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As more applications and software are modernized for SaaS, users need to keep up with training. Enterprises are deploying learning management systems as customer success tools to improve how they deliver those classes while staying focused on their core strengths.
Skilljar, an LMS company based in Seattle that was founded in 2013, makes a customer success tool that helps companies such as Spotify, Zendesk and Liberty Mutual train people how to use -- and keep engaging with -- mostly technical software through on-demand e-learning. Skilljar's business-focused system also focuses on preventing churn and the loss of customers during yearly SaaS renewal cycles.
No-code software vendor Quick Base Inc., a SaaS platform for low-tech business professionals who want to build their own apps without turning to IT staff, turned to Skilljar to launch its online academy in 2017.
E-commerce part of the customer experience
"I'm of a mindset to make training as accessible as possible," said Liz McCann, director of customer success offerings at Quick Base, based in Cambridge, Mass.
E-learning through an LMS provided a more scalable model, and it encouraged more Quick Base customers to train consistently at a higher level, when and where they wanted to, she said.
McCann's team liked Skilljar's focus on training employees, partners and customers; its integration with e-commerce options, such as Stripe, for payments; and its enablement of customers to apply credits they earn toward additional classes and certifications. Skilljar also earned points for meeting the requirements of the company's training, sales, marketing and compliance teams.
Skilljar provides the infrastructure for training sites -- in this case, Quick Base University -- and the Quick Base team produces the content. Working with in-house subject matter experts, it created product simulations, videos, PowerPoints and prerecorded lectures. Quick Base chose a template, and within a month or so, it was ready to launch.
Building your own virtual school
Few software vendors have the resources of Microsoft or Salesforce, so they rely on on-site trainings that cost thousands that aren't always effective, said Sandi Lin, Skilljar CEO and co-founder.
"That's not what 21st-century learning is about and not how people want to consume training," Lin said. "We live in a Netflix world. If we didn't absorb the information, we want to come back when we need it, on demand."
The road to Quick Base University took a few years, McCann said. It started with live training to test the content, which grew into the e-learning platform that now includes a certification program.
Sandi LinCEO and co-founder, Skilljar
So far, McCann reported an uptick in active users, course registrations and monthly recurring revenue. Tracking abilities through Skilljar and Quick Base show who is registering for training, how often they log in, how many courses are being taken and the number of active students, among other key factors.
"I know we want people to become certified, and I can see that certified builders are driving the greatest increase in active usage in a six-month period," McCann said.
Customer success drives renewals
Software vendors also need to know when their customers don't use their products, so McCann tracks when licenses go unused or when there's inactivity in user accounts.
With SaaS, it's easier for customers to switch vendors. The challenge is to ensure customers derive value from a product, especially when contracts or licenses are up for renewal. Using customer success tools, such as an LMS, helps improve the customer experience and enables retention.
"Software is not self-service, whether it's used in advertising or a contact center," Lin said. "You can't teach somebody to be a Hadoop administrator or Zendesk admin by hoping they'll figure it out."
Quick Base recently gave its online university a face-lift, changing the structure of the content and redesigning the color scheme and iconography based on feedback from users.
"If the content isn't as impactful as we thought, if we're not resonating like we want to, we can take action," McCann said. "Skilljar is set up to be responsive. It allows for companies to be really agile in the way they respond to customer feedback."