Supporting an insurance-industry software company’s call center for a federal government contract, Enspire created a new-hire training strategy and performance support system designed to be the foundation of an in-house learning ecosystem. The system delivers critical job-related support resources and information on-demand and in-the-workflow.
After winning a large, new, federal-government contract, an insurance-industry software company needed to ramp up capacity and minimize the challenges of rapid growth. The company’s call-center strategy was to increase staff from 40 to 160 representatives and ensure that every representative could handle calls on as many as 90 different topics. Many of the topics were complex requiring long training/learning cycles. Initially the client asked for 90 e-learning courses to address their need to grow quickly. The Enspire team instead recommended an analysis of the client’s current training program and review of call and software usage data so we could make informed recommendations on how to upscale capacity and qualify new hires in as short a timetable as possible.
Our analysis included interviewing senior leadership, contact center representatives, supervisors and managers; listening in on calls; reviewing representative’s interactions with customers; and analyzing the existing training program and results, along with call data. The analysis found that normally training and qualifying new hires take 6-9 months and was done mostly in a classroom setting. There was no formal performance support or knowledge sharing strategy or system. Once on the phones, representatives struggled to remember everything, often waiting outside the cubes of supervisors and managers to ask questions. Supervisors and managers gave inconsistent answers causing reps to deliver inconsistent information to customers, negatively impacting customer satisfaction. Data told us that the top 12 call types accounted for over 80% of the calls handled, while the bottom 26 call types accounted for less than 1% of calls received – COMBINED. The 6 call types that took longest to handle happen relatively infrequently. Only a few represented high priority items, and were both complex and frequently occurring. Representatives frequently referred to a 1200 page manual that was critical to do their job and was commonly printed and on their desk with sticky note reminders throughout.
The analysis showed that the learning solution should focus blended learning experiences on the top 12 call types as well as any high priority and complex topics. Equally as important, representatives needed instant access to information for problem solving with customers on the phones and in chats, and they needed an easy way to share knowledge and experience with colleagues.
Enspire designed a comprehensive learning and development strategy focussing on performance support, knowledge sharing, and collaboration. Courses play an important, yet smaller, foundational role. Foundational learning covers the 12-15 priority topics that account for over 80% of calls, easy access to vetted information and resources in-the-workflow, ease of sharing knowledge, and best practices. We proposed targeted training on systemic issues that have a large impact and complex topics that happen frequently.
By prioritizing the call types that occurred most frequently and took the most time to handle, Enspire reduced the amount of training that needed to be developed while being more effective in teaching representatives what they really needed to know. Because it was not necessary to develop courses for all 90 topics, cost of content creation was lowered and budget savings were spent on developing a performance-support system and resources.
Because many call types occurred infrequently, we needed to get the learning closer to the work. These topics were addressed through close to 200 cloud-based support resources (job aids, checklists, micro-lessons, diagrams, video clips, animations, step action tables) which give representatives fast, easy, on-the-job access to the critical information they need to address calls. Our goal was to give associates fast, easy access to real time support resources. Not just performance support . . . smart performance support that learned from users.
To promote collaborative learning and access and share group knowledge our solution gave representatives a place to ask and answer real time questions and answers vetted by the community and management, allowing representatives to share knowledge and experience with colleagues.
Since the reference manuals that associates used to support their work were paramount to success, we wanted to give them the ability to more efficiently and effectively use their mission critical resource manual, make annotations to specific sections, link manual sections to job aid, diagrams, and other support resources, with the ability to share annotations.
To deliver the various solution components, and give representatives instant access to accurate information, the Enspire team designed and developed a cloud-based system to serve as a personalized access point to critical job related just-in-time performance support resources and information available in-the-workflow, as well as a community for knowledge sharing/collaborative learning. A clean and easy to use interface and personalized view gives representatives a direct, central access to formal learning events and courses, as well as informal learning resources.
The learning system was designed to be a layer of portal technology that integrates with other systems (the client’s LMS, as well as other systems such as Dropbox, Sharepoint, and Slack ) creating a true, searchable, plug-and-play learning ecosystem. This layer of technology delivers content, gathers data from various systems, shares real-time community-drive Q&A, and allows success and program adjustments to be measured. A key feature is a smart, powerful and fast search function that learns from the team’s previous searches pulls relevant results from each of the integrated systems that includes a cutting edge document preview function allowing users to quickly preview the docs/pdfs/etc that pop-up in search to determine if it will be useful to them. The system includes document management, real-time community driven Questions and Answers that leverages the community voice techniques of websites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Stackoverflow, and a document annotations system (allowing users and managers to easily annotate sections of the mission critical manual, and attach links to resources, job aids, diagrams, etc).
A management dashboard allows real-time snapshots of what representatives are using, when they are accessing information, what they are looking for and finding, and what isn’t being found.
The final learning solution is a comprehensive learning ecosystem that supports the client strategy and provides valuable usage data necessary to measure success and adjust the program. The program functions before and during work activities, supports representatives throughout the call, and keeps management informed of problems, solutions, and results of the call center. All while reducing new-hire onboarding from 6-9 months to approximately 9-12 weeks.