Coaching, Customer Service

The Benefits of Training Customers and Partners

The role of HR and learning leaders has been in an ongoing state of evolution for the past few decades. One of the most significant parts of this evolution has been for HR and learning leaders to move from the role of administrator to a business partner that is actively involved in business planning and strategy execution. And as a business partner, HR and learning leaders are becoming more entrenched in how the business can grow and thrive. Research by Bersin by Deloitte notes that for HR to truly have an impact on business results, it must be responsible for “owning business outcomes,” something that involves a different approach to the typical thinking of an HR function.

For those involved with learning, this is an exciting time because learning can help organizations offer education and training programs anywhere and anytime—not only for employees but also for partners and customers.

By offering partners and customers the ability to improve their own performance through training and education, businesses get a window into their customers’ thoughts, wants and needs so that they can respond to their feedback accordingly. In doing so, businesses can build a community of loyal advocates and ambassadors outside of the employee base.

After all, a happy customer will likely share his or her positive experiences about a business, creating a cost-effective avenue for future referrals. According to Incite Group, 91 percent of business-to-business purchasers said they are more likely to make a purchase if they have been referred by someone who they trust.

Here are three best practices that HR and learning leaders can implement through their current learning management systems (LMSs) to bring added value to their partners and customers.

  1. Use an LMS to build a loyal and educated customer base. At a basic level, an LMS provides businesses the ability to consistently deliver training and track completions. However, there are more creative ways to strengthen the relationship between your business and its customers through an LMS. For example, you can reward premium users with tiered pricing that provides exclusive promotions and content. Or, you can offer professional development opportunities, such as speaking opportunities or as a guest blogger on your site. Whatever you decide, the best way to find out what learning activity excites your customers or partners is to ask them.
  2. Sell training programs and content to customers and partners. Another benefit that LMSs and extended learning programs can provide is the ability to sell content and training to customers and partners who can use it themselves or refer it to their own customers. Programs such as continued education, training manuals, and webinars can all be distributed through e-commerce platforms, thus creating an additional revenue stream for your organization.
  3. Increase user confidence through customer education. While there is no way to prevent all technical issues and subsequent customer support calls, you can minimize their frequency by creating a training program that provides customers with all tools and knowledge that they need to gain confidence to troubleshoot potential issues themselves. Reducing the amount of calls and tickets not only is easier on the business, saving money and employee hours, but it also improves the experience for the customer. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), even a 5% to 10%  reduction in call volume can save up to $10 million annually.

Offering training and education content for partners and customers is just one of the many ways HR and learning leaders can help impact the bottom line for their organization. When it comes to training, businesses can reap the rewards including increased sales, more referrals, and a positive reputation, by educating both internal and external audiences, making the extra effort well worth it.