Blog Post

5 Data-Driven Recommendations for a High-Performing Customer Education Program

Dr. Michelle Ellis
May 16, 2024
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What does it take to run a high-performing customer education program?

A recent Forrester study of 300 customer education decision makers, commissioned by Intellum, sheds light on best practices.

Based on the insights gathered, here are Forrester’s top five recommendations:

1. Create a Formal Education Strategy for Your Business

This is not the first time we’ve heard this: The key to successful customer education programs is to start with strategy. 

Many companies start with ad hoc content—and that’s OK. But eventually, each company needs to pivot to establishing a more formal customer education function that can create a comprehensive strategy for how education can drive business results and support customers throughout their lifecycle.

2. Leverage Vendors as Partners

Creating a customer education program requires substantial effort and planning. As your program grows, you may find yourself in need of more resources—whether because of a lack of skills in-house or to support a particular project.

While it’s tempting to shop around for the best cost or fastest delivery time, the research shows that high-success customer education teams prioritize strategic partnership over cost or speed. Take your time vetting vendors who can provide a layer of insight not currently available on your team. That partnership can pay dividends.

3. Align Customer Education to the Customer Journey

True customer education spans the entire customer lifecycle—from pre-sale to post-sale. The key is to make sure you’re delivering the right content to the right learner at the right time.

To do this, you need to think about the end-to-end customer journey:

  • What are their pain points? 
  • What are their questions? 
  • What do they need to learn at each stage (and what can be put off for later)?

These insights won’t only help you develop great education content, but make sure it’s delivered to learners at the right stage in their journey.

4. Eliminate Data Silos

We all know how important it is to measure the ROI of customer training and education. 

As customer education expands to impact more of the business (marketing & sales, as well as customer success), it's critical to connect systems to tell a unified story about the impact of education. Silos both hurt the quality of the education you create and make it more difficult to measure the impact of these programs.

5. Invest in Upskilling Your Team

There is so much to learn in the world of customer education. Invest in upskilling through industry conferences, mentorship programs, membership organizations like CEdMA, and other resources to grow their skill set.

(You can also follow these customer education professionals for regular insights.)

About the Author

Dr. Michelle Ellis Speaker Headshot
Dr. Michelle Ellis
Director of Learning & Development
Michelle Ellis has over 25 years of experience in instructional design, including nearly 20 years at Disney, and a PhD in Training and Performance Improvement.. Her experience ranges from teaching in the academic setting to designing, developing, and facilitating education to teach technical, soft, and leadership skills. Michelle came to Intellum as a practitioner to share her experiences with learning and how to build a learning strategy.