Chief Learning Officer magazine is a trademark of Mediatec Publishing Inc. All clomedia.com and Chief Learning Officer magazine content Copyright 2013 MediaTec Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved. It is illegal to copy, reproduce or publish any information contained on clomedia.com or in Chief Learning Officer magazine without express written permission from MediaTec Publishing Inc.
Customer Education: Expanding Revenue and Driving Business Growth
Yet, although many companies have grown their direct learning channel, the partner channel often remains seriously under-funded. In addition, there are tangible benefits to managing that channel better from a learning perspective. Companies really need to think about customer education from a more integrated perspective, ensuring that customers receive consistent, robust information and support, whether the sale is through a direct channel or through a partner.
Channel partner education increases in importance as the complexity of the product set increases. Microsoft, for example, noted early in the rollout of its .NET Web services strategy that the complexity and scope of the initiative meant that, more than ever, the company needed to help its thousands of business partners understand it. Microsoft invested in new channel partner training that has helped crystallize the importance of .NET to its partners.
Lessons From the Early Adopters
Based on recent work with a number of early adopters of channel partner and customer education programs, several common themes are emerging. First, developing the business case requires care and focus. Many companies still struggle to remove the “learning is a cost center” blinders from their executive teams. Some management teams may see customer or channel partner education as a way to start bringing in revenue from the learning function, but it may be some time before revenue generation is the primary benefit from these programs. Instead, companies need to look at the impact on the profit and loss (P&L) of the entire business.
Other impacts may come from driving down various kinds of customer service costs. Take Nielsen University, for example, the learning center of Nielsen Media Research, the provider of television measurement services. One benefit of Nielsen’s customer education programs is fewer calls to the help desk. “At one point, we estimated that about 60 percent of calls we received were for educational issues,” said Julie Aquan, senior vice president of client support services for Nielsen U. “Now, through Nielsen U., customers have a viable choice when they need assistance. They can speak to us on the telephone, or they can access the NielsenU Web site, take a quick tutorial and find the answer themselves.”
The Next Generation of HR: Whatâ€™s Wrong? Whatâ€™s Right?
May 23rd 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
2013 CLO Breakfast Club, Boston
September 12th - 12th, 2013The Westin Copley Place
Fall 2013 CLO Symposium
September 30th - October 2nd, 2013Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
Get the Magazine