Our customers’ success is our success. If we’re not producing meaningful results for our customers, then it’s unlikely they’ll stay a customer for long. Being a Software As A Service (SAAS) based learning solution, we could focus on a vanity metric such as customer acquisition; get as many customers onboard as possible and hope we survive the inevitable churn rate. In our eyes, this is a terrible idea.
We want to produce long-term value for our customers. And one of the best ways for us to know if we’re delivering value is our renewal rate. If a customer doesn’t renew, then it’s likely we haven’t created value.
So how do we create value and set our customers up for success with Yarno?
We ensure that we understand the need we’re solving and how we’ll know when we’ve solved it.
We begin every new engagement with a learning analysis. We think of it as a crash course in a customer’s business. We imagine ourselves as new employees, turning up for our first day at a new job, with lots of questions and an open mind.
Firstly we want to understand what problem we’re solving. One of the most deceptively dangerous reasons for taking on Yarno is that the technology looks cool, it’s innovative etc. I’m not saying Yarno isn’t those things, but I know as a business owner that cool and innovative need to produce measurable business impact. They’re not strong enough to stand alone as reasons for investing in a learning solution.
We love Cathy Moore’s definition of a problem as a visible and measurable performance issue. Often there’s more than one problem to be solved (who doesn’t have problems?!), so at this early stage we get them out on the table, to be prioritised a later.
Once we understand what problem we’re solving, we ask how we’ll know when we’ve solved it?. In other words, what does success look like? We use Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timely (SMART) goals to measure success. Ideally each success measure defined is an existing metric measured by the business.
In his post on The Challenge of Training Measurement, Josh Bersin states that:
“Organizations which implement the most effective and complete measurement programs … focus on capturing actionable, operational information which is relevant to their business and their key training programs. They set operational targets through key performance indicators and they measure them consistently and regularly.”
In our experience it’s common for success measures to start quite vague e.g. Reduce calls to the IT helpdesk. So we spend time whittling them down into a usable SMART goal e.g. Reduce CRM calls to the IT helpdesk by 10% in 6 months, as staff actively use the CRM troubleshooting guide on the intranet.
Aside from the reversal or resolution of the immediate problem, there are likely to be a few second order results too. For example, if we can successfully reduce the time to productivity for a new sales rep (a performance issue), then there’s a good chance that sales budgets (a business metric) will be achieved sooner, leading to an increase in revenue (also a business metric) for that period.
Next we ask what do learners need to do differently on-the-job to achieve measurable change? Notice that we’re not asking what they need to know but rather do. We’re focused on changing behaviour, and although knowledge contributes towards this, knowing something doesn’t mean the learner will do it.
This step can require some robust discussion since it’s not always clear what behaviours an employee is expected to perform on-the-job. A job description (if it exists) may describe an employee’s responsibilities and KPIs but not the specific behaviours an employee is supposed to perform to achieve them.
Next we ask why aren’t they doing it now? The robust discussion continues here, as environmental and cultural blockages start to reveal themselves. A new sales rep may not be following the 5 step sales process because their manager doesn’t have time to take them through it. The sales rep doesn’t have control over the manager’s time, so would training the sales rep in the sales process resolve the problem? Probably not.
It also becomes clear that training can’t solve all problems. Yarno is fantastic at resolving knowledge and understanding blockages. Whereas the customer is best positioned to solve environmental and culture blockages.
When our learning analysis is complete, we have a thorough understanding of;
- The problem we're solving
- How we'll know we've solved it
- What we want learners to do differently on-the-job
- Why they aren't doing it now
With this knowledge, we’re able to tailor Yarno in order to ensure we give our customer’s the best chance at success.
If you want know how Yarno can be tailored to your company’s needs, call Mark on 0401 872 305 or head over to our contact us page.
Lachy heads up the Product team at Yarno. He's our resident rationalist and ideas man. He also reads way too many books for our liking.
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