The most wonderful time of the year…

…for catching up on the paperwork!!

I do love Christmas for all the traditional things such as the carol service in our village church, for the annual fight with the sellotape and for a few quiet days where you can catch your breath and do all those little jobs you have been meaning to do in the office.

My biggest bug-bear is filing…I am the one with piles of ‘stuff’ on my desk.  Now to anyone else they look like piles of rubbish, but to me it is an important pile of my ‘stuff’ and yes, I do know where everything is in each pile!!  But getting around to putting it away is just not even close to being important to me when I have lots of work on the go and deadlines to meet, but around Christmas you can catch a few hours and clear those pesky piles away!!

I do know that if I don’t do it the piles get so big they fall over and then the system that I have (stop laughing at my system) is completely destroyed! I also know all the rules of managing your time effectively, come on I regularly run training sessions on the subject.  But as I say to my delegates there are always some things that never get to the ‘a’ list!!!  So while you are tucked up in a warm house ‘between’ festive gatherings it is good to clear some of that clutter away.

So I have now tidied my laptop of the junk which was actually on the desk-top and put a new ‘wallpaper’ picture on to remind me that it is tidy and that ‘s how I should keep it.  I can feel the calling of New Year resolutions but I am going to resist!!

These resolutions that we set out at the beginning of every year are in my opinion a good idea, but only if you have a plan and someone who is going to help and support you to carry them out.  This is especially true if you are trying to kick a big habit like smoking, getting fitter or losing weight.  For me I know that filing will never be as interesting, stimulating or important as designing new courses, talking to clients or delivering to a new group of learners!!

So off to clear a few more piles of stuff,

Thanks for your time, Suzanne Unsworth

Do you provide good customer service as a trainer?

“We don’t know what good service is… until we don’t get it!”

Then we tell everyone about it…how bad it was, how disappointed we are, the fact that we are never going to shop/eat/visit/use that service again.

So as we are all in the customer service business we need to make sure we don’t take our eye of the most important person to us…the customer.  You might think that as a trainer you are in the business of developing potential, running courses or assessing people’s ability which we are, however we also have to consider that every person who attends our training programme is a customer.  Therefore we have to consider the following:

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    • Was their experience on the courses that we delivered a positive one?
    • Where we value for money?
    • Will they recommend us to their colleagues?
    • How would they rate us as service providers?
    • Were you on time and fully prepared to run the course when the first delegate arrived?
    • Did you portray professionalism in your manner, dress and use of language?
    • Were the handouts professionally produced?
    • Was the venue, refreshments & facilities to a good standard


This is nothing to do with your skills and knowledge as a trainer in your specialist field.  This is to do with you and is part of the on-going relationship you want with your customers….so consider these:

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    • You should not be exploiting your clients by selling them more days than they need. You are not a rip off merchant!!
    • How easy are you to contact both for the client and for the delegates should they have a post-course query?
    • How helpful are you with questions on the course, not the ones directly about the subject matter of the course, but those that are often ‘off-piste’, but are important to that delegate?
    • Can you prove your professional credibility…how up to date is your CPD? What gives you the right to train my people?
    • What evidence can you provide of successful training courses that you have run before on this subject?


What you must remember is that your training course is part of your sales process.  Unlike selling some products, our key product is ourselves & our knowledge and ability to share that. Therefore there is always an opportunity to develop business whilst you are delivering a programme, but not to the detriment of the course itself.

We have to consider that the training industry is a competitive one and very often your only differentials are you and the price you charge.  Now lets be honest, you don’t want to be the Poundstretcher of the learning world so you have to ensure that the service you offer is worth the money you are charging.

As a buyer of training your client wants to know not only do you have the credibility & knowledge to deliver the subject but you also have the customer care skills too. So the next time you are running a session whether as a trainer or a manager, or both, think, are you giving good value for money and providing a good service to your customers?

Thanks for your time, Suzanne Unsworth

Happy Birthday Rubus Associates

Yes we are celebrating our 11th birthday this month…hurrah!

To welcome in our 12th year in business we are launching our new website, please feel free to have a nosey around it We have made some key changes, including the look and feel as well preparing to launch our 2013 bite-size workshops.

I would be delighted to receive any comments that you have on it as I want to ‘get it right’ but as you know, there are bound to be a few spelling mistakes etc on it so don’t be shy.  I have been working with Andrew Miller Photography in designing & developing the site. This has been a great learning experience for me (part of my own continuous professional development), and it means that I can change the content on an ongoing basis as we develop new products and services. Please also feel free to share it with other people in your network.

As social media is now such an important part of business now, yet when I started back in 2001 we just about had the internet, it is worth reflecting on how the technological developments have helped us in business do our stuff! Take smart phones for example…I thought why do I need a phone that does all that?  Now I am not sure I know how I could run my business without one!!  It means you are able to be available to your clients even when, in my case, I am delivering a course.  That is not to say that I will call/email during the course but I can at least send a holding email explaining when I can get back to them with the information that they want at a suitable break in the programme.

Then there is the amazing phenomena that is Facebook…great for a business that is business to consumer and LinkedIn which is great for business to business and then there is Twitter.  The latter I think is great as long as people don’t overuse the automatic tweet sender software because then it can get VERY tedious!  The thing I like about Twitter is the discipline of only having 140 characters to play with…it is amazing what you can say in such a short sentence and if you get it right, you can be very impactive.

And finally there is blogging, which is a great way to share thoughts, ideas and to learn about different subjects and people.  I hope that you find this blog interesting and thought provoking and you keep coming back…off now to eat Birthday Cake!!

Thanks for your time, Suzanne Unsworth