Welcome to this edition of our monthly Business Performance newsletter. We also extend a warm thank you to our new subscribers joining us for the first time. In this month's newsletter we continue our popular Q & A section. Our first question comes from a business owner struggling to find out what their customers really think of their products and services. The second question is asked by a manager wanting to know who is to blame when training participant's fail to use their newly learned skills on the job. We think the answer will surprise you.
Stay Up to Date
Keep up with all of the latest news and commentary by regularly visiting our Business Performance blog. Check out two of our recent blog posts on employee relations. Whilst you are there, why not hop in and join the discussion?
- Bullying Behavior – What Can I Do?
We recently blogged about a new report exposing the endemic nature of bullying in the workplace. In this post, we share some strategies for what you can do about it if you are on the receiving end or are supporting others coping with abusive behavior.
- Managers Need To Improve Communication Skills: Study Reveals
Are you surprised to learn that two in three employees fail to grasp their organization's vision? Poor communication continues to be a roadblock to improved employee performance. Read more about the latest report on communication in the workplace.
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Do you want to find out more about building a positive communication culture in your workplace? Get Jennifer McCoy's practical guide, 2 Way Feedback, today. This compact e-book is packed with strategies for building trust and creating a high performance environment in your workplace. Used successfully by business owners, team leaders and managers, use it at all levels of your organization. Find out more about 2 Way Feedback and download today.
How can I get useful feedback from customers?
How can I get a picture of how my customers view my services? I have no idea of whether I'm doing the right or wrong things in the eyes of my customers. What is the best method of getting feedback from them?
Getting caught up in the minutiae of running your business can leave you out of touch with your customers. This is especially so with running an online business where you don't get face to face with customers. You may even find you have very infrequent telephone contact with them. When you only hear from your customers when something goes wrong, it can be a real challenge to find out what most of your customers really think of your products and services.
Here are three options for eliciting valuable feedback from your customers. Option 1 is to send out a survey to customers via email, asking questions about how they find your products and services. Keep the survey short and to the point. The longer your survey, the lower will be the response rate. Another alternative is to set up your customer survey on a third party survey site such as SurveyMonkey at www.surveymonkey.com. Once set up, send the survey hyperlink to your customers via email.
Option 2 is to note in a central repository each customer issue as it arises. The repository can be a database or spreadsheet. However you store the information, make sure it is easily accessible to your employees. Train your employees to record customer issues all through the buying cycle, from pre-purchase to after sales service. Then once per month categorize and analyze the issues to see which are the most actionable and worth fixing. Use the Pareto Principle to identify the small number of recurring issues that are costing you the most in lost customers and revenue.
Whereas Option 2 asks you to be passive, waiting for a customer to complain, Option 3 is more proactive. With this option, encourage your customers to give you feedback at the point of contact. Make it easy for them by posting a customer feedback form on your website that is accessible from any other web page. Put a pack of simple feedback forms on your service counter and ask your customers to fill one out. Get your service people to elicit feedback at the end of each service job. With the information you gather, update your products and services to better meet your customers' requirements. Also, use the data collected to update your information flyers and the FAQ page on your website.
As you can see, you have a number of options for gathering valuable customer feedback. Use a method that fits in well with your operations. And why use just one? Use a combination of options to get comprehensive, accurate and free flowing information from your purchasers. And then watch your business thrive on delighted customers.
Whose fault is poor learning transfer to the job?
A lot of an organization's resources go into training employees. In addition, they take time out to attend the sessions. All too often, though, employees don't use the new skills back on the job. Is this the fault of the learner, the trainer, the manager, the training department, or someone else?
There are multiple stakeholders in any given training program, all with a stake in the outcome. These key stakeholders can include program participants, the executive, managers, instructional designers and trainers. Here's the pinch. They are all responsible for delivering a result. So, it doesn't serve anyone's purpose to lay blame with any particular stakeholder. Pointing the finger does not help create a better system and, in any case, breakdowns in the system are usually at multiple points.
A key benefit in using Donald Kirkpatrick's Four Level model of evaluation is that it gives us a simple but very powerful tool for diagnosing (and preventing) where the breakdowns lie. The model prompts the following helpful questions:
- Were the organizational objectives for the training clear in the first place?
- Are there transfer systems in place to assist participants apply the learning to their job?
- How much of the new knowledge and skills was actually learned during the program?
- Was the training environment conducive to learning?
In introducing the Kirkpatrick model up front, trainers can start to influence the key stakeholders in recognizing that training does not work by magic. It takes a concerted and systematic effort by all stakeholders to ensure that the training program leads to worthwhile results.
If you have a question that you would like answered, send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you wanting to get more impact from your learning and development programs? Check out our comprehensive "how to" guide and toolkit, From Training to Enhanced Workplace Performance Learn proven strategies and techniques for finding performance roadblocks, aligning training to real needs, developing training partnerships, engaging learners and demonstrating bottom-line impact. Download today!
Free Training Tracker Upgrade Out Now
The latest version of Training Tracker is out now. This version is a critical update to Version 2.0 released in April last year. Included in this update are fixes for one critical and two non-critical bugs. We have also added two new manager reports to the list of auto-generated click'n'go reports. The two new reports are Training Activity by Group and Training Activity by Role.
If you have previously purchased Training Tracker Version 1.0 or later, you can obtain a free update to the latest version. Simply send proof of purchase to email@example.com and we will promptly send you Version 2.11 to your email address.
Did you know that you can try Training Tracker before you buy? Download today the free demo version from the Training Tracker product web page. Simply go to the Free Downloads! section and click the download button.
In fact, many of our products feature a demo of some sort. Download the free introductory chapters to our e-books and toolkits. Simply visit the product's web page and look for the Free Downloads! section. If you have a question, we encourage you to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org We answer most queries within 24 hours.
Visit our web site at www.businessperform.com for lots of expert guidance and practical tools designed to help you get ahead of your competition. Also, be sure to pass this newsletter on to friends and colleagues who want to stay up with what's on. From all of us here on the Business Performance team, we wish you a productive month and look forward to communicating with you again soon.