What does a smart learning customer look like?

By Rob MacAllister

5 minute read

There is a perfect customer. One that’s poised for change and has the structures in place to make it happen. But they’re rare. And that’s one of the reasons that companies like Filtered have customer success teams. It’s not simple to bring in a smart LXP, but it’s the Success team’s job to make it feel that way.

It’s also our job to align how a client works with the template of the perfect customer. Or working out solutions when they’re different. Within this, there’s a lot of room for individuality - every company has different needs and it would be counterproductive to shove them all into the same box.

However, from our experience, we’ve found recurring features that mark out companies and learning teams that get the best out of learning experience platforms. This list is useful for both learning leaders and providers because it shows what the perfect conditions are within a company to make digital learning deliver.

4 golden criteria that separate the best from the rest 

Learning goals tethered to strategy 

Businesses that want to learn for the sake of it are rarely successful. The ones that work have a clear aim - they bought the LXP to align with a business initiative. They shouldn’t just want to upskill, they need to ask themselves “why?”

If learning goals are tied to a specific business strategy it’s far easier to agree on effective skills frameworks and content tags. This, in turn, makes the learning you put in front of your people more productised and targeted.

Learning initiatives are also more likely to inspire engagement and buy-in at multiple levels of an organisation if there’s a tangible business goal to reach.

Accountable success metrics

There also needs to be a way to measure success. Sometimes it can be as simple as “I want this learning to improve X person’s sales by 10%”. But it’s not always easy to quantify learning results.

Even if the results aren’t just numbers (and numbers rarely tell the whole picture with learning) there are other ways to measure whether your learning initiative is making a difference.

By benchmarking a set of skills and having a process in place (even just weekly individual check-ins) companies can create a system of accountability around set goals. This makes it easier to measure the business impact an LXP is having, which helps learning departments sell it to higher levels of the business. It also gives us the data to constantly adjust for the greatest impact.


Of course having a big budget smooths the way for learning departments. They have more influence and can set bigger initiatives in motion.

However, what’s just as important - and can mitigate even a limited budget - is communication capability. If learning departments have the right connections, and the means to communicate en masse, they can wield influence organically without having to spend.

The best suited departments for digital learning are those that can directly communicate with the business without having to check in with marketing/comms teams. Or if they do, they have a great relationship with them.

Being able to send regular, company wide emails, without unnecessary delays allows learning departments to efficiently respond to changing external circumstances, as well as their learners’ needs. This flexibility is best compatible with the agility an LXP provides.

Other communications software is a good sign. If learning departments have a presence on instant communications platforms like Slack or MS Teams, we can help them conduct multi-channel nudge campaigns to amplify engagement. And, they’re fertile ground for flow-of-work integrations.

We’ve found that learning departments in enterprise companies need relationships to spread learning far enough to make an impact. If a centralised learning department based in the UK wants to launch an initiative in Egypt, the learning manager must have a good relationship with the leader in Egypt for it to get off the ground. In a more digitised environment, personal connections are as much of a factor as geography.

CEO buy-in

If a leading part of the business is invested in a learning initiative, a lot of stumbling blocks disappear. Learning departments often find it hard to get engagement with their communications. This is less likely when the CEO’s name is attached.

Equally, there’s no better way to ensure that learning is aligned with business objectives, or that learning initiatives are well funded. Culturally, having a CEO vocally on-board with learning makes people think twice before putting it aside for more immediately pressing tasks.

Other key characteristics

A pre-existing culture of continuous learning

The key shift from the LMS to the LXP was from top-down to bottom-up learning. While our LXP aligns with a change initiative, it’s still people that drive that change. So, a company with a culture of compliance will find it difficult to adapt to the more flexible LXP format.

A lot of businesses are in the process of moving to a bottom-up learning approach and remote working has strengthened those efforts. Higher individual autonomy and a greater reliance on platforms have given a pretext for more user directed learning.

However, we are an AI-driven, non-static platform. Businesses with a rigid mindset based on online courses will find it difficult to implement a smart LXP because they’re not accustomed to that type of learning. Instead, businesses that explicitly draw connections between personal growth and business improvement are the most successful in powering a continuous learning culture.

A foundation of trusted content

Although our algorithms are the best at picking out the best content, they have to work with what’s already there. As do other LXPs. So, if a client relies on content from questionable sources that’s full of distracting adverts, the user experience of the LXP is undermined.

Some types of content work better than others. We’ve found that client-generated assets attract twice as much engagement as any other type of content. Equally, content from reputable sources has a better track record for user experience and, therefore, sustained engagement.

Leading from the front


Learning champions

Working with clients, one of the most successful ways we’ve found to make an LXP launch stick is to use learning champions. We do this in two stages.

The first includes a group of senior champions who take part in a pre-alpha test. They use the platform and discuss with us their impressions of how it could best be implemented in their business. As it is launched, they use their personal relationships and standing within the business to support the LXP. We’ve found this organic approach is effective in driving initial adoption.

The second group comes into play as the platform is launched. These volunteer alpha testers help us generate an internal case study. This, firstly, gives us real-usage data to further tailor the platform to the business. It also provides social proof of the platform’s effectiveness, which we’ve found is a defining factor in whether a platform takes off.


Leveraging data analytics

The more data you measure from a learning platform, the more likely you are to guarantee success. If the learning leaders we work with understand how powerful analysis can be, we can shed more light on all the factors that affect how successful the platform is, and how much money you spend on content. Even better if there are processes already in place to leverage data insights in L&D.

Learning leaders we work with don’t need to be data experts (our platform and success team makes the data accessible). But it helps if they appreciate the new role data is playing in learning.

Awareness of digital marketing techniques

We’ve written in the past about how learning needs to reappropriate digital marketing methods to combat low engagement levels. L&D departments that have an understanding of these methods, and the infrastructure in place to apply them are more likely to get the big splash and sustained engagement a new learning platform needs.

In practice...

Businesses we work with don’t need to have all or any of these features. The role of customer success is to make the LXP work whatever the business landscape looks like. However, this checklist is a good approximation of how an LXP-primed business looks.

And these criteria are changing. In the next 5 years data analysis capabilities are going to be catapulted upwards as more data becomes available and AI helps us get more out of it.

For now, whether your business looks like the perfect customer or you want to build the capabilities to get there - why not have a chat with our friendly team to learn how the Filtered smart LXP could help your business transform:

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