Why customer education is necessary in the product launch cycle
At Quadmark, we love a product launch. We’re a bunch of self-confessed nerds, and love to geek out when the latest tech hits the market. Luckily for us, we get to partner with tech giants as they release their latest cutting-edge products — we support the design of that first-touch experience when a customer unboxes their new piece of kit and gets to try it out for the first time.
Our recent article on customer education broke down that learning experience, outlining why it’s important for brands to invest in continued product education. We’ve also looked at why post-sale customer education is key to delivering brilliant customer service. But as we come out of the fall launch cycle, we're reflecting on our role in the design of these educational experiences.
We sat down with our account teams to quiz them on their experience designing and executing customer education for product launches. Read on to see what Kat, Lily and Libby had to say:
First of all, why have you chosen to incorporate customer education into your clients’ projects? What are the benefits of this?
Kat:Customer education ensures that there is a base-level understanding of the product from the audience who uses it. It helps us identify knowledge gaps and therefore target the common areas that customers struggle with.
Lily:Brands have increasingly adopted customer education in recent years. Retail stores are no longer the starting points of the customer journey. The pandemic accelerated the need for brands to think beyond traditional retail spaces and optimise their communication across all touch points.
How does customer education make a difference during a product launch? What's does a traditional product launch without customer education look like?
Kat: With a new product, customer education helps to ensure customer satisfaction as they can learn how to use their product from the get-go and iron out any misunderstandings early on.
Lily: Traditional product launches communicate to customers through marketing campaigns, promo activities and retail sales engagement. If well designed, these product launches can work, but they often have risks and gaps. Enabling retail sales staff to educate customers is essential. But don’t leave it all to the retail team — time is always limited on the shop floor, and products are often unavailable for live demos.
Plus, without customer education, brands have limited control over their product and service narratives. Customers will just seek out information alone, which is a missed opportunity for brands to play an active role.
Libby: Traditional product launches normally start customer education at the point of purchase. But having customer education as part of your campaign allows you to inform customers pre-purchase. The added value customer education brings can draw customers in and help make the sale.
So customer education is useful for businesses, but how does customer education help retail staff?
Kat: Customer education helps retail staff focus on building the basket as they don’t have to spend critical time explaining the product to customers.
Libby: It gives a starting point to talk to customers about whether the product is right for them, ensuring the right products are matched to the appropriate customer. Customer education also builds brand loyalty because it demonstrates that the company and the product are trustworthy.
Lily: As customers become more informed about a brand's offerings and what's in it for them, customer education provides a positive challenge to retail frontline staff to upskill their customer engagement skills and truly practice customer-centricity.
How do you integrate customer education into your projects? What has customer education looked like for you?
Libby: I identify key customer touch points and create a customer journey using varied tools, techniques and platforms to suit diverse learning styles. It’s also important to decide what information needs to be conveyed at what stage, e.g. pre-purchase, purchase, onboarding, retention and expansion. Tools to deliver customer education might be videos, quizzes, social media engagement, infographics, written instructions, or trainer-led training.
Kat:We created the Wear OS Try-On Experience which allowed users to try on their watch virtually before purchasing it, and explore the key features of the watch to get familiar with the UI. This helped users understand exactly what the Wear OS watch was about before purchasing and therefore lowering returns.
Lily:Customer education cannot be done without understanding the target audience. For example, if you want to educate users on how to use a smartphone best, the features and services to focus on will look different for different demographics. Creating use cases may be a way to educate customers.
Choosing the right format for these educational assets and how to curate and distribute them is critical to the success of customer education. These decisions should also be based on the target audiences.
Are there any customer education trends that you think are inspiring? How has customer education changed with the evolving retail landscape?
Lily: I believe tech advancements like AI and data insights can make customer education more accessible to brands. Because individual customers are unique, customer education needs to be targeted based on interest and tailored based on behavior, how people consume information and what drives them to action (purchase). I think new technologies can help brands in these areas to educate customers effectively.
Kat: I think the customer education piece has shifted into the online space due to the pandemic. TikTok how-to videos have become increasingly popular and encourage customers to buy straight from links within the video, making the transition from customer education to customer sales even more seamless.
Libby: The appetite for shorter-form, snackable content has increased. Other factors like gamification, rewards, quizzes and personalization are also seen as standard within educational content now. It certainly raises the bar and gets us thinking about how we can deliver great educational content that delights customers and promotes product sales during launches.
To brush up on all things customer education, read our customer education 101 articlehere, and our post-sale customer education bloghere.