You know exactly how important education is for your team. You probably spend a significant amount of time on training and onboarding new members of the team, especially when it comes to learning new tools and tech. Why don’t agencies think about educating their clients the same way?
In this episode of the Conquer Local podcast, Jenni White, CEO of Polaris Marketing & Consulting, talks with George Leith about why educating your customer is such a smart move. Then, she delivers tips on how you can do it without overtaxing your team.
Why educate your clients?
White suggests that might not be the case. This is especially true if you’re working with the owner of a small local business, such as a hardware store for example. You can give these clients the tools they need, but teaching them how to use them is crucial to their success.
I train my client on how to use the tools, I walk them through it … I’m seeing cool results with SEO, social media, … how to engage the platform and move the needle.
These clients often don’t understand the value of the tools you provide. They might wonder why they can’t do things the way they did them before. White says that, most often, what they are doing is inefficient. They may be wasting time and money alike on different platforms. They might focus entirely on the wrong platform.
Teaching the client how to use the new tools you’re providing helps them become more efficient. It also means they can see that information for themselves, rather than relying on you and your team.
A client dashboard is a great example. With an all-in-one client portal, they can log in to one page and do everything they need to do and see all their performance results from that business app.
This provides them with a bird's eye view of their business's digital landscape. With it, they can streamline spending. They can also often prove results. Helping them understand how to navigate the portal can save time, energy, and resources.
Benefits of educating your clients
White also points out that educating your agency clients can have benefits for your team. “Not everybody wants to be that engaged with the platform,” she says. “The more I can get them engaged, the less reliant on me or my team they are.”
What that means is educating your clients helps them become self-sufficient. If the number of tasks your team has to complete is overwhelming, then client education could be the solution. Client education can also reduce the number of complaints clients have.
Your relationship with the client also benefits when you take the time to educate them. As noted, new clients are often left to their own devices. This can lead to frustration and confusion. Since the client doesn’t know how to use the platform, they might not see the results they want. Training them can help them achieve success.
Educating the client also helps you build a deeper relationship with them.
When you take the time to teach your clients, this is what happens:
- They feel that you want to improve their experience.
- They can see you want to encourage them to make better, more informed decisions.
- They feel like you care about them (Business 2 Community).
White expands on that idea, suggesting that most people are quite willing to help each other. In fact, she says, most people want others to succeed. The more you invest in your client’s success, the more they’re going to invest in the success of your agency. Helping the client use your platform, tools, or client portal and move the needle for their business helps your agency too.
How to educate your agency clients
Most agency teams don’t spend a lot of time actively training and mentoring their clients. Your team is already so busy that asking them to “hold the customer’s hand” may feel like you’re overtaxing them.
White addressed this when she pointed out that the more you train your customers, the less they’re going to rely on your team in the long run. Even if you don't train clients, there's a good chance your team is spending a lot of time supporting them. However, they might not be doing it in the most efficient way.
White gives an example. She says that by making a video, she can “answer all [the client’s] questions from 6 emails” in less than 60 seconds.
In fact, that’s one of White’s top tips for educating your clients. Instead of pitching email back and forth or scheduling a Zoom meeting, she says it’s simple to record a video. “I’ll ... start recording, one take, ‘hey so-and-so, I just wanted to show you really quickly to answer your question, …’ and boom, boom, boom, click, click, click, I’ll walk ’em through.”
You can record these videos whenever your team has a spare minute. As an added bonus, they’re personalized and they address the client’s questions directly. Better yet, the client can then review the video at their leisure. They can share it with other members of their team. They can even go back and watch the video again if they need to.
In less than 60 seconds, you’ve answered all their questions and provided a personalized resource they can use over and over. It’s much more efficient than trying to figure out a Zoom meeting, sharing screens, or even sending emails.
Driving conversation with client training
Often, these videos and other resources can lead to further conversations. You might have answered these questions, but they led to new questions for the client.
That might not sound like a good thing, but it is. These offshoot conversations can be productive and deepen your relationship with the customer. As they learn to do more on the platform, they may ask about other capabilities. An example might be someone who is using the platform to post on social media. They might wonder if they can also manage their reviews or automate marketing emails via the platform, too. This can lead to further opportunities for education.
In the case of reports, they may have questions about the kinds of reports they can run. They might then ask if there are ways they can organize the data or get insights from data analytics.
When new tools roll out, you can be ready to come back to these clients with better solutions—and more support.
When you educate your agency clients, you empower them, build your relationship with them, and reduce their dependence on your team. It’s a win-win-win.
About Jenni White
Jenni White is CEO of Polaris Marketing & Consulting. She has been a much sought-after marketing guru from tech start-ups to long-term established businesses. She specializes in building strategic partnerships, business development, marketing strategy implementation, and product development and ideation. In addition to managing the digital services offered by Polaris Marketing & Consulting, Jenni also consults with companies across the United States. She donates her time to multiple charities as well. She is a Dale Carnegie Black Belt, studied undergrad at The Claremont Colleges in Claremont, CA, and is originally from Portland, Oregon.
Find her on LinkedIn: Jenni White