Many evaluations and feedback forms can be unreliable as they don’t show how much your client has benefited.

The typical please select from 1-5 or the yes/no questions are for the businesses benefit and only give you part of the picture. That said, there is the Net Promoter Score, which many major corporations use to understand their performance. 

Looking at the results based on which customers are promoters – those who will recommend your business, passives – satisfied customers but not enthusiastic enough to recommend you and detractors – unhappy customers and most likely to leave a bad review or say, don’t go anywhere near them.

My issue is however that I want to learn what my clients will do with what they have learned -not what I can do better – but that is my view. 

When I started delivering training, and later my Know Your Value Masterclasses, we would hand out an evaluation form at the end of the sessions.

I always wanted to see 10s or excellent on the feedback forms because it meant the participants enjoyed it (well, it seemed so), and it was also good for my ego.

But the problem was I was living in my echo chamber.

Then I changed my approach because I realised my real learning was outside the 10s or excellent, but in the 4s and 5s or the answers to specific questions I would ask. Here are a few of the questions I would ask:

a: What was your situation before you decided to attend the course?
b: What are one or two things you learned that will make a difference to your business?”
c: What do you think could have made the session better?
d: How likely would you recommend this training to a friend or colleague?

The last question was the clincher – because it gave an insight into the value of the training and, more importantly, the comfort they needed that whoever they referred would be treated right.

Asking the yes/no questions did not give that level of learning.

When I made the form anonymous and changed the questions, I came away with a gold mine of learnings of how to improve the booking process, delivery, content, the exercises, or if there were too many slides, etc.

I stopped looking for a grade or yes/no answers but instead for participants to tell me specifically how they benefited.

I wanted to know the value they gained from attending, what needed improvement and how they would apply what they learned.

To this day, I look out for the low scores, which tell me much more than the bland yes/no answers.

Never believe your own press clippings.