customers.
Here are some reasons why customer education should be a priority for your company:
1. Competitive edge
Two thirds of companies compete on customer experience, and 73% of people say that customer experience is a deciding factor when making a purchase. Customer education boosts your overall customer experience by improving customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as reducing customer churn and product returns.
Customer education helps you stand out from the competition by positioning you as a market leader. By converting visitors into customers and creating a larger follower base by offering industry-specific knowledge, customer education works as a valuable content marketing plan.
2. Quick adoption
73% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer service. Having on-demand educational content is a great way to demonstrate this, as it allows customers to deepen their knowledge at their own pace, when and where they want to. Plus, customers have most likely already spent time and energy researching and will want to get up and running quickly.
Depending on the format you use to create customer education content, you can quickly refresh the content when information needs to be updated, making it easy to keep your customers up to date.
3. Boosts customer service and interaction
Having easy access to customer education allows customers to quickly build a positive relationship with your company. Effective communication around your products and services builds trust with your customers — the more useful and specific the information you provide to customers about how to make the most of your products, the more likely they are to trust your company’s integrity and buy from you again. Having that customer trust from your customer education will boost their confidence and speed up the adoption process.
Customer education is a great method to address the all-important FAQs that customers have. Once those are answered, the interactions you do have with customers are better quality, where you can talk more in-depth about their needs and wants.
How to incorporate customer education into your business
There are many ways to incorporate customer education into your sales funnel, and it’s important to find the right style for your company. Here are some of the ways that companies we admire have successfully implemented customer education.
1. Blogs and articles
Blogs and articles are a great way to educate your customers with valuable and engaging content. They help nurture and retain customers, as well as grow demand and interest in your products and services. IKEA does a great job of this with their product guides, covering topics that are interesting and relevant, like sustainability and how to make furniture live for longer. Related products are peppered through the articles, showcasing the value their products have without really having to explain it. In this way IKEA ties customer education and sales enablement closely together, inspiring creativity in customers — then providing the relevant products straight away.
Another brand that successfully uses blog posts to educate their customers is Joseph & Joseph, who publish recipes on their website, to complement their kitchen products. The recipes are really engaging, combining colorful images with video, and like IKEA, provide an option for customers to add the products mentioned in the recipe to their online shopping basket. It’s a win-win: customers get inspiring new recipes to try, and Joseph & Joseph increase their product sales.
2. Videos and recorded screen captures
Some products and services are less self explanatory than a Joseph & Joseph colander. A more technical product, such as software, may require a more specific or demonstrative approach. Canva’s video tutorials with the Canvas Design school walk you through certain features and different Canva use cases. Using colorful graphics and illustrations, these videos make technical features easy to understand and provide inspiration on how you can use the product. In fact, 94% of marketers say video has helped them increase customers’ understanding of a product or service. So if your product or service is best learned by way of demonstration, video could be the right option for you.
Need to dive deeper into more advanced topics regarding your product or service? Webinars could be the way forward for you. They are effective for several reasons — they allow you to engage with your audience for longer periods of time than a five minute video or a blog post. They provide you with a chance to ask questions to your audience, gather feedback and understand better how best to serve your customers. Your audience can voice their opinions, chat, ask and answer questions, which increases customer intimacy.
Plus, 73% of marketers consider webinars to be a great source of quality leads. Conversion rates for webinars are often way higher than for other content types, converting between 5% and 20% of viewers into buyers. Webinars also position you as an expert in your field. If someone has registered for your webinar and set time aside to attend, then they are willing to listen to what you have to say.
For example, Cloud OnAir offers a curriculum of webinars and digital events to help you get the most out of Google Cloud products and solutions. This calendar of webinars creates a sense of community and gives customers the choice to attend a wide range of topics on Google Cloud, a complex product.
4. User generated content
User generated content is a highly effective strategy, because it gives people an authentic view of your business while using customers to grow your visibility. User generated content is any form of content voluntarily created by a consumer or end-user. Think of it as online word of mouth. 92% of consumers turn to people they know for referrals above any other source, so user-generated customer education can have a huge impact on the success of your company’s inbound marketing.
Glossier is a prime example. The popular make up brand describes itself on instagram as a ‘people-powered beauty ecosystem’, which puts customer education at the heart of their strategy. Glossier has over 500 consumer ambassadors, who create their own content about Glossier, celebrating their stories and sharing how they express themselves with Glossier products. These ambassadors allow Glossier to put their brand in front of influencers’ audiences, who normally already have a large social following.
Fans of Glossier can also partake in their hashtags that are created by the company in line with their product launches, which increases customer engagement, as well as customer education users educate each other on how they like to use Glossier products, becoming Glossier’s “number-one mouthpieces and evangelists”, as stated by brand’s founder, Emily Weiss.
5. Virtual try ons
The virtual try on is more than just a pandemic trend. 70% of consumers report difficulty when trying to find clothes and accessories online that fit, and returns are a $550 billion problem for businesses. But customer education can help reduce that by helping customers to visualize products on themselves.
In 2021, we partnered with Fossil watches to create a Wear OS by Google smartwatch virtual try on. The online experience we created had two facets: Users could try on a watch of their choice via a customizable wrist-builder on desktop or via their mobile device. Customers could build a wrist that represented their own using multiple variables, including skin tone, gender and wrist width. There was also an interactive replica of the OS that allowed users to freely explore the features and apps available. Over 75,561 visitors to the website used the customizable experience.
With the use of AR, you can educate customers, particularly when it comes to products that are chosen on a personal, size, and fashion-led basis, and where relying only on static images or lifestyle photography isn’t enough.
If you want to level up your customer experience, customer education is the place to start. It adds value to your brand, helps you engage and understand your customer base better, leads to faster adoption, and ultimately showcases you as a trustworthy expert in your field. Customer education is multi-faceted and takes many forms, so whatever you sell, you can find the right formats for you.
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