When it comes to customer education, one-on-one sessions are great for getting users up to speed fast, but all instructor-led training all the time simply isn’t scalable. PJ Bruno, Director of Customer and Partner Education at Braze, knows that it’s all about striking the right balance between instructor-led training and self-serve content.
Braze is a comprehensive customer engagement platform, and one-on-one sessions allow their customer education team to onboard users to a complicated SaaS product. Meanwhile, self-serve content lets them do it at scale. Not only does self-serve content free up the customer education team, it makes instructor-led training more productive and valuable.
The challenge comes in convincing users of the value of self-serve education when they have a live person at their beck and call. It’s all too easy for an eager customer success manager to fall into the trap of doing all of the work while the customer leans back, PJ warns. But what SaaS organization has the capacity for that?
Instead, it’s critical to build a relationship where the customer is bought into their own education and willing to put in the work to get the most value from the product. Here’s how Braze is able to successfully direct users to self-serve content so that they can continue to grow.
1. Play the game
It’s only natural that humans are driven by reward, but that reward doesn’t need to be tangible. Gamification in the corporate world means points, levels, and badges — a visual representation that you’ve completed a task or mastered a skill. And 83% of employees who undergo gamified training are more motivated at work.
Braze took the idea of gamification and modified it to create a certification program. By undergoing certification, customers essentially earn a gold star for leveling up their product expertise with on-demand courses.
“Sometimes, learning something on its own is not incentive enough to continue down the path of a two- or three-hour self-serve course,” says PJ. “At some point, you’re going to run out of steam. But the idea of a credential that has clear earning criteria is more valuable today than it ever has been.”
Once a user has completed a course, the Customer Education team knows exactly what that customer is capable of, allowing them to tailor their conversations. Braze instructors save time, customers receive more targeted 1:1 training, and everyone wins.
2. Be prescriptive
We hate the negative connotation of seeming “bossy,” but sometimes that’s just what customers need. In fact, researchers compared seven personality types of frontline service managers and found that “controllers” — those who are outspoken and opinionated and like directing customer interactions — are the highest performers.
“The truth is, people want to be told what to do — where to start, where to go, where to finish,” says PJ. “So being prescriptive when a customer is learning something new is crucial.”
Dropping customers into an LMS with no sense of direction leaves them floundering, which means they won’t lean in and take action. But, with the right direction from a customer success manager, a user can understand the exact path they need to take to learn the product and derive the most value from it.
Teeing up self-serve content with an initial one-on-one conversation will provide users with the context they need to be successful. Show customers the way, and make personalized recommendations for self-serve content… which brings us to #3.
3. Align content with the customer journey
No one will be interested in self-serve content if it doesn’t meet their needs. Whether you’re promoting a course that a user has already completed or giving a tip that they’ve already learned, your content won’t get much attention if it doesn't meet customers where they are.
Braze’s initial conversations with customers allow them to understand where each user is in the customer journey so that they can then point them to the right content. When customers see content as personalized and truly necessary to their success, they’re much more likely to engage with it.
Another key to getting to making content successful brings us back to the first point: be prescriptive about what content is important. PJ is clear: “Don’t make it optional reading, make it legit and needed for someone to actually do this”.
A symbiotic relationship
For Braze, self-serve content helps improve instructor-led training, and instructor-led training helps inform self-serve content. One wouldn’t be nearly as successful without the other, and it’s all about finding the perfect balance to get customers on board while allowing the company to scale.
Want to learn more about scaling customer education with personalized self-serve content? Try Candu for free.