8-Years to Take Our Customer Experience from “Really Good” to “Truly Outstanding”


Many entrepreneurs would agree that behind every “overnight success”, there is a 10-year, behind-the-scenes story of dedication, PD Training Customer Experience Success Storyreinvestment and hard work; this story is no exception.

Corporate Training provider, Professional Development Training Pty Ltd  (PDT), was founded in Brisbane in 2009 by Paul Findlay and Karen Winfield, and over the following 10 years the business grew to become one of the most wide-reaching, training companies in the world, providing instructor-led, classroom-based training in 15-20 countries each year.

The drive for global growth was equalled only by the desire to be unquestionably the highest quality vendor in the industry, by providing a participant experience that truly changed lives for the better.

From start up, it took two years of IT development to create a bespoke, robust system to collect feedback from the three customer groups they served.

PDT Recognised Their External Customers as:

  1. The Learners
  2. Their Managers
  3. The Trainers

2017 Customer Ratings:

Customer Type Avg Rating
Participants 7.9/10
Managers 8.1/10
Trainers 8/10

For years, the directors and their team collected feedback and found that year in and year out, they were rated at around 8/10 by all three groups.  As the co-founder candidly shares, “When I say 8/10, I mean high 7’s and low 8’s, not high 8’s or low 9’s.”

“We tried everything”, he says, “and we focussed on the sales processes from the very first touch point, note taking, questioning techniques, handover to operations, transition to trainers and every single process we could think of to perform better for our clients;  nothing seemed to improve the feedback scores.”

So next, we decided the magic happens with the trainers (which to a large extent, that is where the magic happens) so we recruited differently, coached differently, conducted better onboarding processes, required certification in new learning tools, improved our ongoing training and communications with the trainers, and once again, tried everything we could think of; alas, the feedback scores stayed in the same range.

Next, we focussed on finding better courseware, so we tried different materials from all around the world, different suppliers, different content, different styles; again, the feedback stayed the same.

In exasperation, we looked at what had been the most transformative moments for our participants and decided to focus on creating more of the most impactful learning moments for them.

We learnt that is was the true personalisation that made the course the most impactful for most participants.  It’s those moments in the course where people learn to see themselves in a new light and gain a better understanding of their individual learning style, as well as understanding how other people’s approach to learning can be quite different to their own.

PDT Training Customer Experience Improvement 9 Out of 10

It was this newfound understanding of identifying each other’s strengths and behaviours that really made such a positive impact and improved knowledge transfer by up to 50% for many individuals.

It’s that moment, in a Time Management course, where we get to understand why some people don’t have a plan (and they should) while other people never get started because they are always planning and never take the first step.

It’s that instant awareness in Conflict Management training where we learn why some people tackle conflict head on, and others shy away from conflict and avoid learning to manage it in a positive manner.

It’s those moments where we understand why in the process of Minute Taking, some people write volumes and others just put a few words down.

It’s those experiences where, as a leader, we get to learn how to recognise that some people like personal praise and recognition, while others want to be celebrated with a trophy and public commendation.

Those moments are the ones, when linked with practical skills that really bring the learning to life, where we focussed on the learner experience versus the content and our own internal processes, that gave me the awareness and the skills to do something with it; then the magic really happened!

PD Training 2018 Stats Results - Copy

“Finally, after 9 years of focussing on our own internal processes, and attempting to put into place what we thought was important to our clients, that simply by bringing the customer journey to life by thinking about how to give more of what actually had the biggest impact, and building a learning experience around those impactful moments, that we began to see improvements in all three feedback groups.

We feel that this was such an important lesson to us, that we wanted to share our experience with anyone interested in achieving not only higher feedback ratings, but improved ROI, better client relationships, more return business and most importantly, improving people’s lives!”

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