The Recipient Experience: An in-depth guide for differentiating your program and delighting your members.

This is part one of a five part series on the Recipient Experience. You can access the other articles below.

Part 1: The Recipient Experience
Part 2: Generating word of mouth referrals through social sharing
Part 3: Maximizing member engagement with timely delivery
Part 4: Ensuring value through trusted verification
Part 5: Boosting adoption by increasing accessibility

Download the entire ebook for free here.


Introduction

You’ve probably read best practices guides on how to launch, streamline, or revitalize your certification, elearning, or online training program. For the most part, these guides cover the same important topics… Who are you marketing your program to and what do they stand to gain from it? How will you structure your content and what will you cover? How will you create, distribute, grade, and update the content for your program?

These are all great questions, and their importance can’t be overstated. However there’s one topic almost every best practices guide leaves out – it’s what we call the Recipient Experience. That is the way someone who has signed up for your program feels as they the complete the last step and receive their certificate or badge. Whether or not they feel a sense of accomplishment and pride has a lot to do with the effort you put into conveying the importance and prestige of your program.

The Recipient Experience

Individuals invest non-trivial amounts of time (ranging from hours to years) preparing for some programs. Often times they also spend significant amounts of money (sometimes into the thousands) working towards finishing a program. It all culminates in one single moment when he or she finds out if all the hard work paid off. Take a moment and ask yourself what that experience looks and feels like for those enrolled in your program. Would you be excited to find out you passed? Would you be likely to share your achievement with others? Would you feel like it was worth it?

We’ve worked with hundreds of organizations with online training or certification programs, and if you’re like most of them, this wasn’t even considered after delivering the course content. That’s a shame, because it’s one of the most crucial moments of the entire process, and it’s one of the easiest ways to differentiate your program and maximize your return on investment.

The idea of investing time into the recipient experience is neither novel nor new. When students graduate from college or university, they and their families take part in an entire ceremony dedicated to completing their degree. Students dress in formal gowns, line up, and then get their name called and experience a moment in the limelight as they walk cross the stage to receive a diploma. Granted, your program might not cost thousands of dollars or take years to achieve, but that doesn’t mean the moment isn’t just as crucial. It’s the culmination of an effort, an experience, and it deserves the same amount of attention you put into crafting the program itself.

You should have one simple goal in this scenario: to delight your recipient and provide them with a way to share their success. What are your students receiving right now? An automated email that tells them their course “has been completed”? Perhaps they get sent a piece of paper in the mail 4-6 weeks long after they have completed the program, and they’ve forgotten they were supposed to receive a certificate, and their name has a typo. Imagine spending weeknights after working a full day – for months – on your course work, only to receive a canned response or an unattractive paper certificate. You are not going to forward this email to anyone. You aren’t going to hang your certificate on a wall. You are going to be less likely to become a promoter for the organization you did your training with. You are less likely to share your accomplishment with similar individuals in person or over social media.

It’s not a delightful experience and it doesn’t provide any ROI for your program.

This guide is going to focus on what we call the Recipient Experience. The culmination of your program where an individual gets to enjoy the moment when his or her hard work pays off and they receive their certificate or badge. From our experience working with a wide variety of organizations over the years, this is far and away the most overlooked part of their process. You know more about the training and demands of your industry than anyone else, but we can share what we focus on – the Recipient Experience.

This guide will provide you with best practices in establishing a strong Recipient Experience along with practical things you and your organization can do to successfully implement it.

If you are limited by budget, human resources, or just plain, old time, don’t worry – most organizations are in the same boat. The good news is that implementing a great Recipient Experience is not as difficult nor time consuming as you think it is, and there are lots of things you can do to incrementally improve your processes without spending a lot of time or money.

There are four core tenets of the Recipient Experience: Shareability, Timely Delivery, Verifiability, and Ease of Access.


This is part one of a five part series on the Recipient Experience. Continue on to part two here. You can access the other articles below. 

Part 1: The Recipient Experience
Part 2: Generating word of mouth referrals through social sharing
Part 3: Maximizing member engagement with timely delivery
Part 4: Ensuring value through trusted verification
Part 5: Boosting adoption by increasing accessibility

Download the entire ebook for free here.

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