“I’m frequently asked about Return on investment (ROI),” says The Creative Engine’s Business Developer Matthew Sims. “ROI is one of the only true and accurate ways you can judge a project’s success, but how you measure it varies from client to client and project to project.”

When Hotelplan tasked The Creative Engine with rolling out a Learning Management System (LMS) and eLearning content, the criteria for judging success was simple. It wanted to help agents sell more holidays by retaining the knowledge they had learned about HotelPlan’s holidays – and it worked. “Hotelplan saw a £10 return for every pound it invested,” Matt explains. “Plus, those agents selling skiing breaks generated 9% more revenue than they had over the same timeframe last year. Agents selling customers a trip to the Italian lakes have done even better, increasing revenue by 10%. While across the board, 21 agents who hadn’t made any bookings with Hotelplan by this time last year, have so far made one or more sales. In total, the prediction of return looks set to reach half a million pounds. When we  did the analysis, it kept coming back to the success of the LMS and The Creative Engine’s content.”

 

ROI is bespoke – and so is good training

When Matt visits new clients, he often finds they have no idea where their ROI sits. His first job is to help them work out their current position, and what they want to achieve.

“Eventually, you will find things like investment returns and comparisons of net profit,” he says, “but to get to that data, there are other factors that need to be considered. We recently rolled out eLearning content for a client, which helped its staff get to grips with GDPR. It was crucial that the staff retained what it had learned because the consequences of getting it wrong would be expensive, and a PR nightmare. But how do you measure that kind of return? Do you count how many people haven’t slipped up after training, or do you test them in six months’ time to see who recalls the content?”

Whether it be BT, Sony, Sonos, O2, or Hotelplan; each client measures a project’s ROI using a different scale, which is why Matt believes off-the-shelf products simply don’t deliver.

“A call centre for a telecoms company is completely different to one that handles holidays, because of what the customer wants. Switching broadband suppliers versus advice on a once-in-a-lifetime experience is fundamentally different.”

Off-the-shelf training can help with basic soft skills training, like handling complaints and improving fundamental communication skills, but only bespoke eLearning, built to meet a defined brief, can deliver the kind of double-digit ROI that The Creative Engine’s clients expect and receive.

Matt adds: “You need to consider who is undertaking the training, their demographics, whether they are technophobes or tech connoisseurs, how they use language, and in the case of Hotelplan, how they book holidays and how best the learner would remember what they have been taught. For example, if we were working with a travel agency that does a lot of package deals, the advisor would handle the sale as though they were a travel assistant, meticulously planning each part of the trip, so the content we would develop there, would be different to an agency that plans bespoke holiday plans.”

 

How metrics can help

Of course, ROI can only ever be gauged in retrospect, but by using the LMS to gather multiple metrics datasets, The Creative Engine can help its clients measure eLearning’s impact in close-to real time.

The Hotelplan platform was the first to replicate the information in holiday brochures, with the specific aim of helping staff retain that information more effectively.

Matt explains: “In an agency where half the walls are covered in brochures, reps will flick through a few of them, remember what they can, and keep selling the ones that stick in their mind. We helped Hotelplan’s retailers learn more – about the locations, resorts and holiday packages in context – and we made it engaging. Sales staff were far more inclined to come back and refresh their knowledge from our content than picking up a brochure they had already looked through once.”

For Matt, this is particularly pertinent. Research has shown that the human mind forgets 80% of what it learns in a fortnight or less, so if eLearning can help staff keep that knowledge for just one week longer, it could increase sell-through by up to 50%.

“By gathering metrics, we can see if people come back and relearn a module, which makes a huge difference to retention. Looking at how they work, what their scores are, whether we can tweak the module itself or update the roadmap in response… all of that helps ROI going forward.”

Indeed, says Matt, you can even expect the return to increase in the short- to medium-term.

“Once the cost of the LMS and initial content has been accounted for, we just need to update the content each year. At that point, Hotelplan would expect to see its ROI increase, since its income will be sustained despite a reduction in its ongoing investment.”

The Creative Engine will be demonstrating their eLearning content it at World Travel Market, in London, between 5th and 7th November. To set up a meeting with Matt and the team, either at the show or on your premises, call us on 01483 799 200 or email hello@creative-engine.co.uk

 

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