Blog Post

Incentives to Get Your Customers to Complete Training

By
Robyn Hazelton
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While employees have to complete mandatory compliance training, customers don’t have to do anything they don’t want to do. Often, busy customers aren’t interested in adding more work to their plates. Many companies choose to incentivize their customers to drive content consumption so people will complete training. 

Companies are bullish on customer training, and with good reason. According to research by Forrester, formalized customer education programs drive measurable business growth:

  • 6.2% increase in organizational bottom-line revenue
  • 7.4% increase in customer retention
  • 6.1% decrease in support costs 

There are many incentives you can offer to get customers to complete training. Incentives include social certificates and badges, gamification, rewards, and continuing education credits.

Dozens of articles cover these incentives, but nobody addresses the elephant in the room: content’s impact on the performance of education initiatives. If you don’t get content right, incentives are a moot point. Customers will go through the motions to claim the incentive versus learning because they find real value in the content.

Content Is the Ultimate Customer Training Incentive 


We’re talking about two aspects of content: quality and freshness.

Content Quality 

Platforms like Intellum allow companies to present a wide range of training content to customers. You can upload any file type and link—copy, formal eLearning, video, PDF file, Word doc, Excel spreadsheet, etc. But the medium doesn’t determine content quality; the curriculum itself does. How valuable is the information

  • First, a course or a certification is a fairly significant time investment, so customers must see value in completing training. Look at Facebook Blueprint. Customers who complete the training will become better at Facebook advertising; therefore, they are more valuable in the marketplace. 
  • Second, customer training must be rooted in science to change user behavior, increase product adoption rates, and drive long-term success. A marketer might communicate information using a long-form blog to persuade the reader. But an instructional designer has more to consider. For example, how to prevent cognitive overload by segmenting content into chunks or allowing time to pause for reflection. 

Before you add traditional incentives (or “bells and whistles”) to your customer education initiative, first ask the following questions to determine content quality:

  • Is our information creating behavior change? 
  • Is our information helping individual learners achieve their goals? 
  • How valuable does our audience perceive our information to be? 

Content Freshness

There’s a reason Netflix is constantly adding new content to its library: to give users a reason to come back to the platform. 

The most critical engagement tactic in an educator’s toolbox is the consistent addition of new content. People need a compelling reason to return to the learning platform. Many companies stand up a catalog and call it a day. Then they get disappointed, four months later, when people aren’t returning. 

Additional Ways to Incentivize Your Customers to Complete Training

Social certificates and badges

Humans will seemingly jump through a ring of fire to share a small digital badge on LinkedIn. The bigger the brand, the more this is true. While Pavlov first discovered Classical Conditioning, brands have taken full advantage of the theory. We’ve been conditioned, by companies like Fitbit and HubSpot, to value badges even though they have no monetary value. 

Gamification

At Intellum, we like to talk about gamification in terms of positive game mechanics. Unlike fads and trends that come and go (and often have little to no impact on learning and behavior change), game mechanics trigger user engagement. One example that can lead to increased content consumption is the ability to earn points. 

Rewards

Points and rewards go hand-in-hand. Some customer education platforms integrate system data (points earned) with third-party reward platforms so customers can exchange their points for merchandise such as gift cards or physical products like travel mugs. 

Allowing learners to earn points and redeem rewards is a simple way to increase content consumption and training completions. However, gamification and rewards aren’t a magic bullet; customers must also have intrinsic motivation because the content is valuable. Otherwise, you’re incentivizing people to play, not to learn. 

Continuing education credits

Continuing education credits are one of the most valuable incentives because many professionals must earn credits to maintain employment or professional certification. For example, if your customers are human resource professionals, you might offer professional development credits toward SHRM recertification after a learner completes a certification. 

Learner experience

Finally, accessing the content must be an easy and enjoyable experience for learners. 

  • Personalization: When customers log in, does the system present content that interests them?
  • Search results: Can your customers quickly find what they need? Or might you need to employ a third-party search tool?
  • Navigation: Do you display content by topic in rows on the home page so customers can easily explore topics that interest them?
  • Topic following: Does your customer education platform allow learners to follow topics of interest? If so, does the learner’s home page change to become more personalized?

The more choice you give a learner, the more likely they’ll be to come back and complete training!

Want more? Read The Secrets to Customer Eduction Success

About the author

Robyn Hazelton headshot
Robyn Hazelton
Vice President of Marketing and Growth
Robyn is the VP of Marketing and Growth at Intellum and helps to ensure that every interaction an individual has with the brand is as awesome as possible. An experienced and trusted leader with a history of consistently impacting revenue, she's always talking about funnel management and biased toward action.
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