The Power of Customer Education to Fuel Product Growth

Sergio Rosas, Founder & CEO of Next Shift Learning
Sergio Rosas, Founder & CEO, Next Shift Learning
Contributions from Keith Reid-Cleveland
Nov. 16, 2023
5 min read

Product and growth leaders know that driving sustainable growth is not only about acquiring new customers — it’s also about retaining the customers you already have.

While creating product education content is common for user onboarding and feature communication, a comprehensive strategy for keeping users should prioritize customer-centric education content through engaging learning experiences that deepen their product knowledge and use cases.

Let’s dive in a bit more.

Product Education and Customer Education: A Complimentary Duo

Like product education, customer education is a powerful strategy to help users become familiar with your product. But customer education goes a step further, focusing on empowering your customers with the knowledge and skills they need to maximize your products toward their goals from Day One.

The result? Customers become super-users who engage more deeply, and become ambassadors of your product, leading to sustainable product adoption. This is particularly important for product teams working in emerging technologies, which we’ll explore later.

But the benefits don’t end there. Customer education plays a critical role in not just your product growth strategy, but your overall customer success strategy as well.

The Role of Customer Education in Customer Success

Customer education is a key pillar of customer success, extending beyond pre-sales activities, guiding users throughout the customer journey. It not only empowers users to maximize your products but also reduces customer service issues and friction. 

For example, let’s say your team has designed a cutting-edge Augmented Reality (AR) product. By proactively developing both product and customer education content that provides the user with the exact skills and steps they need to begin using the product toward their goals, you create an empowered user with a positive customer experience. You also mitigate poor customer experiences by eliminating the need for the user to learn through trial and error, via customer service tickets, or on third-party platforms that your product team doesn’t manage.

Because the customer is empowered to learn at their pace, you can speed up the overall journey, and your product growth as well.

Our customer education learning experience design framework is the cornerstone of our approach. Throughout this series, we will delve into various aspects of the framework, offering insights into each component. The framework has yielded product insights integral to effective product education for our clients.

Accelerating Emerging Tech

As we shared earlier, customer education is essential for any industry, but it takes on a critical role in emerging technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). As these fields rapidly evolve, the need for educating users becomes even more pronounced.

A great example of this is one that our team at Next Shift Learning (NSL) helped to design and implement with our client Snap Inc. Snap’s customer education and upskilling investments for Lens Studio creators and developers helps to drive more users to the core product, Snapchat, to experience AR in our physical world. As more Snap users become Snap Lens creators and developers, they improve the overall Snap user experience, increasing product engagement. Read more about NSL’s support in customer education for Snap AR developers and users.

Curious how to get started?

So, your team is developing a game-changing product and you want to begin designing customer education content and learning experiences to accelerate your product growth. Our team at NSL partners with emerging tech product teams to do just that — and now we’re sharing key lessons we’ve learned along the way, as well as our Customer Education Framework, to help your team kick off designing for your customers.

NSL's Approach to Customer Education

At NSL, we've honed a unique approach to developing customer education curriculum and learning experiences. Our strategy draws parallels with product sprints and product marketing customer persona building. We tailor our communication to match the language of product developers and marketers, ensuring efficient knowledge transfer.

Some examples of innovative experiences we build to support customer education:

  • Interactive content with feature deep dives and side-by-side instruction
  • Live virtual learning highlighting product walk-throughs, practice, and share outs
  • Interactive modules that break down the unique requirements and features of a product
  • ReadMe files and all code snippets within technical tutorials
  • In-app content and wireframes to guide learning

Introducing NSL's Customer Education Design Framework

Here are some scenarios where we’ve seen customer education used especially well.

Scenario 1: Bridging Knowledge Gaps

Consider an instance where a customer is unable to master a new feature of a product because they missed out on gaining basic knowledge off-platform. When Snap's Lens Studio required 3D modeling expertise, we helped close this knowledge gap. We provided developers the necessary knowledge of a third-party tool, enabling them to operate the Lens Studio product effectively.

Scenario 2: Immersive Learning

In Scenario 2, we address customers seeking a deeper understanding beyond dense technical documentation, often written in the perspective of the engineers who built the product. Immersive learning experiences, developed outside of the platform itself, provide a superior learning process. Rather than struggling through encyclopedic content, users learn by doing, inside the product. This approach allows them to gain knowledge as they use it, which supports knowledge retention. 

Lastly, to keep knowledge and engagement fresh, we consistently update customer education offerings as new product versions are released, often in collaboration with product, marketing and customer success teams.

"We’re here to empower your users to maximize your product benefits and become super users by helping them level up their knowledge. Customer education is an excellent method of doing so. ”

Customer Education Series

This article is the first in a series that we will publish on the topic of customer education. While this article served as a general introduction to the idea of customer education and what its benefits can be, the rest of this series will offer concrete examples directly from some of our clients, such as Snap Inc. and Niantic. Each of these articles will offer insights into how customer education improved the user experience for each of these companies as they produce cutting-edge technology.

To follow along with this series, sign up for our NSL Insights emails.

Want to connect with our team at Next Shift Learning to shift minds and shift futures? Let’s chat.

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