Customer Learning Programs: Creating Delight for Your Users

Victoria Rudi
May 26, 2022
⌚ 10 min read

→ Your growth practice

Create learning programs for your users, customers, and community members. These programs should teach them how to:

  • Use your platform, making the most out of it
  • Apply new methodologies (example: inbound marketing, conversational marketing, etc.)
  • Navigate the industry shifts
  • Improve results through acquiring new skills/knowledge

→ Quick explanation

SaaS companies shouldn’t focus only on developing products but also on teaching people how to use them, make the most out of them, and improve other industry-related skills/knowledge to achieve their desired results.

How can you do that? By launching different learning programs for your company’s stakeholders.

As a Forrester consulting thought leadership paper commissioned by Intellum indicates: 

“Customer education is on the rise. Although there is still considerable room to grow, organizations are finding considerable success in their customer education programs. Our study found that 90% of respondents’ organizations have had positive returns on their investment in customer education.”

Moreover, according to Thought Industries’ 2021 State of Customer Education Report

“Customer Education programs are growing faster than ever.”

Considering the growing competition in all SaaS industries, verticals, horizontals, and niches, companies will find it difficult to differentiate themselves through features, pricing, marketing, or onboarding. On the other hand, investing in designing customer learning programs will help companies ensure higher adoption rates and greater user success, achieving better differentiation from the rest of the brands.

► Quick note: Although it’s called “Customer Learning,” you can design programs for all company stakeholders, such as:

  • Industry professionals
  • Non-paying users
  • Paying users
  • Community members
  • And more

In other words, you shouldn’t limit your company’s learning programs to customers only.

→ Definitions

📓 Customer education: A growth practice focused on helping users, community members, or other company stakeholders achieve their desired results, whether by using your platform or acquiring new industry-related knowledge and skills.

📓 Customer learning programs: A wide variety and formats of learning initiatives. Learning programs include live facilitated training, workshops, masterclasses, courses, email classes, and more.

📓 Learning Ops: A term coined by Northpass, which involves a cultural change aligning learning with business goals. It’s a new operations model which provides impactful learning experiences for employees, customers, and partners.

📓 Self-paced program: A learning program designed to be accomplished at the user’s own pace. This way, people have the freedom to organize their time better, scheduling specific moments dedicated to learning.

📓 Self-service learning: Autonomous access to your learning programs. People can access your learning program, subscribe, consume your educational content on-demand, pass the exam, and automatically generate the certificate without interacting with anyone from your team.

📓 Certification: A proof of the successful completion of a learning program. Usually, customers have to pass an exam to get a certificate, showing their knowledge and skills.

📓 Cohort-based learning: A collaborative learning style, limited to specific timeline frameworks, that allows people to enroll in your program and advance through their educational experience together.

→ Quick facts

According to the 2020 Customer Education Benchmarks and Trends Report by Skilljar:

  • 81% of responding organizations use their training programs to educate multiple audiences.
  • 62% of respondents indicate their training budget has increased year-over-year, and 83% expect their budgets to increase in the next 1-3 years.

✅ The 2021 State of Customer Education Report by Thought Industries reveals the following trends:

  • 91% of programs grew across the last five years.
  • 60% of programs increased spending by 30% or more.
  • 56% of programs plan additional increases in technology spending.
  • 97% of respondents say Customer Education impacts overall business, including higher revenue, increased brand awareness, onboarding efficiency, and reduced churn.

According to The State of L&D: 2022 Training Trends by LearnUpon:

  • 93,22% of respondents currently use or plan to use a learning management system to deliver their training programs.
  • 24,58% of respondents are focused on demonstrating the impact of training programs on business goals and growth.  

→ Types of learning programs

  • Course: A series of video, audio, or written lessons that teach users and community members how to make the most out of a platform or navigate a particular industry-related subject.
  • Masterclass: A class taught by someone who has expert-level knowledge or skills. This expert shouldn’t necessarily be associated with the company launching the Masterclass.
  • Email class: A sequence of emails that aims to teach or provide knowledge related to a specific product or industry-related topic.
  • Workshop: Sessions during which people engage in conversations and activities, subsequently accessing new knowledge or acquiring new skills.
  • Live training: Compared to self-paced programs, live training involves engaging with a teacher synchronously (online or in-person).
  • Private training: In some cases, SaaS companies will run private classes for the employees of a company. Usually, this client company needs assistance with fast onboarding and training of a large number of employees.

→ Your growth opportunities

Customer learning programs are cross-functional, covering a broad spectrum of your users’ needs. As a result, you can access different growth opportunities, such as:

  • Increase brand awareness. For example, most marketing professionals know about the HubSpot classes on “Inbound Marketing” or “Inbound Sales.” Strong customer learning programs dedicated to specific methodologies or industry-related knowledge/skills will help you position your company as an industry leader. Subsequently, this will result in increased brand awareness.
  • Attract high-quality leads. Offering on-demand learning programs will help your marketing team attract qualified leads. Note that a marketing-oriented learning program should focus on industry and new skills rather than the platform itself.
  • Increase adoption rate. Software and skill-oriented customer learning programs will get people to adopt your platform at higher rates. For example, according to the early-mentioned Thought Industries report, “Over 70% of Customer Education programs report 10+% product adoption growth, with nearly 20% achieving 50% growth or more.”
  • Reduce churn rate. Users and customers will want to stick to your product if they have the necessary knowledge and skills to make it work and achieve their wanted results.
  • Fewer tickets. Strong customer learning programs dedicated to your product will get people accustomed to your platform, enabling them to navigate it easier and have fewer questions and doubts.
  • Build strong connections with industry leaders and other companies. This can happen if you’re open to collaborations and, for example, to create a masterclass led by an industry authority, such as an expert, consultancy firm, or another brand.
  • Generate more revenue. Some SaaS companies will monetize their customer learning programs.

→ Case examples

>> Spekit, an in-app digital adoption and enablement platform

  • Spekit offers multiple courses, one of them being a Sales Methodology class created in collaboration with the leading sales consultancy, JBarrows.
  • The course is built based on a PDF manual people can download on-demand. As the page indicates, “Learn all about the fundamental process of sales, prospecting, identifying your target audience, tailoring messaging, identifying important account roles and how to close more deals, faster from world-renowned sales coach, John Barrows.”
Spekit Screenshot

>> Lemlist, a cold outreach platform

  • Lemlist offers a Cold Email Masterclass for B2B entrepreneurs. The Masterclass page indicates, “Master Cold Email to book 20+ meetings each week with new cold prospects. These strategies helped us go from $0 to $10M in ARR in 3 years.”
  • The Masterclass contains 34 videos, templates, a private Slack community, and weekly group calls.
  • To access the Masterclass, people have to pay $797.
Lemlist Screenshot

>> Commsor, a platform for community-led companies

  • Like many other SaaS companies, Commsor offers a wide variety of courses, such as Understanding Capital “C” Communities. The course contains 9 units and 3 chapters, and it takes 1-2 hours of learning time.
  • Commsor is also offering paid courses, such as Community Operations. To access this course, people have to pay $599. The course contains 59 units and 8 chapters, and it takes 10-15 hours of learning time.
Commsor Screenshot

>> Miro, an online collaborative whiteboard platform

  • Miro offers multiple live training sessions. As the page suggests, “Join a session with our product experts, learn about new feature releases, and get answers to your questions in our live Q&A.”
  • People can register for free to attend training sessions such as “Agile events in Miro,” “Strategy and planning in Miro,” and “Hosting your next brainstorm.”
Miro Screenshot

>> Hopin, an event technology platform

  • Hopin Education offers a wide variety of product-related courses and live workshops.
  • People can learn how to get started with the platform, run hybrid events, and plan internal events.
  • For example, the Hybrid with Hopin course contains videos, text, and PDF lessons that take about 30 minutes to complete.
  • The Hopin Learn Live Workshops consist of weekly Ask Me Anything sessions.
Hopin Screenshot

>> Front, a customer communication platform

  • Front offers guided learning to help users get more out of the platform.
  • Compared to other customer education programs, the Front Classroom page is a collection of platform-related short videos, guides, checklists, and one-pagers.
Front Screenshot

>> Sendlane: Email & SMS Marketing Automation for eCommerce

  • Sendlane offers a paid eCommerce Email Course hosted by an industry professional.
  • The on-demand course contains 57 video lessons, 2+ hours of expert interviews and automation demos, 11 printable checklists, 30+ pages of case studies, and 10-course quizzes.
  • To enroll, people have to pay $247.
Sendlane Screenshot

>> Ceros, a content creation platform

  • Ceros Educate offers customer learning programs such as video lessons, webinars, training, and quick tips.
  • The Lessons are based on three levels of expertise: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced.
  • The Webinars and Training sessions are offered live and on-demand.
  • Quick Tips include a series of short videos (less than a minute) on teaching people about different platform hacks.
Ceros Screenshot

>> Okta, an access management platform

  • Okta provides both free and paid training.
  • Okta customers can access Okta Basic Curriculum for free, but Hands-on Instructor-led courses come with a price tag.
  • The free training also includes Okta Exam Prep webinars. As for the paid training, the Okta Essentials course, for example, costs $2775 / seat.
  • The company is also offering two learning passes: Okta Premier Learning Pass to access the on-demand catalog: $2500 / seat and Okta Premier Learning Pass Plus to access virtual instructor-led classes for a year: $7500 / seat.
  • Okta is also offering a 50% discount for non-profit customers.
Okta Screenshot

>> Woodpecker, an email marketing platform

  • Woodpecker offers a one-hour learning program on growing outbound sales skills.
  • The program contains 5 lessons, 29 videos, and 50 additional resources.
  • Those people who graduate will get a special price for the platform.
Woodpecker Screenshot

→ What to consider?


  • What do I want to teach my users? Possible answers: I want to share with them a new methodology. I want to help them get started or become proficient with my platform. I want to teach them to excel in a specific industry-related niche.
  • How do I want to engage with my students, users, or other company stakeholders? Possible answers: I want them to access self-paced learning programs and engage as little as possible. I want to launch a cohort-based program every week and get them on calls.
  • What type of learning program can I create? Possible answers: An email course, a Masterclass in collaboration with an industry leader, a full-fledged course, etc.
  • How much of my budget should go to building customer learning programs?


  • You can start small and build a Get Started customer learning program. It can be a simple, one-hour course based on specific product-related topics. There are no particular requirements to apply this growth practice.
  • For example, Miro provides multiple customer learning programs. However, it started small, with product on-demand webinars run by Matt Mulholland. Back in the day, he was a customer education manager. Nowadays, Matt is a Customer Education Program Lead at Miro.
  • Suppose your SaaS product is easy to use and provides contextual, in-app learning. In that case, there’s no point in launching a product-related course. But you can design a knowledge/skill acquiring Masterclass and teach your users an industry-related topic.

💡 To consider: It would be advisable to hire a Customer Education lead in charge of designing and running customer learning programs at your SaaS company.

→ Your action framework

📒 Decide what you want to teach. Is it something related to your product? Is it a new methodology? Or do you want to help people improve specific industry-related knowledge and skills?

📒 Choose what type of learning program you want to create. Is it a Masterclass, an email course, or a cohort-based class?

📒 Create the Curriculum or the structure for your learning program. This structure should include things such as:

  • The time it will take your users to go through the learning program.
  • The sequence of your learning subjects. You should determine what your users should learn first, second, third, and so on. It’s important to build a coherent sequence. For example, people shouldn’t learn complex product features if they don’t know basic things first.
  • The overall course structure includes a combination of videos, exercises, text-based knowledge, tests, and more.

📒 Build the learning program. The process may require:

  • Writing video scripts
  • Shooting and editing videos
  • Writing content
  • Creating exercises
  • Designing the final test
  • And more

📒 Create a landing page for your learning program and publish it.

💥 To remember: Each SaaS company can decide the format and the structure of its customer learning programs. However, to ensure a high-quality learning program, you may want to consider the following attributes:

👉 Scalable. One-on-one training sessions aren’t efficient, especially if you have an extensive customer base. Designing a learning program for one customer isn’t cost-effective either. You’ll invest resources into a program that can’t be replicated or re-used for other customers. Good learning programs are scalable. A scalable learning program allows you to enroll many users who benefit equally from the training.

👉 Iterative. Building a successful learning program is based on trial and error. Iterate, see what works and doesn’t, try different formats, adjust the course structure, and ensure that your exams aren’t difficult. Your learning programs should be iterative, meaning open for change and improvements.

👉 Sequential. Learning programs should be coherent. You have to accompany your customers through their learning process to make things easier. Teach them the basics and the definitions first. That’s how you’ll build their knowledge foundation. Subsequently, they can move to complex information.

📚 Other resources:

  • Customer Education: Why Smart Companies Profit by Making Customers Smarter by Adam Avramescu [Book link]
  • The Customer Education Playbook: How Leading Companies Engage, Convert, and Retain Customers by Daniel Quick and Barry Kelly [Book link]
  • CELab: The Customer Education Lab Podcast [Apple Podcasts link]