Providing the tools you need to get the very best out of your training business
7 Ways to Use Feedback to Enhance Courses and Boost Your Business
‘It’s all part of the learning curve.’ How many times have you heard that? And how many times does that curve descent into a flat-line because someone in your organisation failed to take into account precisely what it was that was learnt in the first place?
We’ve always believed in the importance of feedback – we regularly undertake customer surveys to see how we measure up and where we can improve (and there’s always room for improvement, no matter who you are).
Of course, there’s much more to this than self-development; as you know, feedback offers an opportunity to refine your customer’s experience and grow your business. Here’s how to make the most of your feedback, whether compliments or complaints…
Seek patterns and look at the bigger picture
We’re naturally hard-wired to look for patterns, so this one should be fairly straightforward. Don’t rely on a small sample to assess how you’re getting on; hunt down that over-arching narrative - this way, you’ll gain a much clearer idea of what learners think. One or two bad comments over the course of a year may mean nothing, but if those comments come up week in and week out, it’s time to take action.
See the positive in the negative
If someone has taken the time to respond to your feedback form, that means they care. They might be over-the-moon, or they might be seething with rage, but they still care about their experiences with you. So while it may hurt to read negative comments, don’t take it personally. Instead, delve into their feedback to find out what they’re really frustrated about. Hidden between the lines, there will be a glimmer of positivity – they want you to provide the service they expected.
Ask for feedback swiftly, and follow-up
It’s vital that you look for feedback as soon as possible, while the course experience is still fresh in your learners’ minds. And rather than forgetting about it if they don’t get back to you, chase them. If you’re still using printed happy sheets, that may be time-consuming, but automated feedback forms ease that burden.
Our training management system automates feedback forms, sending them out online with follow-up reminders for learners to fill them in. The real benefit of online feedback is that learners can take the time to really think about your course, without filling it in on auto-pilot or giving you the answers they think you want to hear. Which leads us to…
Encourage further thinking (and honesty)
You know what would be easy? Asking questions like ‘Did you enjoy our course? a) Yes or b) Absolutely.’ But these sort of questions are about as useful as a snorkel on the moon. It’s impossible to nurture your business if you’re not taking on-board honest feedback, or if you’re forcing learners to answer in a certain way (no matter how good it feels to get it). Instead, to really make the most out of your feedback, stick to open-ended questions that force learners to consider why they feel the way they do about your course. You’re learning from your learners here. They know what the course is really like, not how it’s supposed to be.
Measure performance against objectives
What are you hoping to get out of customer feedback? Probably you want to see what areas of your business are working, and which needs improvement. Because a better course experience means more learners and repeat bookings with your company. If your overall business objective is to get more repeat bookings or to expand course selection, then study what your learners are saying about such matters, and how your current performance might impact on those goals.
Own your feedback. All of it
Don’t shy away from your feedback. Own it. Create content about it. Write blogs about it. Create infographics about it. Highlight it on your social networks and showcase the very best comments to your staff to boost morale and increase their own productivity. You could even tell others about the very worst feedback you’ve received, so long as that feedback has actually changed you, your employees or your company ethos. When your courses have dramatically changed for the better based on solid feedback, then customers are going to see a company that cares about learner experience. And that leads to…
Show ‘em you value their opinions – get in touch
On social media, it’s a given that you should respond to comments – negative and positive – but how often do you hear back from companies once you’ve completed feedback online? Everyone has opinions, and everyone wants their opinions valued.
This is a prime area to create some brand loyalty and, by extension, future bookings. If someone’s had a poor experience (or even a great one) on one of your courses, get in touch. Find out more. Let them know that not only do you care, but that you’re actively listening and learning from them.
The only cardinal sin of collecting feedback is to pretend it doesn’t exist.
It’s easy to treat it as a mind-numbing administrative exercise to be filed away and never looked at it again, or worse, dismiss the results out of hand. But the benefits of embracing the thoughts, feelings and concerns of your learners are limitless.
Want to discuss your training management software needs with the company awarded 5 Compliance Plus in Customer Service Excellence? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with our team or book your free demo today.
Other resources you will find useful: