Many people binge watch Netflix. I binge online courses. Early this year, I tried a new type of microcredential from FutureLearn: ExpertTrack. ExpertTracks are series of courses designed to deliver specific skills, available on a self-paced, subscription basis. Since I wrote about FutureLearn ExpertTracks in January, 20+ more ExpertTracks have been added to the catalog.
My Class Central role includes offering help and support to learners by email, so I decided to take Customer Experience Design for Customer Success, produced by FutureLearn in collaboration with Salesforce. Although not eligible for university credit, the ExpertTrack is endorsed by Coventry University and has been adapted from the University’s credit-eligible online microcredential which is also available through FutureLearn: Customer Experience Management with Salesforce Training.
I was initially concerned that Salesforce (ExpertTrack production partner) would be prominent with self-promotion, but it was not the case. Available as a project tool, Salesforce was mentioned as one of several resources to help monitor and improve the customer journey.
These are the three courses:
The courses lead learners through the entire customer experience from first contact to an ongoing relationship. They even describe some strategies to help convince reluctant managers of how and why amended processes can be beneficial.
The three courses making up this ExpertTrack are each designed to take 4 weeks. Each course includes videos, readings, discussion topics, knowledge-checking quizzes, projects, and numerous links to further resources. It is a fairly light workload, although some projects can be quite time-consuming. Some projects were submitted for non-graded feedback from peers. Others can be shared on Padlet, which is a third-party post-style sharing site for images and text.
As usual for this provider, you need to mark at least 90% of the course steps as complete, and pass the final multiple-choice quiz in each course. Pass mark is 70%. Unlike some FutureLearn courses I have taken in the past, if you fail the quiz, you can try it again after 8 hours. A FutureLearn Certificate is awarded for each course, with a special ExpertTrack certificate which arrives after all the courses are completed.
I took less than twelve weeks to work through the courses, but did not complete all the projects. I did, however, create a comprehensive ideas document for future reference, and put together some strategies to improve the customer experience for Class Central users.
BCC (Before Class Central), I worked for a financial institution that prided itself on personal service rather than an impersonal “big bank” viewpoint. Thus, I was already familiar with many of the concepts and strategies discussed. It was interesting, though, to learn further techniques to improve the customer experience. I learned about other aspects of the Customer Journey, not just when they contacted the branch office where I worked.
- Create some personas: examples of typical customers. What life stage are they at? What are their goals?
- Identify their customer journey. How can your business help them reach their goals?
- Look for Pain Points – where difficulties arise – and smooth these out. Avoid negative first impressions, which can lose customers at the outset.
- Don’t just aim to meet customer expectations. Work to exceed them, particularly after an adverse issue. Good and bad case studies are explored. Learners are also encouraged to share their own experiences.
- Brand loyalty can be enhanced after favorable resolution of an issue.
- Personalize the process where possible. For example, segment your audience into relevant categories and send targeted emails, rather than generic emails to all customers. This can increase interest, open/click rates, and future business.
- Learners are encouraged to document and measure the success of strategies, retain positive ones and adjust or discard any that don’t improve the customer experience and consequently do not help the business. A spreadsheet or purpose-built tool can be used.
- The ExpertTrack discusses and includes links to various software options to assist the process, but there is no “hard sell” of particular systems.
- Asking for feedback is an excellent way to find out just how customers feel. It can be as simple as “How likely are you to recommend us to your friends and family, on a scale of 1 to 10?”, preferably with a feedback field to explain why they chose a particular number. More comprehensive surveys are also discussed.