In an age when just about every industry has been digitised, especially within the realm of training provision, why is paper still the “go to” tool of choice to collect training feedback? Here are five issues with this approach:
Digital feedback systems allow your delegates to submit their feedback, in confidence, and you can gather ALL the information you need to evaluate the performance of courses you have commissioned, and of the educators who have delivered the training.
Aside from the obvious conservation element, paper forms have to be printed, collated and distributed (which takes time and costs money). Online forms accurately collect and collate every piece of information the student shares with pre-built analysis available for you to view as soon as the feedback has been uploaded. You can respond to the good, the bad, the ugly in a timely manner.
Online feedback systems enable you to track, in real time, the effectiveness of your learning programs whilst reducing the amount of time and money spent understanding delegate experience, all whilst adding to your green credentials. Training feedback definitely benefits from a digital touch.
Like most training providers, you probably already collect feedback from everyone you train. Perhaps you use paper forms or a web-based survey tool. Either way, the good news is that if the feedback you collect is generally positive, you own a potentially very valuable asset.
In our personal lives, reviews have been an essential part of decision-making for many years. And this is now becoming the norm for many business decisions too. In the ‘olden’ days, you could create a brand by spending (a lot of) money on creating an image of yourself that reflected the way you wanted to be perceived. But social media has changed all that.
These days, a brand is determined far more by the way that you’re seen to interact with your customers. The reality is that people care less about what you say about yourself; and more about what other people say about you. The voice of the company is being drowned out by the voice of its customers; and the most successful companies are those that fully acknowledge this, and join in the conversation.
You may well have glowing testimonials on your website but the problem with this approach is that prospective customers know that the reviews have been hand-picked by you; and that significantly reduces their effectiveness. For it to be credible, people want to see a complete picture of all the feedback you get; and they want to see it on an independent website.
Negative feedback can be good for your business! Since the purpose of showing off your feedback is to provide reassurance to potential customers, you might think that showing off negative feedback would be counter-productive. But it’s not the case. In fact there’s evidence that if all your reviews are five star, people actually become suspicious. What they want to see is that you generally do a great job; and that when things occasionally go wrong, that you handle it well. Showing how you responded when something went wrong can actually be more beneficial than if the problem had never occurred in the first place.
The other key benefit of online reviews, is their effect on search engine results. Search engines can recognize reviews for what they are, and this form of content is ranked higher than other content because of its perceived value to people searching. Google automatically adds Google stars to search results based on reviews, which helps them stand out. Better still, according to Google, people clicking on search results that feature stars, are three times more likely to make a purchase.
In conclusion: if you know your customers generally say positive things about you, then you should make the most of this valuable asset. Handled correctly, reviews can be an extremely powerful marketing tool and drive measurable business benefits.
When it comes to soliciting feedback, there are two key reasons for doing everything you can to maximise your response rates. Firstly, when it comes to assessing the quality of the training that you deliver, you need to have sufficient data to be able to draw meaningful conclusions. And secondly, from an SEO perspective, the more often that reviews are being added, the better.
The way to maximise your response rates will be different, depending on the type of training you offer. If your training facilities are equipped with internet-connected devices, then ask your learners to submit their feedback on Coursecheck before they leave the room. Whilst this may not result in the most insightful comments, it will guarantee the highest response rates. If your approach is to send out a post-course email with a link to Coursecheck, then we suggest the following:
If you’re a business that actively solicits feedback from your customers, then it’s important to formulate a strategy for how to respond to what your customers are telling you. When a potential new customer is considering buying your services, they are increasingly influenced by what they read about you from your existing customers. But they do want to hear both sides of the story. Not only does responding show that you do actually read what people say, which in itself says something about you. But it also gives you a chance to acknowledge positive comments and address head-on any negative sentiment.
Responding to reviews – especially on a public website where your words are likely to be read by a wider audience – is quite a skill. So here are six tips.
Encouraging people to submit reviews about your training courses on an independent website, can be a bit like doing a bungee jump. It’s exciting but there’s the fear of not being in control and it feels risky.
The good news is that you don't have to perfect and if you know you run good courses and you generally get good feedback, then you have nothing to fear. The benefits or using an independent reviews website can be considerable but not all reviews sites are the same so here are six things to consider when choosing one:
When it comes to reviews websites, trust is everything. So what steps does the site take to ensure that all reviews are genuine and where a review breaches the site’s rules, how is this dealt with, and how promptly. And what about confidentiality? Make sure you know who owns the data that’s being collected, how securely it's being stored, what rights each party has to use the data and what happens if you stop using the site.
Search engines like reviews because they perceive them as authentic and rate them higher than other forms of content. But reviews on their own, will not guarantee you a place on the first page of any search results. People search for courses using key words so to be effective, it’s essential that reviews be displayed alongside a full description of the relevant course. The SEO benefits can be significant and not something to miss out on.
Social media can be hard to control but we all know how powerful it can be. So having submitted a review, make sure it’s easy for learners to share their comments on social media without having to create a new post from scratch. And make sure that it’s easy for you to track what’s being said and by whom.
In the event of a negative comment – or indeed an extremely positive one, it’s important that you have the ability to respond promptly and publicly with a carefully worded comment of your own. Time is of the essence so there should be a means of alerting you to any feedback that might require a response.
If you’re getting positive feedback on an independent reviews website, then you’re going to want to make the most of it by integrating it into your own website. Check how easy that is to do, and if there’s a particular course you want to promote, then you’ll want to be able to filter the reviews so that only reviews about that particular course are displayed.
Like many training providers, you probably already collect feedback from everyone you train. But if you can configure the survey form on the reviews website, then you may find you can kill two birds with one stone and adopt it as your primary customer survey tool. You will probably want to ask some questions that might not be appropriate for a public website so it’s important to know whether you can control what gets published and what doesn’t.
In spite of all the recent publicity around fake reviews, many of us wouldn’t dream of booking a hotel without first consulting TripAdvisor. Yet when it comes B2B businesses, there’s a commonly held belief that a modern looking website with a few good customer testimonials, is all you really need. For B2B businesses, especially those selling packaged products and services, here are five reasons to take reviews seriously.
You may well have glowing testimonials on your website but prospective customers know they’ve been hand-picked by you; and that significantly reduces their effectiveness. If you really want to prove how good you are, you need to show people a complete picture of all the feedback you get; and preferably on an independent website.
Search engines love reviews. This is because of their perceived authenticity and the way they’re trusted by people searching. Google goes a step further and automatically adds Google stars to review-based search results, which is great for making them stand out. Better still, according to research by Google, people clicking on search results with stars, are three times more likely to go on to make a purchase.
In the ‘olden’ days, you could create a brand by spending (a lot of) money creating an image of yourself that reflected the way you wanted to be perceived. But reviews and social media have changed all that. These days, a brand is determined far more by the way you’re seen to interact with your customers. Successful companies understand this and support environments where their customers can share their experiences and be heard by everyone.
Since the purpose of showing off feedback is to provide reassurance to potential customers, you might think that publicising negative feedback would be counter-productive. But it’s not the case. People understand that nobody’s perfect and online reviews are a great way to show that you know how to put things right when you need to. In fact, showing how you responded in those situations can actually leave your customers with a better perception of you, than if the problem had never occurred in the first place.
It’s no coincidence that so many successful technology-based products and services are based on ideas that are already well established in people’s personal lives. And so it is with reviews and ratings. Like many people “of a certain age”, I didn’t grow up with them but Millenials have never known any different and are now in decision-making roles where there’s a natural tendency for them to make purchasing decisions just like they do in their personal lives.
If you know your customers generally say positive things about you, then you should make the most of this valuable asset. Handled correctly, reviews can be an extremely powerful marketing tool, highlight where you could improve, and drive measurable business benefits.