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Best Training Practices
Will Kenny
3927 York Ave N
Robbinsdale, MN 55422
612-978-3050

"Free Delivery!" Is That What Matters Most To You?

know how delivery costs influence decisions by those you serve

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

As a consumer, is "free shipping" a deciding factor in your online purchases? Or is it more of a tie-breaker when choosing between two comparable products?

In other words, are you more likely to purchase low-quality items -- less effective, less appealing, less durable, fewer features -- that are shipped for free, rather than higher-quality items that charge delivery costs?

Sometimes it doesn't matter very much. The low-budget item may perfectly adequate to do the job, and you might as well get it as cheaply as possible.

Other times, there's a more difficult choice: pay more for better results, or save money, including on shipping?

Now, what is the role that delivery cost plays in the minds of your internal or external training clients? Are self-paced e-courses, and shorter seminars of fewer sessions, automatically valued more highly than approaches that demand more trainer involvement? And is that difference in value enough to drive most training decisions?

Online retailers know that once you offer free shipping -- or even once you arrive at the point where all of your competitors offer free shipping -- it is pretty hard to go back.

And once we, as training experts, let the conversation with those we serve get too focused on the least expensive delivery options, it can be hard to turn the discussion to the most crucial considerations in training design. Call me old fashioned, but as important as the delivery method, including cost effectiveness, is to the overall results. I believe delivery decisions always flow from other, more fundamental decisions in the design process.

In the end, a delivery channel should be chosen that fits the content and objectives of the training; the types of interactions that are best suited to presenting that content so that it is retained and applied after the training is over; and the characteristics of the audience. And cost considerations should reflect the magnitude of the problem the training is intended to solve or prevent.

If the training, because of the nature of the content, is likely to have a moderate impact on the success of your company, then low- to moderate-cost delivery models make a lot of sense. But if the knowledge or skill in question can have a significant impact on the company's fortunes, "delivery cost" is hardly the place to start your deliberations.

And it is up to you, as the training professional, to make sure that the most important steps in the design process get their fair attention. After all, your customers, the departments that you serve, equate the training function with delivery. They see events, they see employees away from their desks, and they see costs. They only see part of the process, and you have to make effort to help them see, and contribute to, the decisions to be made about the message, the need, the solution, the objectives of the entire project.

Don't get enticed into ordering products that fall apart just because they come with free shipping. And don't let your next training project fall way short on making the expected contribution to your company's success just because you allowed the delivery method to be a driver, rather than an outcome, of the design process.

© 2011 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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