Creating the Complete Learning Experience
Creating the Complete Learning Experience
How you think you are delivering a service is one thing, how customers experience it is quite another.
We know that service delivery and quality need to be of the highest standard, and that this should be a ‘given’. In fact, most providers of a service will continually remind us that they do this consistently and it is what sets them apart from the competition.
But we also hear sayings like ‘under promise and over deliver’ – perhaps what we really should say is ‘deliver on your promises as a minimum!’ Surely this is a much more positive statement and doesn’t imply that we need to spend a lot of time managing expectations, in case we are not particularly good at what we do?
What about the customer is king. Are they always right? What if they are costing you money and are not a good fit with your culture? Then surely this is a potentially flawed relationship, which will do more damage than good.
When we set out to deliver a product or service to a customer, what do we monitor? Do we think about the end to end interaction that a customer or potential customer will have with our organisation? Or do we only think about the single element that we personally provide?
Do we consider the whole customer experience and what it might be like to be the recipient of said experience? Do we step into our customers’ shoes and ask “what would I like the experience to be, if I were to buy and use this product or service?”
Chris Daffy makes reference to this whole customer experience in his great book “How to Wow Your Customers”.
Imagine that for a moment, you wanted to learn something. Your role indicates that there are some gaps in your personal development and skills map. What might you consider as the best way to close the gap and gain a valuable experience that would make you a more effective employee?
For me I like interactivity and trying things out, so I might look for a programme that offered on-the-job experience, a mentor and a workshop that was off the wall and a little different. I am also rather addicted to the digital world, where I can tune in for an interactive webinar or Google hangout and try out ideas through an online portal. But nothing comes close to talking through my issues or ideas with a fellow human and that works for me – either face to face or online.
What would spoil my experience is if my internet went down, if there were people on my workshop who clearly did not want to be there and disrupted everything, poor quality materials, if I wasn’t listened to, if there wasn’t any water, if it was too cold or too hot, if I was not sent the right information, or given clear instructions, a phone call or email to make sure everything was ok and some kind of follow up. There are other things that might frustrate me, which wouldn’t annoy you and vice versa.
Am I unusual? Not particularly. The point I am making is that unless I ask and think hard about what would give me a good experience, it is difficult to design such an experience for others – one that is equally enjoyable and memorable.
Experiences are not rational, they are subjective, they are about emotions and feelings and they vary from person to person based on their personal map of the world. Like it or not, you and me….we… are emotional beings, and at our core ‘how’ we feel is paramount to us having a great experience.
The question to ask then is how can we factor this into the learning experience? What emotions might add the most value? What emotions should we focus on? Here are some of the things that we have been discussing at Thinking Performers HQ…..
Consider what kind of emotional organisation we are
By this I mean, there will be something about the way that we are as a business, the way our team feel about us, the way that we do business and the way that our brand is perceived. When we looked around, we saw happy people with high integrity and respect for others.
Forget ‘just process’
Generally workshop or coaching design looks at the running order, which models to use and techniques to introduce, and that makes sense, because without a plan how can we know where the programme is going or what the learning outcomes will be?
We now need to overlay the process map with an emotional map? Just the meeting and greeting of a delegate can set the experience for the day. How we address them, how we interact with them, how we respond to them and build synergy. This can’t be faked – you need congruence between the inner and outer self
Do something unexpected BUT PLEASANT
I don’t mean that we turn up to a training day dressed in our favourite fancy dress outfit, I mean those little touches like ‘let me get you a coffee’.
Put yourself in another’s shoes
Instead of following protocol, we try to imagine or feel what the other person is experiencing and help them out, possibly taking the time to talk over lunch or after a session. The key thing is that it needs to be ‘valued’ by the other person – this also implies that we need to get to know them, so that we can identify ‘value’ from their perspective.
Empower everyone to act
This is about allowing the team to just do whatever needs to be done in that moment. There is a fantastic story that demonstrates this.
Read all about tiger bread being renamed to giraffe bread after three year old Lily wrote to ask Sainsbury’s about it. http://j-sainsbury.co.uk/giraffebread.
Don’t pass the buck
There is nothing in our job descriptions that says “this is what you do and that’s all”. If one of the team at Thinking Performers needs some help, it’s all about pulling together and making sure the job gets done.
Coach, mentor and facilitate what you love
We ask our coaches, mentors and facilitators to tell us what they love to deliver, what they are passionate about and how anything we deliver could be improved. In this way our customers get to work with some great people who really want to inspire their learners.
Learning is a journey and an adventure. We see ourselves as tour guides with a difference. We will challenge you, encourage you to try things and reward your efforts and the energy you put in. We give you space to learn your way and at your pace.
The bottom line is that the perfect learning environment will differ from learner to learner and our role as skilled designers, facilitators and coaches is to ensure that we are emotionally intelligent and intuitively connected to our learners needs. The keys are to accept that each learner is unique, that everyone’s map of the world is different, to consider how we would like to be treated, how we learn as individuals and to then go one step beyond and make it an emotionally fulfilling experience.
What would make the perfect learning experience for you?