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Make Your Customer Training Surveys Customer-Focused

Written by Julia Borgini

Published on July 21, 2017

Training surveys are one of THE most used tools in the customer education manager's toolbox. Surveys can impact everything from course design to facilitator hirings. The problem with most surveys is that they're not used properly. They're too long, go un-answered, don't provide actionable data, or just pile up in someone's desks, never to be used.  

A customer education manager must then ask the question, "Are training surveys worth it anymore?" After all, if they're not giving us sincere data, actionable data, why bother?

It is time to rethink the training survey.

So, how can training managers get sincere, actionable data from customers?

It starts with three key questions:

  • What do you hope to achieve by having people complete this form?

  • What actions do you plan to take based on the data you collect?

  • How will you use each question to make future trainings better?

These three questions help you keep your evaluations goal-oriented because you'll understand why you're collecting the data. The goals will help you stay on track with your training evaluations and gather actionable data from your attendees.

Okay, now what?

These three questions will help training managers pick an evaluation method that works best for them, help them develop the questionnaire itself, and determine how they use the information they gather from the evaluations.

Become more customer-focused in evaluations

Some training managers have proposed using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) for training evaluations since it is a customer-focused scoring method. Training should be customer-focused too, so it makes sense to use it for training evaluations.

The NPS method is good in part because it's short and sweet. Ideally, it's a question like "Based on your training experience, how likely are you to recommend this training course to a friend or colleague?" Then you could also give them a chance to explain their score, but it's not necessary. And that's it.

Shorter evaluations typically get a higher response rate, plus by asking a follow-up question you give respondents a chance to get specific about the score they gave. This will show what you're doing well and the gaps that may exist in your program, with your facilitator, and more.

Should you stop evaluating entirely?

There are also some radical training managers out there who propose eliminating the training evaluation entirely. That's mainly because their evaluation efforts weren't tied to specific training or business goals, so the data they were collecting wasn't useful to them.

Give your training evaluations a change

Training surveys and evaluations are still the best way to figure out exactly what your customers want, but they're not always the best way to figure out what they need. Expand your evaluation foundation to include input from cross-functional teams and analyze your existing data through a different perspective and you'll create more meaningful evaluations for them. Turn the evaluation spotlight back on your customers, and you'll get more sincere data back from them.

Originally published Jul 21, 2017 1:00:00 PM, updated Jul 21, 2017