The Recipient Experience, Part 2 – Timely Delivery

The Recipient Experience, Part 2 – Timely Delivery
Summary: In the second part of this 3-part article series about implementing the Recipient Experience successfully, we will discuss Timely Delivery: Here is why you want to reward people when they’re still excited about their accomplishment.

How To Leverage Digital Certificates And Badges: The Recipient Experience – Timely Delivery

In the article The Recipient Experience, Part 1 we talked about the importance of making it easy for your learners to download and share their certificate, as this can be an effective (and inexpensive) lead generation tool for your organization.

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Digital badges and certificates are an effective way to boost learner engagement.

In this article, we will talk about Timely Delivery. There are 2 reasons why the most effective way to create a lasting good impression of your program is to reward participants immediately upon completion with recognition of their achievement:

  1. It provides a more seamless experience of your program and organization.
  2. It maximizes the likehood that he or she will share their achievement with others.

You want to reward people when their accomplishment is still fresh in their minds. Most paper certificates won’t get into the hands of the recipients for 4-6 weeks after completion, and that’s assuming it’s not lost or damaged in transit and there are no spelling or printing errors. By that time, individuals have either completely forgotten about the program, or have “moved on” and aren’t nearly as excited to share their achievement.

There is an inverse relationship between the amount of time that passes and the likelihood of someone sharing or recommending the course to another individual, which means lower word-of-mouth marketing and fewer program referrals.

4 Ways To Ensure Timely Delivery Of Your Certificates Of Badges

Here are some things you can do to ensure timely delivery of your certificates or badges.

1. Cut Down On The Time It Takes To Send Their Certificate

This seems obvious, but you would be surprised how long it takes some organizations to get a batch of credentials created and sent off to their intended recipients. Often, they will wait for a large batch—either to reduce costs, or to prevent frequently repeating the same task.

Steps for identifying where to improve:

  • Sit down and map out, in detail, the process your organization goes through the time you know who has completed your course until the time a certificate is sent out. These can be things like downloading a spreadsheet of exam results, scanning sheets of attendees from a seminar, or emailing a printer.
  • Identify the longest time gaps within that process and rank them longest to shortest.
  • For the longest steps, see if there are small adjustments you can make to cut down on delivery time.
  • Try and see if there are ways to automate a process or completely remove a step by implementing tools or software.

2. Consider Switching Away From Paper

There is a case to be made for physical, paper certificates. High quality, printed certificates can invoke a feeling of quality and value; however, you will pay a premium in both the time and money it takes to go with paper. For higher stakes credentials where these cost of these certificates is baked in, the cost is not a typically a major factor, because it’s already covered. For most programs, especially free online courses, eating $10 or more per person to print and mail a certificate (that may never be displayed or, worse, thrown away) can be prohibitive. Irregardless of price, there’s no escaping the time it takes to print, package, and ship the certificates.

3. Adopt Digital Certificates Or Badges

The best option for issuing in a timely manner is through digital certificates or digital badges. Both provide a way to quickly, and sometimes instantly, issue a certificate of achievement in a way that’s an order of magnitude cheaper than paper certificates (and as you’ll read, has significantly greater value). Some organizations decide to issue digital certificates and badges instead of paper, and others issue them as an additional bonus. It’s up to you to determine how much value is coming from your paper certificates. Consider surveying a representative sample of your members or students asking what they did with their paper certificate, or if they would be likely to adopt digital.

4. Streamline Or Automate The Delivery Mechanism

There are plenty of ways to automate this process by using tools like Zapier, or by selecting an LMS (Learning Management System—software that makes it easy to create and deliver online courses) that has built in integrations to platforms like Accredible.

Regardless of how, the timely delivery of your certificate or badge is an immediate reward your recipient will receive at the height of their excitement in completing the course. The short period between the completion time and certificate issuing also means they are exponentially more likely to share their achievement. Not only is this better for the program, but it can save your employee’s hours of time.

3 Ways To Increase Your Technical Automation

There are many ways you can increase your technical automation ranging from low-er-tech to complex:

1. Leverage Plugins

Many training programs or courses rely on a Learning Management System to handle enrollment and access to learning materials. Being able to deliver this content online, at any time, is an enormous time-saver, and you are able to automate tasks like course completion notifications. Often, LMS software will have other plugins that will allow you to handle other pieces of your workflow, like feedback surveys, or issuing digital certificates. This is a great way to handle all of your workflow in one place.

2. Explore Workflow Apps

If no specific solution exists for your desired automation, try IFTTT (If This, Then That) or Zapier – tools that work like glue between two pieces of software. They work with existing software like Google Drive, Dropbox, and some LMS or CRM systems to automate repetitive tasks like adding an email attachment (report of exam grades) to a shared folder, or automatically saving things in a spreadsheet (students who have completed a course to a mailing list). Maybe you would collect the results once a week before mailing completion certificates because you didn’t want to waste time collecting them every day. You could automate that process and have the results as soon as the happen.

3. Consider Custom Integrations

If you have a complex certification system, have lots of data in a lot of places, or you just have a unique technical integration, look for platforms with an available API (an accessible language for your course software to communicate with) to leverage.

In the next and final part of this article series we will discuss the other two tenets of the Recipient Experience: Verifiability and Ease of Access.

If you want to know more about implementing the Recipient Experience successfully, download the free eBook How To Leverage Digital Certificates And Badges To Differentiate Your Program And Generate More Referrals.

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