Person teaching in front of a projector
Teaching Your Clients How to Use the CMS
2020-01-27
Old Moon Digital

When you first start working as a web developer, it’s easy to assume that the hardest part of the job is the actual website creation process. In reality, though, for many developers, the hardest part is handing the website off to the client and making sure they understand how to use it.

If a client isn’t well-versed in how to use a particular content management system, you’re likely going to receive a lot of questions (and maybe even complaints) from them moving forward. To avoid this, proper Drupal CMS training is essential.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about teaching your clients how to use a new CMS.

Why Proper Training Matters

Proper CMS education is essential if you want clients to know how to use your product and be satisfied with it long-term. Here are some specific reasons why you need to make good client education practices a priority:

Teach Them to Fish

We all know the adage about giving a man fish versus teaching him to fish himself. There’s a reason that saying gets tossed around so much: because it’s true.

If you teach a client how to use a CMS, they’ll be able to answer their own questions, add content to their website, and solve basic problems. This helps them to feel more empowered, and they won’t have to worry about reaching out to you at all hours of the day and night.

Save Yourself Time

When your clients aren’t contacting you on a constant basis to try and figure out how to handle simple issues with their CMS, this frees you up to work on new projects and focus on bringing in new clients. You won’t have to waste your time putting out fires and taking care of problems that the client should be able to solve on your own.

Ensure Satisfaction

If clients are well-trained when it comes to using their CMS, they’re going to be more likely to be satisfied, overall, with your services.

If they have to contact you on a regular basis to fix problems, they might assume that there’s a problem with the website and CMS they’re using. This, in turn, could turn into negative reviews or a lack of referrals.

To ensure that they’re totally satisfied and willing to recommend you to their friends and colleagues, it’s imperative that you educate your clients on the ins and outs of the CMS.

The Right Way to Provide CMS Training

Clearly, proper CMS education matters. What does it look like, though? Even if you’re not a natural teacher, you can learn how to train clients to use their CMS in an effective and approachable way.

Here are some tips to keep in mind so that you’re able to educate clients as well as you’re able to create great products for them:

Set Up a Meeting

The first thing you need to do when planning the training process for your clients is to set up a meeting.

When you’re getting close to finishing up the CMS for them, reach out and ask them when they want to arrange a time to meet. Let them know that the meeting is important for making sure they understand how to use the CMS and answering any questions they might have.

If you are located close to your client, you might want to arrange to come to their office and educate them on the CMS in-person. If this isn’t possible, use a video conferencing option like Skype or Zoom instead.

It’s best to make the training session as visual as possible. That way, the client can see what you’re doing and have an easier time committing certain actions and approaches to memory.

Learn from Previous Clients

To avoid running into problems when teaching your clients how to use their new CMS, it helps to think about potential issues that may have happened in the past.

Think back on your previous clients and ask yourself what kinds of problems you ran into with them. What questions did they have? What kinds of challenges did they experience afterwards?

Keep the answers to these questions in mind and use them to guide your training materials. This will help you figure out what kinds of frequently asked questions you may need to address, and it’ll be easier for you to anticipate your clients’ needs.

Be as thorough as you can during this reflection process. Remember, the more prep work you do now, the easier the actual training session will be, both for you and for your clients, and the fewer questions you’ll have to field.

Practice Explaining Concepts in Simple Terms

Work on explaining concepts in simple, easy-to-understand language. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming you need to use a lot of jargon to demonstrate your credibility as a web developer.

You’ve created a CMS for your clients; they know you’re smart. What they might not know, though, is how to use the thing you’ve created for them. If you use a lot of languages that go over their heads, they’re going to end up feeling confused and intimidated.

Instead of trying to show off how much you know, think about the simplest way you can explain each concept to your clients.

Pretend they know nothing about web development or using a CMS (because they probably don’t) and let that guide your preparation. Don’t assume that anything is too basic for you to cover because there’s a good chance that what’s obvious to you might be totally foreign to them.

Be Professional Yet Approachable

When you’re explaining to your clients how to use a CMS, make sure you’re professional but still approachable. Dress in appropriate work attire (button-down shirt, slacks, etc.) and make sure your language, while not overly formal, is also not too casual. Remember, this is your client, and they’ve hired you to help them. It’s important to talk the talk while also walk the walk.

Be respectful and friendly and do your best to match the energy in the room (or the energy you’re picking up via video). If the client wants to chat a bit, feel free to chat with them. If they seem as though they want to get down to business, do that and skip the small talk. Remember, if they feel that they get along with you well, they’ll be more inclined to hire you or recommend you to others.

Use Screen Sharing

During the meeting, if you’re not working with the client face-to-face, it’s best if you can share screens with them. This makes it easier for you to walk them through all the steps involved in using their new CMS. It saves them from having to take tons of notes or try and commit everything to memory, too.

Screen sharing is especially useful when you’re training large groups. It helps to keep everyone on the same page and ensures that all members of the team are following along and engaged in the training process. It’s also much more efficient than trying to train everyone individually or leaving it up to one person to try and train the rest of the team later. 

You may even want to consider recording the training session. That way, they’ll always be able to go back and reference it, and there will be less pressure on them to keep track of every single step you’re taking during the training process.

Prepare Training Videos Ahead of Time

Recording a live train is a good option to provide clients with something they can reference later. You may want to take things a step further, though, and create training videos before the training session begins.

You can use these videos to guide the session, or you can deliver them to the client afterwards so that they know they have additional training materials at their disposal. They could also use these videos to train other team members who might not have been able to attend the meeting, as well as those who may be brought on in the future.

When putting together training videos, make sure they’re clear and concise. Remember, keep your language simple and professional. If you’re going to take this approach, you may want to invest in a good microphone. That way, you’ll be able to feel confident in the audio quality and clarity of the videos.

Use Written Resources, Too

In addition to training videos, it might benefit you to put together a training document for your clients. This can go over frequently asked questions and give advice on how to handle common issues that they might face when using the CMS.

When putting together the training document, be sure to include pictures to illustrate different points. Keep it easy-to-read, too. This includes using short sentences and paragraphs, as well as lots of bullet points and clear section headings. The same rules that you abide by when creating web content will serve you well here and save you from dealing with a lot of confused clients.

Instead of printing out a copy of the written training document, consider sending them a digital copy via email. That way, it’ll be easier for clients to search for what they need without having to read through the entire document.

Invite Them to Ask Questions

Some clients have no trouble expressing when they’re confused about something or are having trouble understanding a particular concept. Others have a hard time acknowledging this and need a bit of prompting before they feel that they can ask a question.

To ensure everyone is on the same page as you during and after the training session, ask for questions periodically. After you’ve gone over a topic, take a second to ask if anyone needs clarification or is confused.

It’s especially important to do this after going over topics that tend to confuse clients. Refer to your experience with previous training sessions and let it guide you so that you know when people might need extra assistance.

If you’re working with a group, you might want to give them time to practice working with the CMS on their own. That way, you can go around and help people on an individual basis. This might be more comfortable for them than asking a question in front of the entire team.

Consider a Retainer Period

When you’re creating your contracts, you may want to consider leaving a bit of a cushion for your clients after the training session is complete.

Keep them on retainer for a week or so after you’ve handed off the website and CMS to them. When you do this, they’ll have access to you if they have additional questions, and you won’t feel like you’re being taken advantage of because you’ll have been paid for your time.

Keeping details like this in mind will set you apart from other developers, too, and will be sure to increase your clients’ level of satisfaction with your services.

Stay in Touch

During the retainer period, don’t wait until the client has a problem and comes to you with questions. Consider reaching out every once and a while to see how they’re doing.

Send a friendly email or two asking how they’re liking the new CMS and checking to see if they’re having any issues that you can assist them with. This is a great way to provide top-notch customer service and let your clients know that you are serious about making sure they have a good experience.

Staying in touch also helps you stay at the top of your clients’ minds after you’re finished working with them, too. This, in turn, can help you gain more referrals and continue growing your web development business.

Plan the Proper Drupal CMS Training Today

Now that you know more about the importance of thorough Drupal CMS training, as well as the right way to educate a client of using a new CMS, it’s time to put this information to the test. Keep it in mind as you get ready to hand off a website to a client and you’ll likely find that you have to field fewer questions afterwards.

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