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Creating Customer Success — Here’s How We Identify What Makes Learners Tick

By Abbi Graves

How do you create an excellent learner experience? An intuitive platform stocked with good content is crucial, naturally enough, but it’s just half the battle. Engagement and motivation are equally important to the learner experience. Carefully calibrated programs will gather dust on the shelf if learners don’t have appropriate incentives that 1) kickstart their progress in the program, and 2) genuinely pique their curiosity and sense of competition along the way.

At Nomadic, this is where our Customer Success team comes in, led by our VP of Customer Success, Abbi Graves, and Director of Customer Success, Jackie Boone. The team works closely with clients before the launch of a program. They suss out what it will take to get learners moving, and help clients to craft the right environment to foster learner success. Then, over the course of the program, they monitor our analytics dashboard to gauge what’s working and what isn’t—so that we can iterate on strong strategies and intervene where additional tactics might be needed. While there’s no magic wand that motivates every single learner, every single time, the team has arrived at a winning formula to help our clients meaningfully engage their learners. Here are the major elements:

Clear Communications

The most eager and motivated group of learners in the world won’t succeed if they don’t have a good roadmap. Before the program launches, learners should know (at minimum) what teaching the content covers, what’s expected of them, and how much time they have to complete.

While a program is in progress, they should receive regular communications—check-ins, reminders of approaching deadlines, words of encouragement—from the program sponsors to keep morale and motivation up. Once the program wraps, a close-out communication of some kind praising learners for their work helps signal the end of one chapter of learning, and can start laying the groundwork for the next.

Leader Cameos

Get senior leaders involved if you can! Senior leaders are busy, and it can be tough to ask for time on their scheduled-to-the-second calendars, but it’s worth doing. In many cases, senior leaders are really excited to see learning programs succeed and are happy to use their platform to move things in the right direction. Conversely, learners will take a program that much more seriously if a senior leader’s name is attached to it—it’s a powerful incentive to know that your boss’ boss’ boss might notice your good work.

Sometimes, the lift is as light as having an initial kick-off email sent from that leader’s inbox; even more effective are the enthusiastic leaders that elect to speak to learners directly: commenting on posts, upvoting, and sparking discussions with the best of them. For a recent program with a Fortune 50 technology client with more than 12,000 learners, we achieved 87% average overall completion, but the teams that outperformed all the others stood out because they had influential leaders participating—each of the top five teams had an active leader participant, and completion over 97%. In total the program, generated almost 100,000 substantive and actionable social comments.

Carrots - And Some Sticks

Nomadic is a fully gamified learning platform, so we already have a “prize” built into our content structure in the form of the leaderboard. One learner will take the top spot, and, for more competitive teams, that’s incentive enough! When a little extra motivation is required, it’s great to consider real-world encouragements. Sometimes, a playful “I know you can do better than that!” on a lackluster comment can encourage a learner to up his or her game. In one recent program, a few learners tried to skate through quickly by simply commenting “I agree.” or “This is interesting.” When community leaders stepped in and asked “Why do you find it interesting?” it held those learners accountable and got them to really engage in the dialogue.

And to reward learners that go above and beyond, client should consider presenting learners with a weekly shout-out on internal channels for a particularly incisive comment, or an opportunity for a top performer to pitch an idea to one of those aforementioned senior leaders.

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