What to Look for in a Customer Education LMS According to an Industry Leader

If you’re looking for a learning management system (or LMS) to train customers, internal sales teams, or other channel partners, you’ve probably realized that you’re looking for a unique feature suite that many vendors don’t provide. Customer education is a specific niche that “generalized LMS solutions” don’t always get right.

Thought Industries is a specialized LMS focusing exclusively on customer education, providing the best tools and user experience for that market. Thought Industries has received numerous accolades for their e-learning solution, including winning Craig Weiss’s Customer Education Bracket two years running and being named a top-75 LMS for 2022 and 2023. Brian Childs is the VP of Product Marketing for Thought Industries, and he recently sat down to discuss his insights into the customer education segment.

What features are must-haves in a customer education LMS?

According to Childs, “LMS buyers should consider a couple of key scoping decisions when evaluating customer education solutions. These relate to the vision of the program they intend to build. ” He continues, “Key attributes that indicate an LMS vendor is built to handle customer education solutions are the ability to handle sales transactions, a customizable public-facing frontend homepage, robust reporting allowing groups of learners to be segmented and analyzed, and integrations with other critical technologies.”

Let’s explore each of these features in further detail:

Multi-Tenant Support

Your LMS solution needs to meet the needs of all of the customers, internal sales teams, and divisions using it. For example, both sales and customers need to learn about your latest software updates, but only the sales team needs to learn responses to objections. Multi-tenancy allows one instance of software to serve multiple customers, giving each group only the information it needs while everything is managed through a centralized hub.

Excellent Customer Support

Your customers might have questions about your LMS and you need to give them reliable answers. You should always ask when agents are available, but “self-serve” resources such as a comprehensive knowledge base and forums can also be a great way to get answers from the community.

Flexible e-Commerce Options

Many organizations sell courses as an extra revenue stream, and a great customer education solution will help facilitate that. You want to be able to sell individual courses, course bundles, and subscription-based training, and offer coupons and discount codes at a bare minimum.

Critical Integration Support

According to Childs, you should ask, “Does the platform have key integrations needed for my tech stack?” Learning a new payment processor or content authoring tool on top of an LMS can make switching more difficult for everyone involved. Childs advises looking for “meaningful integrations with core systems of record such as Salesforce, HubSpot, and RedShift.”


Your courses should reflect your brand, not an LMS vendor’s. Therefore, a great customer education solution will allow you to make all front-facing content look like your brand, complete with logos and color scheme. You should also be able to market courses through dedicated landing pages, not a boring catalog with prices and listings.

Sophisticated Reporting

Every LMS vendor offers some level of reporting, but the number of clicks on a course or whether customer X has passed a particular training isn’t enough. You want actionable insight that can guide strong business decisions, and that means understanding what customers are doing and what their interests are.

Where can I learn more about the customer education market?

Craig Weiss is a thought leader in the e-learning space, and his latest project is designed to help average people learn more about it. His Learning Systems Library provides a wealth of information from his own analysis and third parties like Thought Industries free of charge. Simply click the “Customer Education” tab to get started.

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