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Training Tips with Rita Patterson, Manager, Customer Education at PayScale

Posted by Rachel Martinez on August 23, 2017

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In this edition of our Training Tips series, we asked Rita Patterson, PayScale's Manager, Customer Education, to share her insights and tips about training customers!

What advice do you have for companies just starting to build out their training?

Think about what you want training to accomplish today, a year from now, five years from now. Odds are, you know your training team and function won’t look the same today as it looks five years from now, but what you want to build should ideally accomplish today’s goals as well start building towards future goals. Focus the efforts, channels, and make-up of training team, function and content on the pain points that sparked a need for training.

A lot of training is built out of needs like the realization that customers require more guidance on product navigation or out of desire to reduce product support calls. If the goal is to help customers feel confident in product navigation, and thus enable product usage, training should not just seek to inform but also to build confidence of customers. If instead, the goal is to serve a purpose like reducing product support tickets, the initial aim should be focused on training that both educates and creates habits for customers around the top 5-10 things your group gets the most support requests about.

Lastly, if you can, start thinking about content building ASAP – figure out what sort of resource allocation you can make for it, where it will live, and how customers will access it – think early and often about how content will scale, even if you are not quite ready to put that in to action.

What do you wish you knew when you first started your career in training?

Training is more than showing people how something works, it’s about making them feel like they can work it. One of my favorite quotes from a fellow customer training leader: “The buttons do what the buttons do, education shares a use case and paints a picture.”

I’ve learned so much about adult learners as a result of immersing myself in the training & education space. I love understanding how adult professionals approach learning, training, and education in different manners – and with a whole host of other items on their plate. We know that everyone is crunched for time and it’s an honor that they’ve chosen to spend it with us to better understand & utilize our products. I would tell my ‘younger’ training self to enjoy that 30 or 60 minutes with a customer and focus on what you can help them learn in that sitting that will make them feel more prepared to do the task at hand.

How do you measure the success of your training program? What data do you use?

This is a spot where I have been very challenged as a leader of training. Right now customer feedback is our strongest metric of measurement in training ‘satisfaction.’ We mostly get that feedback via anecdotal input or from webinar statistics. We’ve talked more recently about measuring training with short surveys and/or ‘quizzes’ to manage learner engagement and knowledge retention post webinar and post individual training more systematically. I’d like to make more of an effort to put that in to action.

My advice to myself on this would be to go back to my original recommendation – think about what you want training to accomplish and measure that!

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In our Training Tips series, we asked Training, Marketing, and Customer Success Managers what some of their best practices are to get the most out of a customer training program. Stay tuned for new Q&As each month! 

Topics: Training, Customer Success, Training Tips

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