Blog Post

Customer Education Metrics to Measure

Shannon Howard
March 12, 2024
Customer Education Metrics image

Building a customer education program is a gratifying art—and a challenging science. As an educational professional, you probably know the duality well. Your program can be filled with valuable content that engages your clients, but unless you prove that engagement, your efforts tend to be questioned.

A successful education program isn’t built on hunches; it’s built on data. With the right customer education metrics, you can prove return on investment to anyone, from your clients and channel partners to your C-suite executives. Unfortunately, finding and tracking the right metrics can be a full-time job. (Ask our business intelligence team.)

Thankfully, you don’t have to be a seasoned data analyst to get started. Explore our ultimate guide to customer education metrics, and come away with common KPIs to track—plus tips to help communicate the value of your work.

Benefits of Measuring Customer Education

A 2019 Forrester study commissioned by Intellum found that companies with formalized customer education programs see benefits in four key areas: 

  1. Revenue
  2. Retention
  3. Customer satisfaction
  4. Decreased support costs. 

Consider another finding—that 90% of companies see a positive ROI on their customer education efforts—and the advantages are clear-cut. 

Despite these findings, customer education programs still face their share of scrutiny. And that’s where having your own data can help. By deciphering program metrics that accurately represent your company’s education efforts, you can communicate the benefits in terms your stakeholders will understand.

How to Measure Customer Education

Measuring customer education starts with knowing how to set the right metrics. Ask yourself:

  • What are the goals my business hopes to achieve? 
  • What are the ways education actively supports those objectives?

As a steward of education at your organization, you are uniquely positioned to tie your program’s efforts back to the broader company goals. Meet with key stakeholders—such as your heads of Customer Success and Customer Support—to align on the metrics that matter most to business success. 

Once you’ve identified the right metrics, all that’s left is to track them. Your business intelligence (BI) team will be your greatest ally here. If you don’t have support from a data analysis team, work with your stakeholders to identify tools that can help you monitor these metrics.

Tip: Intellum makes data tracking easy. Create high-quality education content quickly with our inline editor, then monitor performance using our data management dashboard. You can even pull data into your own BI tools using our extensive integrations.

6 Key Customer Education Metrics to Track

Not sure what to measure? Here are six customer education metrics that can help you convey the importance of your program to the business:

1. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

Customer satisfaction is a long-standing metric used by companies of all sizes and industries. The why is intuitive: When you have happy customers, you have engaged customers. Sustain that engagement long-term, and you’ll develop customer loyalty—creating more renewal and upsell opportunities for your business.

To calculate your CSAT score, poll a sample of clients about their experience using your product or service. You can email a brief survey, for example, asking customers to rate your offering from one to five. Divide the number of positive responses (say, four- and five-star ratings) by the number of total responses, and you’ll arrive at your CSAT.

Companies should strive to have a consistent—if not always improving—CSAT score. In your quest to increase customer satisfaction, you’ll naturally find ways to uplevel the education you serve to clients.

Note: CSAT is often used by Support teams as a key metric as well. While you could look at CSAT scores for trained vs. untrained customers, you might also track CSAT specifically for education content. For example, after a course, certification, or training, you could ask: On a scale of 1 – 5, how would you rate your overall satisfaction with this course?

2. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Satisfaction is one thing; advocacy is another. Your Net Promoter Score goes a step further than the CSAT by asking clients how likely they are to recommend your product or service on a scale of one to 10. Clients that agree strongly (nines and 10s) are your “promoters.” Clients that somewhat agree (sevens and eights) are your “passives.” All other clients, meanwhile, are “detractors.”

Subtract your percentage of detractors from your percentage of promoters, and you’ll get your Net Promoter Score. Put simply, the NPS tracks general sentiment about your brand. A high NPS signals that you’re seeing more positive promotion than negative; a low NPS indicates the opposite.

Add the NPS to your toolkit, and you’ll be able to gauge the impact education has on brand advocacy—and demonstrate your ability to convert naysayers into champions. 

Important to note: NPS is influenced by many teams, including Product and Customer Success. One way to understand education’s impact on NPS is to perform a cohort analysis. When you look at customers who have engaged with your education programs (e.g., completed a course, completed a certification, participated in instructor-led training), what’s the NPS of those trained customers? How does that compare to customers who have not engaged with education of any kind? 

3. Product Adoption

You don’t always need to ask clients to get good data. Often, their behavior speaks for itself.

Product adoption tracks the percentage of clients that are actively using your offering. The most important words here are “active” and “use.” Of course, it’s great to get hundreds of sign-ups through your product landing page, but unless those people actually use your product and become regular clients, you’re leaving money on the table.

Each company has its own definition of active use. One business may say it requires logging in multiple times a day, while another may say it’s achieved simply by completing the onboarding process. A good practice is to consider: How frequently do customers need to access your product to get value from it? For example, if you sell marketing automation software, your customers are likely logging in several times a week, if not multiple times a day. Whereas if you sell contract or proposal software, you may use the platform less frequently.

Regardless of your criteria, you can calculate adoption by dividing the number of active users by total users over a set period. If you wanted to look at education’s impact on onboarding, you could look at new active users divided by total sign-ups during a given time period. 

As always, education plays a critical role in moving the needle. When you improve customer learning experiences, you empower your clients to make confident decisions when navigating your product. With that confidence comes smoother onboarding, better training outcomes, and stronger adoption.

Tip: Like with many metrics, customer education shares product adoption metrics with other teams, such as product and customer marketing. To understand education’s impact on product adoption, consider using a cohort analysis. Look at trained vs. untrained customers compared to product usage. To drill even deeper, you can do this type of cohort analysis in even further refined segments, such as persona or use case. 

4. Customer Retention Rate

Where product adoption can be tricky to track, customer retention is far more straightforward. 

Customer retention can be measured in two ways:

  • Account retention - When it’s time to recommit to your product or service, what percentage of your clients renew? 
  • Revenue retention - Year over year, what percentage of revenue is retained? (This can include not only retained accounts, but also expansion of business within those retained accounts.)

Retaining customers is almost always easier than replacing their business. And yet, retention is never guaranteed. To build and maintain strong retention rates, companies need to show they’re invested in the customer experience—starting with best-in-class customer education.

Tip: Again, a cohort analysis is beneficial here. Are trained customers more likely to retain than untrained customers? Are trained customers more likely to expand? You could also dig deeper into the data, including how many users on the account are trained, how much training they’ve engaged with, etc. to better understand how customer education impacts retention.

5. Completion Rate

Content efficacy is another critical part of the education experience. Do clients finish the courses, videos, and certifications they start? Or do they bounce from your education portal and never return?

Completion rate is just one metric under the efficacy umbrella. You can also track user ratings for specific courses, pass/fail rates for the curriculum, or your program’s overall acquisition rate. The more you understand the needs and motivations of your learner personas, the easier it becomes to provide the right education at the right time.

This program-level data often lives within your learning management system (LMS) and can then be tied to other metrics, such as retention and revenue.

6. Return on Investment (ROI)

Last, and arguably most important, is the ROI of customer training. If you’re a seasoned educator, you already know the value you and your program bring to the business. Sadly, though, not all stakeholders understand that value first-hand. 

That’s where metrics like the above come into play. CSAT, NPS, and retention rates can all help articulate the impact of education on the customer experience. 

There are countless other ways to translate your efforts into bottom-line dollars. You can segment your clients by those who have received training and those who haven’t—and then see which group is more likely to renew or expand their contract. Or, you can launch a new certification and work with customer support to see if their caseload decreases.

Learn How to Track ROI Like a Pro

Want more tips to communicate the ROI of customer education? Watch our on-demand webinar, Metrics to Meaning, and learn how to show value with each new course you publish.

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.