New Year’s Resolutions—Taking Action on Lessons from Our Annual Survey

Written by Behrman House Staff, 02 of January, 2017

“You are awesome!”

“It’s always a pleasure.”

“I like calling in to order and always get help and an answer that makes ordering easy.”

“Behrman House’s long-standing commitment to a standard of excellence is evident in every conversation, every transaction. Thank you for all you do for Jewish education and learning.”

Thank you! It was gratifying to read through the responses to our annual Quality of Service Survey and see evidence that so many educators are helped by the work we do and that so many students benefit. In 2016, we worked with over 1450 Jewish complementary and day schools representing nearly 200,000 children in the US and Canada, and even in places as far away as Singapore, London, and Mexico City.

But our annual survey is not simply an exercise in giving ourselves a pat on the back, welcome as those are. At Behrman House we believe in assessment, and we use a process called plus/delta. We review every project (and most meetings!) for the ways in which it worked, and for things to change so we can improve the next time. The same is true with our annual survey. It is our chance to hear from you—our educator colleagues—about things at Behrman House that work well for you and things that work less well. And while there is a great deal you love about us, we clearly see some things to change as we head into 2017.

Here are some of the suggestions you have made and our resolutions to improve in this new year:

Improve and the Online Learning Center. We convened a development team in December to begin planning a complete revision of our website. We hear that you want the site to load faster, a more effective search feature, streamlined online ordering, and an OLC that is simpler to use. Our goal is a website that is an indispensable educational tool for you, your students, and your families.

Provide better tech support. Our Customer Support team is scheduling additional learning sessions to improve every team member’s ability to answer your Online Learning Center and tech support questions. In addition, we are reviewing the resources we make available online to make sure you have access to training materials, webinars, and instructions at your convenience, as well as a trusted place to log tech support issues for quick response. Our goal is to be sure you have access to the help you need.

Keep key materials in stock. We have now incorporated URJ materials into a revised reprint planning system to ensure that books remain in stock during crucial back-to-school periods. We know it was a big inconvenience when several titles were out of stock this fall, and we apologize for this. We can do better. Our goal remains to be 100% in stock on the materials you need when you need them.

Make digital material more available on mobile devices. In 2015 we made iPad-compatible versions of twelve prayers and blessings for the Kol Yisrael series available free in the app store. We have also released a mobile app to support all versions of our widely-used Hineni series (Hineni OLC Edition). Beginning with 2016 releases, our commitment is to provide digital learning materials that can always be used on mobile devices as well as on laptops and desktops. Our new digital primer, Shalom Hebrew, which supports all the versions of Shalom Uvrachah and also works alone, is available as an app that works on both iOS and Android environments, as is the digital component of our multimedia prayer program, Hebrew in Harmony, for which we will be releasing additional modules in 2017 and in 2018.

Our main goal is to always be learning. Behrman House got its start in 1921, but even in our 96th year our organization’s resolve is to keep ourselves open to the ways we can change and improve. For the many of you who helped us by responding to our survey, we thank you for the time you took to tell us such nice things and also the things you believe we need to hear. Every comment we received has been turned over to the relevant team for  use in formulating improvements on your behalf. And yes, we drew ten winners from among our respondents, and they have each received a copy of Shalom Coloring. For those who missed participating in this survey, we hope you will join in next fall.