Evaluating Customer Training Programs
In today’s competitive Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market, a robust customer education program is essential to maximize customer satisfaction and retention. Such a program can help customers get the most out of your product, increase their satisfaction, and reduce churn rates. But how do you know if your customer education program is effective? That’s where the Kirkpatrick model comes in. This four-level framework provides a structured approach to evaluating the impact of your training program, from assessing customer reactions to analyzing the overall impact on your business. In this article, we’ll explore the Kirkpatrick model in the context of SaaS customer education programs and explain how you can use it to optimize your training efforts.
What Is The Kirkpatrick Model?
The Kirkpatrick model is a four-level framework for evaluating the effectiveness of training programs. It includes four levels: reaction, learning, behavior, and results. The model can be applied to education programs to assess the impact of the training on learners. By using the model, you can gather feedback, assess learning, measure how well the learners apply what they learned, and analyze the overall impact of the program. The Kirkpatrick model is one of the most widely used and influential models for evaluating training programs, and it has been adapted to various fields, including customer education in the context of SaaS. The four levels of the Kirkpatrick Model are:
Measures how learners react to the training program
Measures the knowledge, skills, or attitudes learners acquire as a result of the training program
Measures how learners apply what they learned on the job or in their daily life
Measures the impact of the training program on the organization, such as changes in productivity, revenue, or customer satisfaction
How To Assess Customer Training Programs Using The Kirkpatrick Model
Level 1: Reaction
This level focuses on how customers react to your educational program. It aims to assess the extent to which the customers found the training program engaging, relevant, and useful. The feedback at this level can help you determine whether the training materials and methods used in the program meet the customers’ needs and expectations.
To gather feedback at this level, you can use various methods, such as surveys, questionnaires, or feedback forms. You can also conduct focus groups, interviews, or user tests to get more in-depth insights. The feedback can be both qualitative and quantitative, and you can use it to identify strengths and weaknesses in your training program. If you plan to ask your customers to complete a survey, keep in mind that less is more. Choose one or two questions to ask, and leave space for your customers to write comments.
Some common metrics used at this level include satisfaction ratings, net promoter score, completion rates, and attendance rates. These metrics can help you gauge customers’ level of engagement with your training program and assess how well it meets their needs. By gathering feedback at this level, you can identify areas for improvement and make changes to your training program accordingly.
Level 2: Learning
This level evaluates the extent to which customers have learned from your training program. It assesses whether customers have gained new skills, knowledge, or attitudes that they didn’t have before taking the training.
To evaluate learning, you can use various methods such as pre- and post-training quizzes, tests, or assessments. By comparing the scores before and after the training, you can measure the extent to which customers have improved their knowledge or skills. You can also use surveys or interviews to ask customers about their perceived level of confidence in using your product before and after the training.
The data collected at this level can help you identify which parts of your training program are most effective in helping customers learn. It can also help you identify areas where customers may need additional support or resources. Additionally, the results of this level can be used to make data-driven decisions about how to improve the training program. Some common metrics used at this level include the number of correct answers on pre- and post-training quizzes or assessments, the percentage of customers who reported increased confidence in using the product after the training, and the number of customers who completed the training successfully.
Level 3: Behavior
This level evaluates the extent to which customers are applying what they learned from the training program to their job or use of your product. It assesses whether the customers are using the product more frequently or effectively, achieving their goals more efficiently, or applying the skills and knowledge they learned in their daily work.
This is where customer education programs tend to diverge from internal training programs. To evaluate the behavior of your customers, you can’t exactly ask thousands of customers if they’re applying what they learned in their jobs. The best way to evaluate behavior is to connect your course completion data to product analytics. You can track user activity and usage patterns and compare this activity between trained and untrained customers. This can help you determine whether customers are applying what they learned from the training program and whether the training has had a positive impact on their job performance.
Some common metrics used at this level include the frequency of product usage, the number of support requests, or the number of reported issues or bugs. Additionally, you can gather direct feedback from customers, managers, or supervisors on how the training program impacted their behavior and whether they have seen improvements in job performance or product usage.
The data collected at this level can help you identify which parts of the training program were most effective in changing behavior and driving results. It can also help you identify areas where customers may need additional support or resources to apply what they learned from the training program effectively. By evaluating behavior, you can make data-driven decisions about how to optimize the training program to maximize its impact on customer behavior and the overall success of your business.
Level 4: Results
This level evaluates the overall impact of the training program on your business. It assesses whether the training program has led to tangible and measurable outcomes that impact the success of your business. To evaluate results, you can measure customer data, such as retention or satisfaction rates, and analyze the impact of the training program on these metrics.
Conducting a Return On Investment analysis is another way to evaluate the impact of the training program on your business. This involves comparing the costs of the training program to the benefits it has provided to the business in terms of increased revenue or cost savings. Some common metrics used at this level include customer retention rates, customer satisfaction rates, revenue generated by customers who completed the training program, and overall sales growth. Additionally, you can gather feedback from managers or supervisors on how the training program impacted the overall performance of their team or department.
Before you begin developing your customer training program, you should define the results you would like to attain. If you’ve already launched a program, it will be worth your time to identify these results and determine a mechanism for measuring them. Measuring these metrics is difficult because you need to prove your training program made an impact. If your goal is reducing churn, for example, you need to compare churn rates of customers who have and haven’t been trained. Likewise, if your goal is lead generation through a public-facing customer academy, you need to show that leads who complete your training are more likely to become customers.
The Kirkpatrick model can drive the success of your customer education program. The model consists of four levels of evaluation: reaction, learning, behavior, and results. The reaction level evaluates how customers reacted to the training program, while the learning level measures how much they learned from it. The behavior level assesses how well customers apply what they learned to their job or use of the product, and the results level evaluates the overall impact of the training program on the business, such as increased customer retention or sales. By using the model to assess each level of evaluation, you can identify areas for improvement and optimize the training program to meet the evolving needs of your customers and business.