New Research Reveals the Real Impact of Customer Education Programs

Study shows that companies with formalized customer education programs improve top-line revenue by an average of 6%

ATLANTA – November 11, 2019 – New research finds that companies who operate formalized customer education programs see a considerable boost in top-line business results, including increased revenue, improvements in customer retention, decreases in support costs, and greater customer satisfaction scores. The commissioned study, conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Intellum, found that 90% of respondents’ organizations have had positive returns on their investment in customer education. In response, organizations have increased spending on customer education by 80% in the last two years and plan to more than double spending over the next two years.

Customer education has the potential to positively impact any business, and this study found that it moved the needle for a wide range of organizations. On average, companies reported a 6.2% increase in revenue, a 7.4% increase in customer retention and a decrease of 6.1% in support costs; with high-success companies outperforming the average and low-success companies in every category, by as much as 30%.

While customer education is shown to boost business results, it’s not just a matter of spending more money. As stated in the October 2019 study, Increase Revenue and Improve Customer Retention Through Customer Education Programs, “[brands] must take a strategic, deliberate approach to building content programs that resonate with a diverse set of customers and needs.” The results provide compelling evidence that, when examining the per trainee impact, a customer-first approach contributes to a 16x higher increase in customer satisfaction.

Additional Findings

  • High-success organizations spend smarter, not more. While there is a considerable gap in results, there is only a 9% difference in spending between high- and low-success organizations.
  • High-success organizations create content with customer value in mind. High-success organizations take a strategic approach to customer education and are twice as likely to offer in-depth education programs, like certifications, that add real value to their customers. As a result, they see nearly 3x (23%) as many of their customers utilizing those programs, making it easier to sell their customers on the value of customer education.  

External expertise helps deliver content at scale while reducing strain on resources. Most respondents reported using some in-house resources, but 63% of high-success organizations also include third-party vendors to support education initiatives. Of those, 82% cited external expertise being very important or crucial to realizing the benefits of their education programs.

About the Study

Earlier this year, Intellum commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate the current state of customer education programs for varying companies. The research included interviews and an online survey with 300 customer education decision-makers from U.S.-based companies to explore the use and success rates of customer education. The survey and interviews were conducted during July and August 2019. Download the full study here.