Customer success (CS) and customer experience (CX) are big buzz words today. According to the American Marketing Association, the majority of companies say improving the customer experience is one of their top priorities. This has led to an explosion of CS and CX teams. How does customer education (CE) fit into the new landscape? Can CE increase CX by itself or does it need to align with CS teams to have a greater impact?
Let's look at it both ways: the CX effect of a standalone CE team and the effect it has as part of the CS team.
The effects of education on customer experience.
As a standalone customer education team. According to Milind Gurjar, Senior Director and General Manager, Learning@Cisco (and CEdMA Executive Council member), as long as the CE team is "aligned with CS goals," they can increase customer experience outcomes. At Cisco, his teams have "worked with CS to drive greater product adoption through education, (as well as) expand customer bookings."
When plugged in to the customer education team. Customer education teams need to have a significant say in the CS playbook to be effective. "You need to have alignment to (their) goals and a clearly defined operating model for education in the CS playbook," Gurjar explained.
Creating better alignment between education and customer experience.
No matter how your education team is positioned in your organization, create better alignment with customer success and experience by:
- Speaking with CS leadership."Because CS is in its infancy," explained Gurjar,"(their) leadership is very open to talking to anybody who wants to help."
- Connecting with other CS teams, such as product management, professional services, support, sales, and marketing. Exchanging information among all these teams is critical for CX, even more so for CE who needs visibility into these other areas.
- Aligning CE strategy with CS outcomes. Because CS is seen as the "sexy" new paradigm, it gets a lot of airtime within companies. Gurjar advises CE professionals to align closely with CS to better demonstrate the value of education because you'll speak about topics and outcomes leadership is already familiar with.
Alignment between CE and CS shouldn't just happen at the management and/or strategy level, Gurjar cautioned. "Work happens in the trenches, so the engagement has to be across all levels." Collaborating with and socializing information from the different areas of CS helps CE better position itself and the content it produces to improve the customer experience — and that's with both a standalone or plugged in CE team.
Customer education is an investment in customer experience.
Today's organizations are looking at customer experience as an investment in their company's success, not as a cost. Companies keep and retain customers on a repeat basis when customer have a better experience. To do that, look at different ways to keep customers happy and successful. CE is well-positioned to help CS teams in many ways, maximizing customers' investments in the products making them successful.