Building — and Keeping — Trust with Imagine Learning - Imagine Learning

February 22, 2023 3:22 pm

Building — and Keeping — Trust with Imagine Learning

Imagine Learning’s customer experience is about much more than just implementing a digital learning program. Discover how our Chief Experience Officer, Leslie Sobon, and her team build partnerships with customers to empower educators and ignite learning breakthroughs.

I enjoy a fantastic position at Imagine Learning — Chief Experience Officer. As an advocate for our customers, one of my missions is to ensure that new features, functions, and implementation processes result in good experiences for our customers. I do that by having a team that deeply understands the many facets of how customers engage and use our products. We know what success looks like and what it doesn’t.

For my team to execute our jobs well, we must build and maintain partnerships with our customers that span their entire journey with us — from presale and onboarding to implementation and product support. We work hard to earn and keep our partners’ trust, putting ourselves in their shoes to celebrate the learning wins and to share the urgency if something goes wrong.

What we hope for in a partner:

The most successful partnerships and those that help us improve our solutions and services are when customers are fully engaged in implementation success. When they commit their precious resources and time, we can bring the full breadth of Imagine Learning…

  • Our resources and our people
  • An understanding of good pedagogy
  • Knowledge of what success looks like in other districts
  • Experience with what works and doesn’t work in implementation

…and the customer is able and willing to own and advocate for it in their learning community. When both sides trust that the other is dedicated and knowledgeable, it’s much easier to hit the ground running, troubleshoot along the way, and build success. In many ways, the partnership’s health matters more than the product working perfectly every time.

“When both sides trust that the other is dedicated and knowledgeable, it’s much easier to hit the ground running, troubleshoot along the way, and build success.”

Building advocacy

Sometimes a school or district doesn’t designate anyone to advocate for our solution, and that’s when my team needs to make better connections and regain their trust.

To develop a stronger relationship, we often connect internally, asking, “What can we do better?” and “Who do we know that cares about this type of implementation?” Sometimes it’s a connection the salesperson has; other times, it’s a customer success manager or a  services person.

Another way we try to bridge the customer-advocate gap is by continuing to touch base with that account regularly, stepping up our engagement until we find the right level for that relationship.

In addition, we’ve developed a program to proactively look at customers who have low usage. We came up with about 65 customers, and we’re working to foster better partnerships by:

  • Meeting with them face-to-face
  • Offering free product training
  • Providing student growth data and other data to show the success of implementations in their state or district
  • Incentivizing our customer success managers

We’re also exploring possibilities for doing more webinars, carving out more dedicated time for those customers, and even showing up for ‘office hours’ in the cafeteria. By determining what works for this set of customers to drive usage, build trust, and grow relationships, we’ll discover new ways to serve more customers better.

Why customers deserve collaborative partnerships

Because: technology.

Our drive for collaborative partnerships matters because we’re not just shipping a textbook and saying, “good luck.” The nature of our solutions — hello digital learning — dictates that we must ensure the technology works for students, teachers, and admins. That only happens if customers understand how the products and solutions work.

When customers don’t understand the product, they don’t use it, and the implementation is poor or fails.  So, it’s Imagine Learning’s responsibility to ensure that knowledge transfer happens — and continues to happen — from our team to the classroom.

We’re in this together

The Imagine Learning/Customer partnership is a relationship; like any relationship, it’s only good if it’s built on trust. Both parties need an understanding, a mutual appreciation for what’s required, and a common goal.

Our partners must be able to trust not only the tech but also the people by their side to respond quickly and be helpful and empathetic. That’s the experience I want my team to bring to educators every day.  

Hear more from our partners

About the Author

Leslie Soban Chief Experience Officer

Leslie Sobon

Chief Experience Officer, Imagine Learning

A veteran of technology marketing, Leslie was drawn to Imagine Learning by the opportunity to make a real difference within the education industry. “Each day, I am overjoyed to see first-hand how Imagine Learning has helped inspire positive change for teachers, students, and families across the nation.”

Before joining the Imagine Learning team, Leslie spent her career building and invigorating brands, launching products, developing innovative marketing models, and helping to drive growth at Texas Instruments and Dell. As Corporate V.P. of Worldwide Marketing at AMD, Leslie led marketing for their mobile, desktop, and server products.