Exploring the Possibilities of Long-Term Customer Engagement
Reduce/mitigate customer churn due to a lack of use/value/practice/integration with post-implementation content tailored to your customers’ needs.
According to a recent EdWeek survey, the major factors that districts consider when deciding on future product purchases are data showing its effect on student academic results, educator feedback, and usage. Simply put: If your product isn’t an essential part of educators’ instruction, customer renewal is in jeopardy. Already, the number of unique edtech tools accessed by learners and educators is significantly decreasing, and the “fiscal cliff” after ESSER runs out means that now is the time to invest in ensuring your product makes the cut to be renewed next year.
This requires an effort beyond what most products provide. While it’s standard practice to have some form of new customer onboarding and orientation, what many in the industry overlook is the “last mile”: the unseen implementation handled by a customer’s staff long after your engagement manager has moved on to their next customer onboarding session.
As a former practitioner, I’ve been one of those people tasked by my administrator to learn, support and promote the adoption of a new product or service across my school district. I had to figure it out myself, using just the handful of tutorials and resources provided by the vendor. If I saw the instructional value and believed it would make a difference for educators and learners, I’d try to find the time to create the necessary materials to make it work. The problem was, there were multiple products introduced each year. We just couldn’t make it all work!
If only I had a package of prepared resources that I could easily update or adapt for my district, with a playbook on how to roll the solution out over time (so it wouldn’t be overwhelming to me or my educators), I could have helped so many deserving products get a foothold in my district.
In conversations with folks across the industry, we see the same thing: engagement managers are already spread thin, having to be responsive to new and existing customers, and don’t have time to design, develop, and publish a collection of resources to share with a customer’s educators. So much effort has already been invested in product development, sales, and marketing that there isn’t always enough attention paid to what happens after a new customer is onboarded. Only a few customers—perhaps the larger or more strategic accounts—get the attention needed.
As a team of former classroom practitioners, Clarity knows the kinds of resources and materials necessary to roll out a new product successfully in a school district and make it part of their essential practice: because we’ve done it ourselves, and for many of our clients.
Building Sustainable and Inclusive Supports
Supports should make your customers’ educators feel empowered, supported, and confident using your product. Here are some of the necessary ingredients to make this successful:
- Give guidance on rolling-out over time. Make sure customers have a sense of what to do after your engagement manager finishes their onboarding. What do they do next? And when? Resources like implementation timelines, rubrics, and observation protocols can help leaders to improve effectiveness of product implementation and the overall impact on learning. Consider providing resources for instructional coaches to support educators in effectively incorporating the product into their instructional practices.
- Provide instructional context beyond core subject areas. Consider integrating multiple high-needs areas that may go unfunded or partially funded with the end of ESSER funding, such as social emotional learning, financial literacy, science, and the arts. This can help build additional value into your existing product.
- Expand on resources for underserved learners. Tailor your product resources to address the unique needs of underserved learners, focusing on intervention strategies, higher-order thinking skill development, cultural and community relevance, and opportunities for self-directed learning to provide learner agency. Consider individualized learning paths to ensure that every learner can thrive.
- Make trainings self-directed. Instead of relying on a team of trainers or engagement managers to deliver every training, provide the slides, script, demos, and instructions necessary to let your customers’ staff deliver the training directly.
- Leverage existing Communities of Practice or Professional Learning Communities. Most schools already offer a forum for educators to collaborate, share best practices, exchange ideas, and support each other. Provide content that your customers’ implementation staff can easily use and share with those communities.
Building all of this from scratch for your product or service can be time-intensive and requires not only a classroom perspective, but also an understanding of how school districts roll-out adoptions of new products or services. If your engagement managers are busy addressing other priorities, consider purchasing one of our packages to get you started. The sooner you do, the better your odds of mitigating customer attrition come renewal season. Contact Clarity today to learn how we can help your product be “must have” instead of “nice to have” when ESSER funds run out!