Welcome guest blogger Cori to The Success League this week. She joins us with her take on customer success training and how to make the most of it. Enjoy!
By Cori Pearce
In Customer Success we constantly talk about customer retention, but that’s not the only type of retention that matters. Employee retention is also a KPI that should be tracked. It’s common knowledge that attracting and retaining good employees is key to the health of any company. And in order to build out a thriving CS team, you are going to need to invest in training.
As Benjamin Franklin said, “an investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
To make sure you get your ROI on your Customer Success team training, use these five strategies.
1. Encourage Peer Learning
We’ve all been in training classes before where the instructor just talks at you for an hour (or what feels like an eternity). As soon as a training course goes in this direction, you quickly loose the attention of your audience. One way to combat the staleness of just one person talking on a subject, is to encourage audience participation.
By allowing people to contribute to the class in the form of sharing related experiences, you automatically increase the interest and engagement level of the attendees. Also, your course content becomes more memorable from the inclusion of real-life stories that back-up key learnings.
2. Pace Your Training
You can’t expect your employees to attend a single day of training and come out having mastered the skills of what it takes to be a great CSM. True learning requires time, repetition, application, coaching and practice.
Something CS leaders understand well is mapping out a journey, and you should do the same for your internal training program, just as you do for your customer training programs. Start with a baseline measurement of your CSM’s skills and then create short learning models that can be done over an extended period of time.
Maybe you make the training classes a weekly or bi-weekly occurrence, so your team has time to absorb and think on their new learnings, before you jump into a new subject.
3. Use Face-to-Face Video
A lot of trainings are done online nowadays. Instead of just having your team stare at a deck during the training, try having everyone turn on their webcam so they can see each other during the class as well as see the slide presentation. This will make the attendees feel more connected and also help guarantee they aren’t just starting at social media during the whole class.
There are plenty of free web-based platforms out there like Zoom or JoinMe that allow for this type of functionality. An added bonus of using an online platform is that you are then able to record the trainings. This will come in handy for example if you have a new CSM that wasn’t onboard during the time the training took place. Having an archive of your trainings will allow for on-demand viewing for new employees but also will allow employees to go back and re-watch to freshen up on the material.
4. Create Takeaways
After each training you will want to be sure to literally and figuratively give your team something to takeaway. In addition to sharing your slide presentation, you will also want to provide a resource that can be used to help guide the CSM on the topic that was covered.
If the training topic was on handling customer objections, then you would want to give your CSMs a tool to help them think through that process and be prepared for when they find themselves in that situation.
For example, a worksheet that would instruct them to list out the most common objections they are used to hearing from customers, and then also think through the best way to respond to each as well as what they might be able to offer to help that specific situation – would be a great takeaway to add their toolkit.
5. Ask for Feedback
After you run a Customer Success training session for the team, be sure to offer a way for them to submit their feedback. A simple online survey will do. By doing this you will get a better understanding on what stuck out to the attendees as most valuable and what can be improved upon for the next time.
You should also take it one step further and compare the feedback to the metrics that your team is measured on. Remember that feedback from trainees generally yield “soft” data, they think they have applied certain concepts or that they are being more productive. But it’s not enough to have your CSMs just feel better, you need to quantify training results against hard data - like increased retention (customer and employee), higher levels of customer satisfaction and cost savings.
If you are looking for a Customer Success training program that encapsulates all of these best practice training strategies, then I would highly recommend The Success League - CSM Bundle.
I attended the eight-week training program myself and I found it to be very helpful in understanding what it takes to be a great CSM. The courses took somewhat complex situations and broke them down into easy-to-use plans of actions. This program is great for anyone interested in learning more about Customer Success for professional development.
Cori Pearce - Cori is the Director of Marketing at ChurnZero, a real-time Customer Success software that helps SaaS and subscription businesses fight customer churn. Cori has previously worked at other marketing tech companies including WealthEngine, Cision (formally Vocus) and Merkle Inc.