1. Get amongst it
Simply take five minutes to read this blog. Then take another five and implement one of the many suggestions below. You will be 10 minutes older and your RTO will be better off than if you had spent it looking at cat memes. This industry is CONSTANTLY changing. With what feels like a new discussion paper or draft standard dropped on us each week or month it is important that you take the time to stay up to date. This can be as simple as perusing a quarterly magazine, looking up the latest from your regulator or reading a VET based blog post (woohoo you’re doing it!). Staying up to date doesn’t mean spending hours curating the largest collection of VET articles to read during every spare moment you have, instead focus on reading important and relevant articles and papers that will impact your RTO. Take action:
- Sign up to receive newsletters from your industry – these could be based in VET or the industry you train in.
- Join a LinkedIn group and read their discussions. This is a great resource not only for maintaining your industry knowledge but also for networking with likeminded professionals.
- Start a discussion in a LinkedIn group. Do you have a burning question? A new perspective? Want to share an article?
2. Shine your digital footprint
I’m a big believer in checking out a business online before giving them my money. If a friend suggests going to a new restaurant you know that I am on their Facebook page scrolling through their updates before the reservation is set. I wanted to know if I am just a super stalker or if this is common practice –it turns out that up to 81% of consumers will conduct research online before a big purchase. One of the biggest factors of my research is looking through the businesses social media accounts (if they have them) and seeing how they respond to customers. This is a great indication of what to expect both during the transaction and post-purchase. This means I can get a fairly good idea of how the company rates – if the restaurant has a bunch of negative reviews and next to no online customer service you bet that I won’t be going there tonight. The same rings true when a customer is choosing which RTO to complete their training with – make sure your RTO’s online image compels the learner to sign up. Take action
- Find all your social media accounts and look at them like you are a potential customer. Is your branding consistent? Are there reviews or testimonials from past clients? Are they positive? What is your message? Does it compel you to reach out?
- Read through the “About Us” and “FAQ” sections on your website. Do they read well? Do they answer common questions? Would a potential learner be compelled to reach out? Would a potential learner (or their employer) feel comfortable trusting and working with you?
- Google your company to see what results turn up. Now turn on incognito to see if the results change based on your browsing history (find out how here: http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch001378.htm). This is what your customer will see when they search for you.
3. Know what they know
“Most importantly, if you’re going to ask (for feedback), be ready to change.”
- David Maister
Your greatest asset is your customer. They will either be complimenting or complaining to their friends about your services – wouldn’t you prefer to know which it is. And if the training was part of their job, what are they saying to their boss or supervisor? One of the greatest ways to ensure that your products and offerings are resonating with your learners is to simply ask them. Seeking and implementing feedback should be an integral part of your RTO’s processes – not just to fulfill a requirement but as a tool put towards a genuine interest in improving your learner’s experience. A set of simple surveys sent out to your learners at various stages during their time with you can be extremely useful. Online tools like surveymonkey (find more here: http://whinot.com/blog/2012/4-online-survey-tools-which-one-is-best-for-you/) almost make it too easy to seek feedback. This blog here even outlines 10 rules for creating valuable customer surveys: http://www.helpscout.net/blog/customer-survey/. Take action:
- Create a short survey designed to send to learners when they have finished their studies with you.
- If you already gather feedback: review the way that you currently collect feedback. Is there a better way? What sort of completion rates are you getting? How can you improve this?
You made it all the way to the end? Your first five minute block was super productive – here is a cat meme anyway (you deserve it): Let us know what other short, sharp actions you can take to help your RTO in the comments section below.