5 Recommendations for Building an Online Customer Education Program

The Zenefits HR platform worked with Skilljar, a customer training and onboarding company, to launch a new education initiative for its customers. The results were a reduction in support tickets, a high completion rate, and many new users taking the training.

The Zenefits People Platform brings everything HR into one simple app. The platform is designed to be comprehensive without being overly complex. It puts benefits, payroll, and HR access in the pockets and at the fingertips of employees. Zenefits knows what it means to streamline processes and has innovated rapidly in an industry that often still relies on paper and fax machines. 

In 2018, Zenefits partnered with Skilljar’s Customer Training Platform to build a formal Customer Education program to ensure that both its existing and new customers were successfully adopting and leveraging the Zenefits People Platform. The Zenefits Training Platform launched with 50 courses and quickly saw a strong course completion rate and a significant reduction in incoming support tickets. Zenefits saw a notable increase in new users engaging in training, with those users each taking an average of five courses. While the completion rates for voluntary online education courses such as MOOCs (massive open online courses) tend to hover between 5 and 15 percent (study), Zenefits has consistently maintained a rate of greater than 55 percent. 

Melanie Gallo, Zenefits’ head of Education Services, was directly involved in building Zenefits’ Customer Education program. She offers her top five recommendations for developing a Customer Education program:

1. Start building a customer education platform early.

When we approached Skilljar to help us develop a formal customer onboarding and education platform, we had hundreds of new customers signing on each month in addition to our existing customer base. We understood early on in this phase of growth that consistent, scalable onboarding required a solution greater than any individual or team. Our customers already were operating online, so introducing them to an online platform for training was easy.

2. Don’t assume all of your audience’s needs are the same.

At Zenefits, we have three core audiences in need of onboarding: customers, partners, and internal employees. Accordingly, we’ve developed a variety of learning paths that address each audience’s specific needs. The Zenefits Training Platform initially launched with 50 courses. Our current learning paths comprise 1 to 15 courses, organized by topic. Some examples of our learning paths include Zenefits 101, Payroll, Time & Attendance, Insurance, Hiring, and Performance Management. 

3. Empower your customers to problem solve.

One of the main challenges we sought to solve with an online training platform was a reduction in the number of “how-to” type questions our support team was receiving. Based on existing customer data, we identified a number of commonly asked questions and used those queries as the basis for new coursework. This not only reduced the burden on Customer Success and Support teams, but also ensured that courses are relevant to users and their experiences.

Within just one month of launching the Zenefits Training Initiative, we saw a 5 percent reduction in support tickets. To us, this indicated many users were facing the same challenges and we could develop content specifically solving these difficulties.

4. Look for integrations with your other software solutions. 

With Skilljar, we were able to integrate our own Zenefits customer relationship management (CRM) software into our training program. With this integration, not only can we track metrics such as course completions and the number of certified users, we also can understand the impact of education on broader business goals such as product engagement, revenue growth, and retention.

5. Consider collaborating across internal departments.

Customer Education does not exist in a silo, nor should it. Especially when looking at your broader business goals, consider how you can collaborate with other teams. The Customer Success team can be a helpful resource when it comes to developing new content as they are most closely aligned with your customers’ wants and needs. Your company’s Marketing team can help you by promoting your training program or specific coursework via e-mail or on your company’s Website. Even Sales can help you identify which product features to highlight based on what they hear from prospects. The key here is to understand how Customer Education initiatives can have a positive impact on your business. 

Zenefits provides innovative and intuitive HR and payroll software and services purpose-built for small and mid-size companies.




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