Delivery of training can be divided into two areas:

  • Managing the customer
  • Managing the event.

Managing the customer includes all the work from the point of enquiry or booking through to sending evaluation forms or providing examination results.

Managing the event is the work to ensure that the course logistics are organised: pricing, trainer, venue, catering and scheduling. While these areas are linked they can be managed separately, even by different people.

Managing the customer is perhaps the most time consuming and risk prone activity of all. There is a balance between too much communication, ie, pestering the customer, and not enough, eg, the sale is lost. CourseSales.com best practise says that giving the customer information that is timely, and available with minimal effort is the best way to keep customers informed. Often customers will initiate the communication in their own time if they know that there is a mechanism to do so. Things that we have implemented which help the customer moderate our communication with them include:

  • Providing downloadable course outlines that are a maximum of 2 pages in length
  • Publishing on our website the mode of learning, e.g. long distance learning, instructor led, or computer based
  • Publishing on our website the format of the course, e.g. 5 continuous days, split over a weekend, first Tuesday of each month
  • Gathering information only as necessary, e.g. enquiries require just name and email address, bookings with material to be sent in advance require a delivery address, free events do not require invoice details
  • A personalised, automatic email is sent to the customer confirming the place, attaching their booking form and reminding them of payment (if it has not yet been made)
  • Communication is only sent via email unless the customer phones us (which is rare) or if something exceptional happens like a course is cancelled, they wish to cancel or they wish to transfer (which is also rare)

This means that 50-60% of our customers do not receive phone calls or talk to us until they attend the training course. What do customers think about this? With few exceptions they love it.

The main thing they love is that they are not sold to, which is a assumption most have when a phone call is made, even though we do not have a hard sales ethos, preferring word of mouth instead of sales calls. Automated email communication reduces distractions to our office: allowing administration staff to focus on providing excellent customer service when it is needed by demanding customers.

The second part of course management is “Managing the course”. Once suppliers are confirmed and venues are locked in it is less time consuming however it is no less important, and often is what the customer will remember and talk to future customers about (isn't food just the most important thing on a course!). Things that we do to ensure the management of the course is smooth includes:

  • Including specific details about where a course is located
  • Publishing on our website the course description - as a download and as an HTML page
  • Email trainers to confirm that the course will proceed
  • Giving trainers online access to the attending customers list prior to the event, with delegate phone numbers, dietary preferences and final numbers
  • Email venue organisers to inform them of dietary preferences and to confirm final numbers on the course
  • Allow pricing to be modified in various ways, e.g. discounted last minute, discounted for early bird courses, discounted with prices increasing each week,
  • Record capacity of course and number of customers booked: deriving the availability from these figures and displaying an icon to indicate those courses with few places and those wait-listed

- Scott Spence
CEO CC Learning