Blog Post

5 Ways to Measure Customer Training ROI

Shannon Howard
June 20, 2023
December 27, 2023
illustration of coins on gold background

You’ve seen it all over the internet: Now more than ever, customer education professionals need to prove return on investment (ROI) of their programs.

We know that everything we do should tie back to business goals. It’s how we approach customer education strategy.

But how are people measuring the ROI of customer training? 

In this blog, you’ll learn five different training ROI metrics and how to actually calculate the ROI of training.

A key element of this will be comparing your trained vs. untrained customers. To do this, you’ll need a list of your customer accounts and a way to identify if they’ve had training or not. That information may be in your learning management system (LMS) or in your CRM. Ask your operations team to help you identify where that information is located and how you can access it.

1. Offer paid customer training.

If you have paid customer training programs, proving ROI is easy: Simply look at the cost to administer training (resources, staffing, etc.) vs. revenue generated from training credits.

Beyond that, you can look at other metrics (like the next four listed below) to determine value generated beyond revenue in vs. expenses out. 

2. Look at the difference in spend for trained vs. untrained customers.

One great way to prove the ROI of customer training is to look at the impact it’s having on the lifetime value (LTV) of a customer.

Some questions to consider:

  • Do trained customers have higher retention rates than untrained customers? 
  • Are trained customers more likely to expand their contract for additional users or admins?
  • Are trained customers more likely to add additional modules to their contract?
  • Do trained customers have a higher attach rate?

These questions will help you tie effective training to increased profits. 

To figure this out, you’ll need a list of your customer accounts (current and churned), along with information about the age of the account and contract value over time. (Don’t have contract value over time? If your team tracks expansion opportunities in your CRM, you can analyze expansion opportunities by trained vs. untrained accounts.) Narrow in on a specific time period (e.g., 1 year) rather than all-time to focus your analysis.

3. Measure deflection of support tickets.

For most businesses, more customers means more support tickets, which requires an increase in headcount for the customer service team. Over time, this can lead to a lot of additional cost—especially if you need to hire more managers to train and oversee the support staff.

Customer training can help solve this problem. Training can help customers adopt the platform faster and more fully—leading to fewer support tickets.

To measure this, look at support ticket volume before implementing customer training compared to after customer training was implemented. You can also look at the number of support tickets submitted by user or by account based on trained vs. untrained customers. 

Note: Sometimes training does not lead to a decrease in overall tickets. Instead, the questions will be more strategic than tactical. Rather than “How do I do X in the product?”, your support team might start to receive emails more along the lines of “How do I get the most out of the platform?” or “What are best practices for doing Y?” If you have a data scientist on staff, they can run a text analysis to provide this insight. If not, lean on your support team to share what they’re seeing. 

4. Investigate product adoption for trained vs. untrained customers.

Product adoption rates are often a leading indicator of both customer retention and expansion. If customers are regularly using the product—and using multiple features or modules of the product—they’re more likely to continue buying and/or expand their usage of your product.

How can you show that trained customers use more of your product? Look at these three metrics that can demonstrate product usage:

  • Login frequency/frequency of use
  • Breadth of use (number of features or modules being used)
  • Number of people in the account using the product (active users per account)

Then look at those numbers for trained vs. untrained customers. Do you see a lift in usage in the trained segment? 

Your product team (either an analyst or product manager) should be able to connect you with product usage data. 

5. Dig into lift in customer sentiment.

Most companies run a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey to gauge customer satisfaction. These surveys ask customers how likely they are to refer a friend to your product—signaling a higher likelihood of retention and advocacy. 

Customer success and customer marketing teams will often use NPS to identify customers to leave an online review, work on a case study, or provide a reference to a prospective customer. Each of these activities provides immense value to the business, so if you see a lift in NPS, that’s good news for your company. 

Much like with other ROI metrics, you’ll want to analyze trained vs. untrained customers and their NPS scores. NPS is typically collected every 3-6 months. So, you might want to look over the long-term for your analysis (e.g., last 6-12 months).

You might need to get creative with your data.

Ideally, you have a data analytics or business intelligence (BI) partner to help you analyze all this data. 

But if your data lives in a million places—none of which are connected to each other—you’re not alone. This is common for most businesses, small and large. 

Don’t be afraid to export data into a spreadsheet and analyze from there. Get comfortable with data analysis in a spreadsheet. With data in hand, share those insights loudly and proudly across the business. This not only celebrates the great work of your team, but earns you the right to ask for more budget, headcount, and resources. 

Good luck, and happy analyzing your impact to the company’s bottom line!

About the Author

Shannon Howard Speaker Headshot
Shannon Howard
Director of Content & Customer Marketing
Shannon Howard is an experienced Customer Marketer who’s had the unique experience of building an LMS, implementing and managing learning management platforms, creating curriculum and education strategy, and marketing customer education. She loves to share Customer Education best practices from this blended perspective.