Inadequate “getting started” support: When a prospective customer downloads a trial version of your product or commits to a pilot project, that’s almost always an indication of serious interest. But if these prospects are frustrated by their first experience with your product, you’re going to lose many of them before they go any further. Getting prospects off to a good start can help plug this leak.
Inadequate basic training: Not suprisingly, the attrition rate for untrained users is much higher than the rate for users who learn basic skills. Sometimes basic training is free for all customers, other times it’s a fee-based add-on. Either way, you should make sure your basic training package produces users who are genuinely proficient with your product and can deliver immediate value from what they’ve learned. They’re your future proof-of-concept evangelists.
One-size-fits-all training: If you don’t offer customized instruction for major types of users (for instance, end users, developers, and channel partners), a lot of your standard content will seem irrelevant to many of your training attendees. Match your training curriculum to actual user needs and your satisfaction scores will go up dramatically.
No advanced training: Even if you have excellent basic training, your advanced users are likely to be disappointed if they can’t find classes or videos on specialized topics. Advanced training classes and videos are an ideal way to retain influential users who then become your internal champions. Advanced training is also a great way to showcase new product features that help you differentiate your product from the competition.
No personal training: Another reason for attrition: Your power users and developers can’t get answers to complex questions (“how do I implement and test a specific security feature?”). These problems tend to be too time-consuming for tech support and too small for professional services--so the customer is left with no solution at all. One-on-one mentoring with an expert instructor is often a great solution to this problem, and most committed customers are willing to pay a realistic price for the value received.
Excessive reliance on tech support: Often, a third or more of the calls that tech support departments handle are routine questions that could have been avoided by better training. If you’re losing money on every tech support call, that’s a major revenue leak that needs to be plugged.
Failed enterprise deployments: For companies that sell enterprise systems, this is the big one: company-wide deployments that are scaled back because of end-user pushback (“We liked the old system better”) or complaints about poor support and training. When a million-dollar customer walks away in mid-deployment, that sucking sound you hear is your future revenue going down the drain.