Learndirect: Walking in the customers’ shoes

Learndirect

Advisors at Learndirect are professional teachers, but training to engage with the customer delivered a 17% increase in call quality.

Learndirect is the UK’s largest provider of skills, training and employment services. With a network of learning centres nationwide, more than 3.5 million learners have enrolled on courses to date.

“Our advisors are trained teachers who are highly knowledgeable but they were struggling to engage with our customers,” explains Hayley Barlow, Customer Services Director. “Whilst advisors were technically skilled in dealing with learner enquiries, we recognised there were skills gaps in some key areas of call handling such as customer service etiquette, active listening, questioning and call control.”

Team leader roles were also being re-defined. It was crucial that they clearly understood their new role and expectations of them. Plus, there were opportunities to enrich their skill-set in areas including coaching and performance management.

“We were attracted to the CCMA because of their practical and in-depth experience of contact centre operations spanning 20 years and their steadfast commitment to only using trainers who were experienced contact centre managers”, said Hayley.

It’s all about understanding

The Academy spent time in the operation and worked closely with the leadership team to gain a good understanding of the business model. The skills and knowledge workshops for advisors were designed to excite, engage and enable them to put new skills and techniques into practice straight away.

The aim was to improve advisor call handling skills, enabling them to ‘walk in the customers’ shoes’ and deliver higher levels of customer service. This included key elements such as understanding their customer needs, rapport building, listening skills and taking control of the call.

Team leader workshops focused on ensuring they were fully aware of what was expected of them and equipped to take full ownership for the performance of their teams. Workshops were followed up with one-to-one coaching support to ensure that they were able to apply their learning.

17% improvement in call quality scores

A key result of the programme was a 17% improvement in call quality scores across the department.

“We knew that we might see an improvement in our quality monitoring scores,” commented Emma Holmes, Call Centre Manager. “But we didn’t expect the results to be so immediate and significant. Four months on from the training and we are still sustaining that improvement.”

Another key benefit of the programme was an increase in employee engagement – this wasn’t something that the contact centre measured but feedback from the leadership team recognised that this had improved significantly across the operation as a direct result of the programme.

“The CCMA trainers were fantastic at engaging the team and showing that they understood the challenges of the role,” concludes Hayley. “I’m convinced that their approach of only using trainers who are seasoned call centre managers made a significant difference to the success of the training.” concludes Hayley. “I’m convinced that their approach of only using trainers who are seasoned call centre managers made a significant difference to the success of the training.”


What was achieved?

In training 80 advisors and 8 team leaders they achieved:

  • Advisors have improved call control and more confident call handling skills.
  • Team Leaders have a clear understanding of role and expectations, are confident coaching, and take ownership for performance management.
  • A 17% increase in call quality scores and improvements in colleague engagement
  • Team Managers are more equipped to support the front line teams.

They said….

 ”I liked how engaging the workshop was. The trainer really understood the challenges we faced.”

 “Highly interactive, well paced with practical tips I could use straight away.”

 “The one-to-one coaching support was invaluable. It made me feel more confident about coaching my own team and helping them to embed their new skills.”