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Improve your CX, One Agent at a Time

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Chad: 

Everyone has a copy of this for the end of today session. Welcome. For all the members of Execs In The Know it’s a true honor and pleasure to have you here today to talk about today’s topic. Execs In The Know, we can go to the next slide, is really a community of customer leaders that are here for you. We are a large group of brands that really want unfiltered, untethered access amongst each other to share best practices and insights.

It’s something that if you’re not familiar with you should yo to our website. There is tremendous data and other pieces inside our website that would be useful for you. Carol, I could ask you to go on mute. I’m hearing just a little bit of back talk or static, and then I’ll be introducing shortly.

 

Carol Leaman:   

Sorry about that Chad. [inaudible 00:01:07]. Can you hear me now?

 

Chad:   

Oh, you sound great. You sound so good. I appreciate it. [inaudible 00:01:14] appreciates it too. For the members of Execs In The Know there’s a number of ways we are engaging your voice and sharing a lot of different leadership topics and engagement. We’re not an association or a paid for membership group but a very large group of customer brands that want to share best practices and insights in a very unfiltered way. We call it Leaders Learning From Leaders.

We’re absolutely blessed with some of the brightest minds this customer industry has to offer and I cannot thank all of our community members for your willingness to work to help elevate the learning and sharing and advance of our industry as a whole. You have a tremendous role within your brand and you’re greatly appreciated.

If we could go on to the next slide. Today, just a little bit of housekeeping for everyone. This presentation will be made available after the webinar’s over. You will be emailed out a link tomorrow with all of the recording, the slides, everything you’re gonna see in today’s webinar, you’ll get a link of that being one of our registered guests. Just want to make sure you are aware of that. We will have a short Q&A period right after the presentation so stay tuned and help submit your questions. I’ll be working as our listener group in those questions and building those questions and participating in those questions so be prepared.

Also, once we conclude today’s webinar, you’ll get a link. You are my customer and I would love to hear from you on a very quick short survey how you found the value of today’s topic, maybe what worked, didn’t work and additional ideas of content that you would like to learn from and share. As my customer, if you could please take a moment and help complete that quick survey link post-event, I greatly would appreciate it.

Without further ado, if we could go to the next slide. We’ve got a lot of things that I’m looking forward to talking to. I kind of shared in my opening before we got started about the importance of the ever shifting demand from the customer leader between consumer expectations, channel strategy, data, emerging technologies and how all of this still play central theme to the importance of our training and ensuring that we are staying abreast of the most pressing needs and issues affecting our organizations at the agent level and management level.

I’ve asked and I’m absolutely pleased, I really want to say thank you to Carol and Jasha for joining us. They both are two very busy individuals and to have the opportunity to have some of their time today is very special to me and our community, and I really want to say thank you. Carol Leaman, if you’re not familiar with Carol, she is a real run-and-gun. You’re gonna enjoy her. She’s the chief executive officer at Axonify. Jasha Fletcher, I’d said I want to bottle her up in many ways. She is over in the UK joining us. It’s I think 06:30 in the evening over there right now. She’s the head of Learning Architect Solutions at BT Consumer.

BT Consumer’s part of the British Telecom Group of Companies. For anyone who may not be aware, it’s the UK largest provider of fixed voice, broadband TV and mobile services I think in over 180 countries. Jasha’s gonna give us a real-life user case or used case study, so I’m looking forward to that. Carol, Jasha, welcome. Carol, I’m gonna turn it on over to you. I do have a number of questions that I’m looking forward to getting to with you and Jasha but I know we’ve got a lot to cover up and I don’t want to delay any further. Carol, please help me out.

 

Carol Leaman: 

Thank you very much Chad for that nice intro and thanks very much for hosting us. Since this is our first webinar to Execs In The Know and your audience, we will introduce ourselves briefly and Axonify.

Like many of you on the phone, we’re also in the service business. The difference is that Axonify is the software as a service company offering contact center leaders a microlearning platform that’s completely focused on ingraining knowledge deep enough to drive frontline behavior change that impacts your business objectives. I’m really honored to have Jasha from BT Consumer as part of the webinar today because her success story with us is very relatable for anyone who needs to drive results through people.

You can see some of the other companies in the logos across the bottom that we’re helping. Many of these organizations, we’re helping them across their business because the solution fits really well and it’s frequently used to help increase the performance of contact and our agents. I put this slide together to sum up why I believe so many contact centers have been working with us. Often, training realities that we see across all industries in fact happen to be more pronounced in the contact center environment.

First, number one, training in the contact center environment is constant. We all know for those of you who have contact centers one in three agents leave their job each year and turn over is two times as high as other work environments. Contact centers are constantly onboarding, constantly training their existing agents, and if anyone wants to use the comments feature in the WebEx, it would be great to hear how your reality compares to this.

The second thing is that training is extremely costly, again as we all know. According to the most comprehensive study, we found it takes about 11.5 weeks to onboard an agent on average. That’s a huge amount of time. When we looked at our contact center clients, we found that many of them had 12 weeks of training before they started using a microlearning approach. We can corroborate that this stat fits very well with our personal experience.

Third and last, training is absolutely critical. Studies show that 50% of customers have taken their business elsewhere because they received bad service. This changes depending on your industry. One thing we know that goes across industries is the importance of frontline agents because they can make or break your customer experience. In fact, businesses are losing 62 billion dollars per year through poor customer service.

So, let’s get real. In the end, we ask more of contact center agents than ever before. We expect them to know so much. Agents today are faced with omnichannel demands, serve connected consumers with information at their fingertips and their social network is only a click away if they’re not satisfied with their experience. It’s also worth mentioning that many of our call center clients focus on net promoter score, NPS scores which stretch agents to go beyond satisfying the customer to actually delighting them to the point where they’d be willing to recommend the company to a friend.

Earlier this year, Axonify released results of a study that we did with Ipsos, which is a big research agency, covering the state of workplace training in contact centers. The goal was to better understand if the agents are equipped to perform on the job. We found a gap. While the business asks more of agents than ever before, organizations aren’t necessarily equipping them. On this slide, you can see some of the feedbacks of agents. A third of agents only received classroom training which doesn’t necessarily equip them to take action in that moment of need with clients. Almost half say that their training isn’t effective and that they’re not engaged in their job.

The gap that starts to emerge is that the experience the agents are having leaves them ill-informed and unengaged, and that really doesn’t equip them to provide the best customer service. This slide also out of the study really shows us what agents want as part of their training. What they told us is they don’t just want classroom training. They want knowledge on demand that they can access in the moment of need with a customer. They want regular frequent trainings so that they don’t forget, and they want to be able to pick the best time to fit training into their workday not just when training is available to them and has been scheduled in sort of a very fixed or rigid kind of way. All of these characteristics, the things that agents want are in fact rooted in an approach that’s become know as microlearning.

 

Chad:     

Carol, Chad. If we go back to that previous slide real quick, if we could, I just want to interrupt and ask, again lots of questions are [inaudible 00:11:03] I’m thinking or swimming the same [inaudible 00:11:06] as far as all of these data points in the last couple slides and what your observation has seen. To this slide here, why [inaudible 00:11:15] the gap exist between the desired and the actual agent experience? Just any quick idea or insight around that.

 

Carol Leaman: 

The gap really is frankly based on the historical way that we’ve always done it and the tools that have been at our disposal to do it. There’s been a massive shift that’s happened over the last five to eight years that has given people in the workplace, in fact any job, the ability to access information anytime, anywhere in that moment of need. Contact center agents, employees generally expect to have an almost consumer-like experience for training in the workplace as they have when they need to know something just in their personal lives. It’s been an evolution that’s really created that gap from history in the way it was always done to what’s going on generally today.

 

Chad:   

I agree. Well stated. Thank you. Sorry to interrupt.

 

Carol Leaman: 

Not at all. That was a great question. Thanks Chad. That actually leads very nicely into this next section on microlearning, which is the approach we recommend at Axonify for workplace learning that’s gonna actually drive true performance. It takes a few minutes to explain what microlearning is and I’ll take a few minutes to do that and give some tips on how the audience can apply key principles to your businesses today before we hear about how Jasha is doing it at British Telecom.

The first thing I think we really should start with is a definition. People ask often times what is microlearning. Essentially, it’s pretty simple. It’s an approach to training that delivers content in really short focused soundbites. It’s often called bite-sized training, it’s been known as that, microtraining, nanotraining, words like that. The big difference with microlearning versus traditional learning is that we can now leave it into the workday, in the workflow. It actually maps to what we know now about how the brain really learns and retains knowledge to turn into action in the workplace.

What’s interesting, really interesting actually is that it isn’t a new concept. It is in fact something that’s been around for quite a few years but in the learning world it is starting to get a lot more attention from analysts and now business leaders, so we’re seeing that evolve.

 

Chad:     

It’d be interesting that maybe at some point I can ask the audience their thoughts and approach with microlearning, but I think the reason it’s been maybe so hot all of a sudden is the way we learn best, Carol, and you alluded to a little bit of that. Do you have just another quick comment around that from what you’ve seen and observed?

 

Carol Leaman: 

Absolutely. In fact I think if we go to my next slide really we’re gonna get into it. It is a combination of factors that’s made the rise of microlearning happen quickly and why it’s become so hot. I think this slide really gets to the heart of it. It goes to what I was saying a few moments ago. I often describe microlearning as a three point collision of things. All of these are trends or advancements, things that I mentioned a moment ago in fact.

I’m gonna go through each of these very quickly, but in answer to your question Chad, all three of these things have led to the rise and popularity of microlearning. First, we have the modern workforce. This means that generation Z and millennial workers, they’ve grown up to expect things fast and very personalized to them, so that idea that they can just Google anything and find information in a quick second on YouTube or elsewhere if they need to know something. It’s what they need to know, not that kind of general thing that we’ve been doing to workers in the workplace for years, that one size fits all. It’s fast and it’s very personalized. It also includes workers of all ages who are increasingly connected to information. It isn’t just millennials. We all, irrespective of our age or job, need information when we need it wherever we happen to be.

The second thing in the blue circle is there are massive knowledge demands on contact center agents. It’s just simply the case that there’s more product information, customer service concepts and skills and a lot of it very frequently changing. It’s really, really difficult to stay on top of. That’s the reality.

The, the third thing is there have been some very, very interesting advancements in brain science and just general technology that have allowed us new ways to solve problems. Those problems are part of this idea of being inundated with information. This next slide here delves into a little bit more about the characteristics of that modern agent. I won’t go into all of the details on the slide because you can read the various sections of that pie, but in general you can see that contact center agents, that modern agent has a very short attention span, in fact we all do. They’re used to being connected at all times and have that Google-like experience when looking for information.

They’re distracted, stressed out as I mentioned a moment ago, and according to [Berson 00:17:31] who is a big analyst in the learning space, a great authority on workplace learning, most of us only have about 1% of a workday to spend on training and development. When you’re in that contact center role, that 1% is very, very little so you need to be able to maximize that 1%, as it turns out is [inaudible 00:17:55] to only just minutes a day.

The other thing that I mentioned were these advancements in science and technology. In addition to how employees are changing, science and technology concepts and knowledge about how the brain works have also advanced at a really rapid pace over the last decade. In fact, we know more about how the human brain works to retain information than we’ve known ever before. We know things like how to space information, and when I say space, that is what is the period of time that elapses between when information is learned and when it’s repeated or retrieved. That spacing it turns out is very, very critical to ingraining information deeply in ways that can increase confidence in knowledge and change the ultimate behavior.

We also have connected technologies today, I think it goes without saying, and ways of using data, in fact personalized experiences and information like we’ve never had previously. All of these things when you put them together have resulted in really a perfect storm for microlearning. It meets the needs of the modern employee by fitting it into their workday and engaging them with short [inaudible 00:19:26] information. Microlearning is in fact proven to increase agent confidence and to help them learn what the business needs them to learn very, very quickly. When it’s done correctly, it takes advantage of the latest in brain science and technology to personally adapt each agent and ensure that every single one of them know what they need to know.

Now we’re going to a bit more detail on how microlearning is particularly relevant for call centers. Microlearning does away with what we’ve always done, which is that upfront when they’re hired fire hose approach to learning. What it does is instead it creates a daily conversation around that desired customer experience, what you’re really trying to get them to deliver. Because microlearning provides every single day reminders around key topics that allow agents to deliver on the desired customer experience, it quickly becomes the topic of conversation, and we’ve seen that over and over again where agents begin to chat with each other about small micro bits and information asking “Did you know that? I wasn’t sure of that answer.” There becomes a conversation and sharing of information that is typically not seen in environments about knowledge.

Also, the built-in competition and rewards generate even more dialogue which is often disguised as just general banter and competitive motivation. The more employees, supervisors, management talk about new information that you need them to know to deliver on that customer experience, the more it stays at the forefront of every action and embeds itself into your culture.

At Axonify, here’s an example of how we do this in practice. What you’re seeing on the screen is that agents are given time or use time inbetween calls to log in very quickly and do some daily questions. As they do this, they earn points for competing which keeps them coming back. I’m just pulling up an example question here to make a quick point about the brain science piece. First is the question that will be spaced out and repeated to the agent depending on how accurately they answer the question. We know from brain science that if we space content as I mentioned a moment ago and deliver it in just three times in 30 days, we can actually create an environment in the brain that results in long-term retention.

If you don’t do that with appropriate spacing and repetitive questioning, the average human being will forget 90% of the new information that they’ve learned over those 30 days. Memory degradation for all of us happen very, very rapidly if you don’t have that spacing and repetition. The next tip here is that we can increase retention by asking questions. Questioning is in fact the most effective way to get a human being to remember anything.

Telling somebody something is minimally effective, but getting the individual to retrieve an answer from their own brain is highly effective, even if the agents haven’t been trained on the information before. The reason to that is it requires our brain to actively seek out, try to find the information and recall it. If you can’t accurately and then you’re presented the correct answer, you have a much better increased chance of answering it correctly the second time and ingraining that knowledge.

We often use, as you see at the bottom of that screenshot a message called confidence-based assessment. At the end of answering questions, we ask the agent to indicate if they have low, medium or high confidence in the response. This means that if the agent is seeing the question for the first time and is unsure, he or she can just indicate low confidence and choose that box. Just even doing that actually has the effect of increasing engagement and really gets the person to think about the question and the answer, and exercise this kind of brain power and judgment around that piece of knowledge.

For example, if an agent indicates that they have low confidence but they’ve seen the question multiple times, you can also then have their manager see that and be able to coach them in that particular topic area, because clearly they wouldn’t be getting it. The other important thing about microlearning is that it personalizes the training experience right down to the level of the individual agent. It’s no longer that one size fits all kind of situation where people come in with various degrees of knowledge and you have to train to the lowest common denominator.

As we saw from the Ipsos results, one of the things call center agents wanted most from their training was for it to be personalized to what they specifically need to know, and this is just intuitive because veteran call center agents will know things new hires just won’t, and since everyone learns at a different pace, microlearning can adapt to each employee, each contact center agent and their current knowledge by identifying what they need to know, what they already know and do well and what they need to do differently.

Here’s an example on this slide that really drives home what we mean when we say that microlearning makes it personal and adapts to each individual. Technology is really the root of this that allows us to do this at scale. Here we have two new agents joining your operation. Peter is transferring internally from the warehouse. Alice is new to the company but has worked in call centers before where she’s been responsible for handling some telephone sales. Peter naturally is gonna have much less sales knowledge and Alice will have less brand knowledge. With microlearning, you’re only gonna serve up questions that each individual needs to know. Once Alice shows that she’s comfortable with sales for example, she won’t be receiving those questions over and over again waiting for Peter to be ready to move on as you normally would in for example a classroom setting.

The training experience depending on her answers is gonna adapt instantly to her level of knowledge. As you can see, the end goal is to get both people from different starting points across various topic areas to the same level of sustained knowledge over the long term. It’s achieving that that is going to create that consistently excellent customer experience and really do it as rapidly as possible because you are optimizing each individual learners’ experience.

Another important thing about microlearning and your strategy is that it really should enable managers to stay on top of their team knowledge and performance and dig down to see how each agent is doing. By having a system that provides team or individual-based data, leaders can identify where there might be knowledge gaps and provide that extra coaching. Microlearning also allows managers to pinpoint how each agent is doing. They can see for example how confident they are, that screenshot that you just saw with critical information, they’ll need to recall quickly in the moment they need with the customer. This can help leaders decide which streams of inquiries agents are ready to handle and helps them identify gaps before they happen in real life with a customer on the phone or on the other end of a click to chat conversation.

This is a unique differentiator for contact centers who previously relied on call monitoring, which is really a lagging indicator of how well the agent is delivering on the customer experience. We won’t get into this detail today, but this is a really interesting area for us to keep an eye on as the microlearning conversation evolves in the contact center community because call monitoring has been shown in fact to have an adverse effect on agent motivation and retention.

With all of the data that’s created each time agents answer questions, the leader has access to dashboards, and to zoom in here, some of that data summarized to show who needs coaching, who’s not confident in certain tasks which may mean they’re answering questions properly but show no confidence, the manager can drill down and see who needs coaching. This allows managers and team leaders to focus their efforts where it’s needed most and to make decisions about which agents are ready to take on different types of customer questions.

Now that you’ve heard some key principles and I covered those pretty quickly about microlearning and talked about giving you some food for thought in terms of how you can apply those to your business, I am thrilled to be able to turn it over to Jasha Fletcher who is going to talk specifically about the British Telecom consumer experience and how she’s applied some of these principles in practice. Over to you Jasha.

 

Jasha Fletcher: 

Thanks very much Carol and good evening from the UK everyone. Huge thanks to the team for inviting me to share our experience with Axonify and how it’s helped us to transform our new entering training. I’ve been working for BT for about 21 years now. I started as a contact center agent and I’ve held a number of senior management positions in BT throughout that period. Currently I’m head of the learning team so I’m responsible for creating all the learning solutions for our frontline team in BT Consumer.

Just a little bit about BT, Chad mentioned at the beginning that BT is the UK’s largest provider of fixed voice, broadband TV and mobile services. We do operate in 180 countries globally. In Consumer, we’ve got around 10,000 contact center employees and a number of partners that work on our behalf as well. Our number one priority is absolutely about delivering a great customer experience to our customers. It’s really, really important to us and Carol mentioned about NPS, net promoter score, and that is very much high on our agenda and our radar.

When in 2016 customers told us that they prefer to speak to UK advisors rather than overseas and that they’d really prefer if the first advisor they contacted was able to deal with their query, we obviously listened to them. We took action, we made a significant commitment to recruit 2.5 thousand employees, new recruits into the business. This recruitment drive actually meant that the training had to be really impactful. We knew that reducing the onboarding time would deliver immediate business benefits because it would mean our new advisors would get to speak to our customers faster.

As our main focus was to improve the customer service, we couldn’t do that at the expense of the advising knowledge confidence of scales. To effectively deal with the customer first point of contact, [inaudible 00:32:20] they’d soon forget how to handle certain types of calls and that would result in a poor customer experience. Carol mentioned earlier that we expect a lot from our agents and it’s true. Being a really successful contact center agent is actually quite hard, and being a mediocre one is not that easy either. A lot of people come into the contact center industry thinking that it’s a low-skilled job, it’s gonna be really easy but actually there’s quite a lot that you’ve got to do.

You’ve got to be able to strike up a rapport with someone that you’ve never met before, you’ve got to interpret them [inaudible 00:33:03] and based on what you hear in that tone of voice, you’ve got to be able to adjust how you behave with them and the information that you’re getting on the screen about them, you then got to tailor your approach to match the person that you’re speaking to on the phone, you need to understand [inaudible 00:33:20] portfolio and how that fits into the customer’s needs, you’ve got to achieve a series of business outcomes within a set timeframe and all of this while you’re navigating really complex systems and recording information as you go along as well.

In some ways, you could probably say it’s a bit like learning to drive. When you start off, you can only manage a few things at a time but with practice you can manage more until you get to the point where driving home from work appears to happen by magic when you’re not stuck in traffic jams. From a new entrance, usually having to absorb lots of information and then they need a lot of practice on the system and having customer conversations. [inaudible 00:34:05] problems in the past where advisors come out of training knowing everything that they need to know but once they’re on the job [inaudible 00:34:11] some of the less common customer interactions, they sometimes forget how to deal with them and want information that they need to remember.

I think another important consideration is how the role is structured in contact centers. As you know, time is really money and that makes it very precious. We wanted a new approach with all of these new recruits that would take all of these things into consideration. We started exploring different ways that we could reduce the amount of time absorbing the information, how we could improve the knowledge retention and make time for people to practice putting into the conversation what they’d actually learned in the classroom. To do this, we turned to learning technologies and we did look at quite a few.

In the end, we loved the daily reinforcement and that people could select how confident they were with the responses that Axonify offered with their microlearning platform. In September 2016, we started an initial trial with 40. As this was a new way of learning, we wanted to measure the impact and compare results against our previous training approach, so what we did was we had two control teams and then two teams that went through the Axonify learning experience. We had a sponsor Sam [Calbert 00:35:34] who was also [inaudible 00:35:35] director. He was fully involved and supportive of the project and was really keen to see the impact that this new way of learning would have on new recruits and our business.

Our new recruits also got access to a mobile app so that enabled them to access the questions on their personal phones at any time if they wanted to, and they could see how they were doing against their colleagues and challenge them to duels on different games as well. Of course, you all know that any implementation doesn’t always go smoothly. I wanted to give you a [inaudible 00:36:08] all of you of our experience of implementing Axonify and this new way of learning.

Some of the learning that we came across was we have a diverse workforce. Some people just don’t like playing games, and with Axonify you can actually give people the option to not play the games if that doesn’t float their boat. They can go in and just simply answer the questions if they wanted to. We did find during the trial that actually people who were initially a little bit reluctant to play games, when they heard of [inaudible 00:36:40] that their colleagues were sharing about who’s on the top of the leaderboard et cetera, you soon found that these people who were initially reluctant would soon convert to playing games as part of their learning as well.

The did also start to challenge teammates to friendly competitive duels and we did see that the knowledge and confidence in the topic [inaudible 00:36:57]. Can we just move on to the next slide please? Scheduling time during the day to access the platform and show on-site support available to help with queries I think is essential. I noticed that on the Q&A that Bob Johnson, you placed a question earlier about how do we schedule the time, is it something that Axonify does or is it something that workforce managers need to do. In the actual new entrants training, we made sure that we scheduled time every day and it was in a facilitation guide for the trainer that they allocated that time to help people get used to the platform and it was scheduled.

We are currently running a trial for our existing people with Axonify and with that, we’ve actually got out scheduling team to schedule the time, 15 minutes a day for advisors to be able to have that time. I think that’s really important because it is a new way of learning. It’s good for people to be able to get into the habit of learning that, and when we start to see them using the app and doing learning in their own time, then you can start to take some of that, some schedule time away and people will have that desire to learn rather than it actually being scheduled and something that they have to do.

The other piece of learning was that because we were about to change our approach, some of the senior leaders were skeptical on the actual benefits that this new kind of approach would bring for the business. To getting the buy-in, we reached out to our managing director, we showcased the tool, how it worked by challenging her to a duel during a charity match with [inaudible 00:38:39] which is a local charity in the UK that we do for children in need. It was a really fun way of raising funds but also introducing the managing director to something that’s quite effective, and she found the experience fun and engaging. It’s definitely important I think to secure that top-down support.

We also did [inaudible 00:39:01] for team leaders ’cause we found that as soon as the team went out of the classroom and into the actual contact center environment, the team leaders weren’t as engaged and encouraging people to use the tool, so we ran a lot of team leader sessions as well to help the leader understand the benefits of the leader board and how they can adapt their coaching to really personalize it for the individual. That’s some of the learnings that we came across.

If I can just move on to the next slide for some of the results. The trial proved that microlearning [inaudible 00:39:36] knowledge reinforcement led to better knowledge retention, better confidence and better performance all around for our brand recruit when we were comparing them to the previous way that we had run our induction training. New advisors sold more products which were worth more to us and customers were more likely to stay with us too. Customers were also likely to call back. Because the agent was more knowledgeable and more confident in dealing with their query, we saw a reduction in repeat calls.

It was great performance for our customers and for our company. You can see on the screen there that’s just a snapshot of some of the business results that we actually banked, the results that Carol mentioned earlier about the training reduction. In our induction training we did actually manage to reduce the retention training by five days and the sales training by four and a half days. It’s been big business benefit that we’ve been able to bank through the Axonify trial.

Could you just move on to the next slide? What I just wanted to share with you is just some of the comments that we got from the leaders that were included in the trial. Our transition manager who actually noticed the difference in the agent and the knowledge and the confidence as they were coming out of the new entrants training. They were talking about products and services, they definitely noticed a big confidence shift and knowledge shift in those new entrants.

Then Sam our director, we’ll just move on to the next slide, he needed advisors to be more competent, we needed to get quite a lot people through the training but he really strongly felt that with Axonify we’ve actually been able to improve the performance results as well as deliver learning in a fund and engaging way. We’re actually seeing this through into the current trial that we have just started to run without [inaudible 00:41:39] advisors, so these are people that have been with BT for a number of years, and what we’re doing is just running a trial with those just to see the impact that we get on the performance with those people. We’re three weeks into the trial now and we are seeing some really good results from our existing advisors as well.

All around it’s a really good news story from BT, and thanks to Carol and her team for supporting us with that trial and continuing to support us with the current trial with our existing advisors as well. Carol, I think it’s back to you now.

 

Carol Leaman: 

Super. Thank you so much Jasha for going through the BT experience. We I think have a whole bunch of questions. I think we’re gonna go back to Chad to have him ask us a few of those.

 

Chad:     

Well, for those that know me they know I always have questions. Thank you so much, and Jasha I love use case studies and I appreciate you coming on board. I shared with you before I could just bottle you up, and I love the accent, keep talking. I’m just a fan of all of that. Great story and I love the results. It always comes down to not just the theory but the results. You shared some ideas around.

I guess my first question Jasha is outside of the results, I also like to get to observations or lessons learned and what didn’t go maybe according to plan. Can you quickly share with our listener group about I guess was there something in this learning or something you’d like to share, something that didn’t go maybe as planned or thought, and what was that and maybe why?

 

Jasha Fletcher: 

I think I touched on it earlier Chad, it was the senior engagement. When you are bringing in quite a bit of change, it’s really useful to get the senior team on board right upfront so that they can lead the way. We kind of went to the frontline first of all and then we went to the transition manager, but we didn’t go to the MD first of all and actually if I had my time again, I think I would be perhaps approaching it a slightly different way to get our MD engaged from an earlier stage than we did. We kind of went in with the training and did the trial, and then a couple of months later we kind of went to the MD to say “Look, this is what we’re doing.” I think we’d done it a bit earlier we would’ve got that top-down approach and she would have become our sponsor and been able to reach a lot more people about what we were doing.

 

Chad: 

I appreciate that [inaudible 00:44:22]. I guess Jasha the thing that comes to my mind is for the listeners that think “Okay, the concept is interesting to me.” What would be your advice, best place to start or how to take some of this, maybe start considering, put in action or some of the key measures or metrics or things that I know you got there to a certain point, but I mean at the end of the day where, if I was one of your peers listening, how would you recommend me to sort of start thinking about this or where to start?

 

Jasha Fletcher:

I’d probably say start with have a look at what the business outcome is that you want to achieve, if you are focusing on improving customer experience or if you are just focusing on reducing durations ’cause you want to bank the benefit, really focus on the business outcome that you’re trying to achieve and then work backwards. It’s an approach actually that we’ve learned from Carol and the team, so once you’ve got that line of sight of the business outcome that you want to achieve, then you can marry up with what does the advisor need to know and do to be able to deliver that business outcome.

Then, you can make sure that the content that you create in the platform actually supports delivery of that business outcome, ’cause whether it’s customer experience and being number one for customer experience, which was kind of the goal for us, or whether it is you just want to reduce the training duration and make that training more respected, it’s really good to be able to focus on that and then work your way backwards.

 

Chad:     

Very good. I’m so glad we have this recorded because we all can go back and listen to that advising suggestion, and again for our listeners tomorrow. You will receive a link with all of the slides that you’ve seen today and obviously the recording from today’s session. I really would encourage you to be brand advocates and share this inwardly throughout your organization some of the concepts and ideas that have been shared today.

I want to move to, with that, a number of questions coming from our audience and I just want to make sure that they’re my customers and I want to make sure that I get to those questions. Nicole, thank you, and I’ll start with you. Nicole asked a question at Axonify and BT. Do you still do contact interaction monitoring or do you assess agent performance from the microlearning data? Don’t know if there’s any clarification needed on that Jasha, but the question was do you still do contact integration monitoring or do you assess agent performance on the microlearning data? Any thoughts on that?

 

Jasha Fletcher: 

I think it’s probably a combination because the way we have implemented the learning is that you will still have some kind of intervention whether it be classroom training or whether it be a piece of e-learning that we would then reinforce the learning with the microlearning in the Axonify platform. It’s probably a mix of both. Have I understood the question correctly there?

 

Chad: 

Okay. Nicole again, if there’s something that you want further clarification on, just respond to that. Carol, do you want to jump in and add to that?

 

Carol Leaman:

I would say that in the early days when the initial implementation has happened and customers are really looking at the levels of participation, tying those to the business outcomes, they do continue to assess agent performance using that mix of what they’ve always done and the new. We start to see, in fact you can with Axonify start to pinpoint specifically which topic areas, which levels of participation, what are the levers that you can pull to drive the business outcome you’re looking to achieve most effectively.

Sometimes that still involves other technologies, other ways of assessing agents. It really gets down to, as Jasha mentioned, what are the things you’re doing to get the business outcome, and microlearning is one way to get tons of data to assess that. Sometimes there are other ways as well that augment it.

 

Chad:     

Very good, thank you. I’m gonna keep [inaudible 00:48:41] through here because of the questions coming in. Carol and Jasha, just bear with me. Barb, I think this is a good question from you. This will be on my mind too, and Carol I’m going to direct this towards you to maybe start off the answer. The question from Barb is how does or did microlearning help reduce the new hire training duration? I think there would be a number of organizations that would be kind of front and center from an aggregate point of view across the client span. What have you been seeing Carol in regards to reduction in new hire training duration if you had to kind of generalize it?

 

Carol Leaman: 

I would say the biggest impact, and I don’t know, Jasha can talk about her specific experience, but the biggest impact that we have is in talking to our clients about what they train on in that initial onboarding. We help them separate the chaff from the wheat so to speak, and microlearning helps you get very granular on the things that matter upfront that are going to move the needle very, very quickly. That helps to eliminate upfront a lot of training that goes on that frankly doesn’t matter at the [inaudible 00:50:02]. You have this initial reduction in the amount of time. That’s one observation or one reality that we’ve discovered. I don’t know if that’s been your experience Jasha or if there are other things that have helped reduce your onboarding.

 

Jasha Fletcher: 

No, absolutely. I agree with you there Carol. The other thing that we really looked at was we don’t need to explain in detail how a particular system works or a particular process. We found that actually because of the microlearning approach and the daily reinforcement, we could reduce the amount of training that the trainer had to actually cover in a matter of content, that the trainer actually had to cover during the day because he would be [inaudible 00:50:49] with the reinforcement content that they would do as part of their daily learning. That was one of the key ways that we managed to reduce the durations.

Then like Carol said, we did really look with a fresh pair of eyes to have a consent and think “You know what? Do we really need to go into all this level of detail given the journey that our new entrant is on at the moment or is it something that can be introduced later on their journey once they’ve got a little bit more experience behind them?” There was kind of a couple of ways that we approached it to be able to reduce the durations.

 

Chad:   

Thank you for both of that. I’m gonna continue to move on. I got good news. Nicole liked our answer. We got the question. Carol, you mentioned the QA was lagging, so thank you Nicole for that confirmation. I appreciate it. Sean, you’ve got a question and I want to make sure you get to hear. The question is from Sean. If training is delivered over time in short focused bites, how do you ensure a new agent is able to handle calls or questions they receive? Great question again Sean. I’ll either let Jasha or Carol to jump on that.

 

Jasha Fletcher: 

I can come in first Carol if that’s okay. I think to me is you need to know the skillset of that agent and the call routing and what kind of questions they are going to be getting predominantly, and then you create your content around the types of questions that they’re likely to get and the types of calls that they’re likely to get. We actually worked with our channel team. The channel team focused on behaviors in that particular area and it was a collaboration with those guys to come up with the content so that we could create the right content to help our agents become more knowledgeable on the products and the services that they were gonna offer in relation to the types of calls that they were likely to receive.

Then, you work out how many questions a day that agent is going to be presented, so we set out daily reinforcement of five questions a day. If the agent is going to get fives questions a day and they’re going to do over five days a week and you want to see a business impact in a few weeks time, then you can kind of do the master about that and make sure that you create the content that is going to help deliver the desired business outcome for that particular skill for the agent. That’s how we worked it out. Carol, is there anything else you want to add to that?

 

Carol Leaman: 

Yeah. That was excellent Jasha. I would also say that the reality is, it goes to what Jasha said. Employees come in with varying levels of pre-existing knowledge, and being able to quickly asses where everybody is allows you to get very what we call surgical on what you need to teach them. That is one thing that you can very, very quickly do. The other reality is there will always be in many environments the need to do what we call a foundational knowledge jam, and that may involve a little bit of a longer module not a micromodule or a classroom-based training that is essential for anybody to just start the job.

Often we see a blended learning approach and very, very quickly once that foundational upfront is laid, you can immediately get into the daily reinforcement and just focus on the questions and training through those questions ongoing.

 

Chad: 

Perfect. I got a couple quick ones I want to throw in here. I know we’ve got some closing slides that I want to make sure we get in front of our audience before we close out. Carol, I’m gonna throw this your way. The question was when you say that Axonify agents are given time to do microlearning, does the Axonify software find periods of idle time agent time to deliver it or is there something that workforce management has to individually schedule? Good question Barb, thank you.

 

Carol Leaman: 

There’s a little icon on a desktop or on a phone that indicates to the call center agent that there may be questions waiting for them, and really it is after rollout, it’s really up to the agent to determine when they have three minutes because that’s typically all it takes, and it could be scheduled. Some clients do schedule it and encourage the agents to use that schedule time. Others just allow it inbetween calls because you can pause the training if a new call comes in. There are multiple ways that you can deploy it and then fit it in naturally to that agent’s workflow.

 

Chad:   

Yeah. For all our listeners, if you have any additional questions or specifics, you can definitely get a hold of myself chad@execsintheknow.com. Happy to give further clarification or answers or additional use case or anything that would be useful for you and your understanding and evaluation. There was one more here Carol from Casey just saying do you have a screenshot of the duel. I’m not sure what they mean by duel but they choose a topic or is it populated by Axonify? Does that clarify for Jasha or you Carol, a screenshot of the duel?

 

Carol Leaman: 

Can you spell that duel?

 

Chad:               

My glasses, I’m getting old. D-U-E-L. Casey, if you can just clarify to me specifically what you’re doing there? I’ll make sure I can do everything to get you what you’re looking for and get that answered for you.

 

Jasha Fletcher: 

I’m wondering if what Casey means is when I mentioned that some advisors can challenge each other to a duel. What you can do on Axonify is you can actually challenge your peer group to earn more points than you on a game. I could challenge Carol if Carol and I were in the same team, and I could challenge Carol to a specific game and then if I get more points than Carol, I would actually earn some points and recognition on the platform.

 

Chad:     

Yeah. Casey just said when they challenge an agent during a game. We’ll work Casey to get you that screenshot. Carol, if you could help me with that, we’ll make sure we follow up on that.

 

Carol Leaman:   

Definitely, definitely.

 

Chad: 

We have a couple of slides I want to make sure we move to. We have just a few minutes left, and for closing I want to make sure our audience is aware of these details. Before we get to the closing, quick slides here. I sincerely want to say thank you Carol and Jasha. You’ve been great guests and I hope you’ll come back to our community and help educate and share with us. I know Execs On The Know, we’re gonna do everything we can to share this information and this insight and this learning with a number of the community members that were not present today, but I think it’s a top of mind, extremely relevant and you’ve been great guests and very good for this discussion, so thank you.

We’re gonna move up to a couple of slides. If you could do that Carol for me here if we may. Carol, I know you’ve got a couple slides, I’ve got a couple slides, but what do you want to just basically let the guests know here?

 

Carol Leaman:

This will be my last slide Chad, and thanks very much for that. All I say is enclosing, [inaudible 00:58:41] and recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about microlearning is our comprehensive guide which you can find at axonify.com/microlearning. It goes much deeper into what microlearning is and isn’t and how you can take real steps to incorporate it into your approach to agent training. That’s the last thing I’ll say.

 

Chad:   

So axonify.com/microlearning, I can get information about this.

 

Carol Leaman: 

Yeah.

 

Chad:   

Okay. Perfect. Thank you. If we could go to the next slide, I have a couple here from Execs In The Know then we’re gonna close it out and you have a great rest of the week. As I mentioned in the beginning, Execs In The Know is a leadership user group of your customer peer group. We do a number of things to engage unfiltered direct knowledge within the corporate group. If you’ve knocked into one of our national leadership forms, I would strongly encourage you to come out. It’s two and a half days of just tremendous insights, everything around customer engagement strategies, the whole [inaudible 00:59:47].

We’re gonna be in Marina Del Rey which is the LA area beautiful hotel at the Ritz. It’s September 10th to 12th. If you personally can’t get out, I would ask you to get someone from your brand to attend. There is a 50% off first time attendee code. You can reach out to me. I’m happy to get you more information. If we could also go to the next slide. A couple of things I want to make sure our audience is aware of based on continued audience feedback. We do a number of regional focused topics of interest. I’m gonna be in Atlanta Thursday this week conducting the series in our AI briefing for the service leader. These are very focused discussions that are topics of interest. We’re gonna be in Chicago, in Seattle, with the dates you see there.

There is no cost to attend the briefing as a corporate guest of Execs In The Know, but there’s small group discussions highly, highly informative, happy to get you details if this is something that you want more information on. If we could go to the next slide quickly, and on that topic, I’ll be in Dallas moderating our outsourcing briefing. We’ve done this series many times throughout the country and always, always very insightful, anything to do with strategic outsourcing. I think what I need to do Carol is a briefing on training and training specifics and get you guys out to help me with that or something like that. Training is always very much top of mind for everybody.

The last slide and I’ll conclude is lots of ways to stay connected. You’re not alone. Keep doing what you’re doing, keep the customers center of your focus. There’s a number of things you can get on our website execsintheknow.com, all available to you, benchmarking reports. Go to our resources tab. You’ll find our report, you’ll find our insights, you’ll find our webinar series, you’ll find all sorts of things. It is available for you.

On behalf of myself, Execs In The Know, I really want to say Carol, Jasha, you were delightful. Thank you so much. I really, really hope you’ll come back some time and participate with out audience, and you’ll all get a link after I hang up here in the session with the webinar to give me your feedback including the survey link now and then tomorrow the slides and recording. This will now conclude today’s session. Thank you everyone and have a great rest of the week. Thank you Carol, thank you Jasha.

 

Jasha Fletcher: 

Thank you Chad.

 

Carol Leaman: 

Thank you.

 

Chad: 

Bye, bye.