Once a project has been signed off on, the penultimate step is to wait for that final milestone payment to come crashing through to your bank account. However, between the signoff and payment comes another task: teaching your client how to use what you’ve created for them. This post will look at how to train your client after a website launch, including the questions you should ask and the resources you should provide. Let’s take a look!
All aboard the client training … train
Let’s set the scene: You’ve just undertaken a big web development project for your client. Things have gone (relatively) smoothly, you’re finally at the stage where you’re all but done making little tweaks, and you’re ready to sign off on the project. At this point, you’ll probably have dollar signs in your eyes, and everyone else will be wondering where that cash register sound is coming from.
However, if you just bought something expensive (yet reasonably-priced compared to the competition, of course), you’d expect instructions for use or some other sort of guidance. The same applies to a website. You’ll want to provide PDFs, videos, documentation and old-fashioned one-on-ones to make sure your client can expertly use the thing they’ve just bought.
Delivering client training is the perfect way to showcase your knowledge and potentially earn more client work.
After all, a client who thinks you’ve gone above and beyond will no doubt consider that the next time they (or their collaborators) need your skills. More importantly, you spend less time dealing with ad hoc requests post-launch, and more time with other paying clients.
Of course, if you don’t approach client training professionally, the attempt is likely to backfire. For that reason, we really should discuss how you deliver client training.
Asking a barrage of questions is a great idea
There’s no way around it — you’re going to have to be annoying for a little while. However, this should eventually pay off. Asking your client umpteen questions, many of which they may not have the answer to, will likely bring out some frustration. However, it’s your job to not let that become an issue.
Ideally, you’ll be asking a series of questions before the project is signed off on (in fact, the earlier the better). This will help you determine who needs training and in what capacity. For example, you’ll want to know:
- Who will be using the site within the company?
- Do they have any pre-existing WordPress knowledge?
- How will the team be using the site?
- How many people need training, and what does management need to know?
Based on these answers, you can begin to formulate a plan.
Free advice: Start training as early as possible
We wouldn’t usually be so blunt, but this is an important point. The question-asking stage will need to happen early, but the training itself should begin as soon as you have the first answers back.
This means leaving the training open-ended — potentially even past the project’s signoff date. However, you’ll usually build training into the project before the launch, and hopefully be well out of the way once things go live.
Carrying out almost constant training offers a further benefit: it lets you patch up holes in your documentation and/or site. There’s nothing worse than huge issues arising at launch, and training this way lets you close them down quickly.
As for how you develop your training module, you’ll likely want to liaise with your client on the best approach for their business. Here are some aspects to think about:
- Do any team members need WordPress-specific training? If so, that needs to be tackled straight away.
- Consider their existing technical knowledge (or lack thereof), and allow plenty of time for questions on that front.
- Complex functionality needs to be afforded extra time, especially when it relates to business-critical tasks.
By now, you should have a clear plan in mind for developing your training. Let’s talk about the resources you’ll be using throughout the process.
Give the people what they want (usually a manual)
When we say “resources,” we’re not necessarily talking about tools. Your delivery can make or break the training you’re offering, so it pays to consider this aspect carefully.
For example, think about how different people learn. You’ll encounter all of them throughout the project — and your career as a whole. You’ll need to provide different teaching methods, and often give trainees multiple paths (that you scale) to get them through the training.
For example, you could start with a simple PDF of instructions. However, some people will want a hard copy. That’s no problem, but what about those who are visual learners? For them, you can create video tutorials. What about those who just aren’t getting it? Maybe having dedicated one-on-one time or group sessions is a smart idea. Finally, you’ll also want to be accessible via email, for those who have a never-ending supply of questions.
Overall, remember that your main goals are to:
- Teach your client how to use their website without your help.
- Not make them feel like a burden or inconvenience.
As long as you keep those points in mind, your client training should go smoothly!
In an ideal world, you’d sign off a project, bank that sweet moolah, and then send the client on their merry way. However, in reality, without a proper training period you might end up wasting all of the profit you make on aftercare.
In this post, we’ve given you the answer: provide clients with training on the product they’ve just purchased. This period is completely billable, and designed to save you time and expense. By simply asking a number of questions and handing the client some helpful resources, you’ll be setting them up to succeed and giving yourself the opportunity to deal with other paying clients. You can thank us later!