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Jeremy Ogle

PS4993TC1 - Applied Training Project


AnswerPhone Applied Training Project

Competency Model

To begin the process, we must fully understand the roles in our call center at

AnswerPhone, which are sales, orders, and customer complaints. To gather the proper

understanding, we will take feedback from the agents taking calls, their management, and any

current process or training documents that are available at this time. The key values that we

know must exist are the following:

 Friendly Tone

 Helpful Attitude

 Utilizes Knowledge Document System

 Makes Sound Decisions with Information

 Uses Information Technology

If the call center associates have a friendly tone, they are helpful, and they have access to the

information they need when the call comes in, they should be able to make an educated decision.

With these tools in place the ability to take action within guidelines set for the company are

expected to take place on the call to resolve customer issues, make sales, and complete orders.

Meaningful action must also take place based on the feedback that was given in the survey that

was sent out asking for the call center teams to be rated. The feedback from the external survey,

plus the feedback from SMEs and internal associates will provide the basis of creating a pre-

screening test that will allow us to determine what skills are missing from the associates in the

order’s and customer complaint’s division. Additional weighting will be added to the input

gathered for the sales department as they are performing above expectations and best practices

will likely be found in this area. The associate assessment will also include a LDNA
Jeremy Ogle
PS4993TC1 - Applied Training Project
Competence Grid that will be completed by the individual and at least four of their peers rating

their abilities in the key areas identified above. A model LDNA Competence Grid is included in

this document in Appendix A.

Needs Assessment

The needs assessment must be completed quickly and efficiently due to the time

constraints of having a training program developed and delivered within 6 months. With this in

mind, questionnaires and documentation will be used in completing the task as both require little

time, allow for broad reach across the large group of call center associates, and will give quick

wins that can be implemented in a short timeframe. Assuming that the questionnaire results

showed that associates in the sales department received three online training courses and one

physical classroom training session on the knowledge management system at AnswerPhone, we

will be making the case for the order department and the customer complaint teams to do the

same. The results might also have shown that associates in the sales department are happier

because of the encouragement they receive from their management team, but the orders and

customer complaints department say they receive little to no feedback from their management.

To address this issue an online training course for providing helpful feedback will be

implemented, and the management team in the sales area will be partnered with managers in the

struggling areas as an accountability partner.

Training Objectives

The training program must address the issue of customer service in the orders and

customer complaints departments, and as such, will be targeted to the performance of the

AnswerPhone call center associates. The training must address the associate’s ability to answer

the phone and conduct the call in a friendly tone, to understand how to utilize the knowledge
Jeremy Ogle
PS4993TC1 - Applied Training Project
management system to find a resolution to the customer’s issue, and how to take action when it

is allowed within the company guidelines. To allow for minimal disruption to the business,

three of the needed courses will be developed as online modules that can be taken at any time,

allowing the user to stop and start the module as needed. This will keep the call center

technicians working and provide a solution for the feedback that there is no time for training to

occur. Along with the three online modules, a classroom course will be conducted as well, but it

will only last for half a day and will build upon the three online training courses to speed up the

time in which the training is completed. Upon completing these modules, the call center

technician will be able to demonstrate polite phone etiquette in the classroom setting during

group sessions, they will be able to access and find answers within the knowledge management

system to resolve sample issues provided on a test, and they will answer sample questions given

by their online course and classroom instructor about resolving customer issues within their

scope.

Program Development

Based on the needs assessment, three of the training modules will be completed online

and one session will be completed in a classroom with a time limit of four hours. These training

sessions will be targeted to the call center associates in the customer service, orders and sales

department if they do not pass the pre-test assessment of skills needed for the role. Online

training will be developed by Fun Interactive Training (FIT) as the cost to develop the program

in-house was more than the quoted service from FIT. FIT has trained numerous customer

service desks and comes with a great reputation and references from other business partners.

The in class training session will be led by a management member of the sales department, Jane,

as her team ranked the highest in the satisfaction results. Jane will be given materials and
Jeremy Ogle
PS4993TC1 - Applied Training Project
training from FIT on conducting the course. To keep the demonstration in this presentation

short, only the classroom portion of the training is covered in the plan below to demonstrate the

overall knowledge and skills that will be obtained by those that complete the training.

 Goal: To prepare AnswerPhone call center agents to provide outstanding customer

service on every call, equip them with the needed tools to find answers, and provide them

with the knowledge to take action within the approved guidelines for the customer.

 Audience: Call center agents from the sales, orders, and customer complaints

department.

 Design Time and Checkpoints: FIT will require two and a half months to develop the

online and in classroom training based on our specific needs and information provided

about our systems and goals.

 Length of the Course/Training: 3 online training course, one 4 hours classroom session

 Method: Lecture, Interactive Discussion, Working Examples, Online Scenarios, Reading

 Training Time: 3 online modules that require 1 hour to complete and one 4 hour

classroom session.

 Problems and Opportunities:

o AnswerPhone call center agents in the customer complaints and orders

department have scored poorly on customer satisfaction reviews. These negative

reviews are causing concern among AnswerPhone customers. Agents require

training to give them the skills needed to improve the factors identified as being

negative on the customer responses, which include friendliness, knowledge to

resolve the issue, and the ability to take action on the current call without a need

to escalate or provide a call back to the customer.


Jeremy Ogle
PS4993TC1 - Applied Training Project
 Objectives:

o Given a customer complaint, the call center agent will be able to find the answer

in the knowledge management system and provide the solution to the customer.

o Given an irate customer scenario, the call center agent will be able to role play the

situation with an instructor and provide a pleasant experience regardless of the

customer’s demeanor.

o Given a specific scenario related to an order, the call center agent will be able to

determine a fix for the issue and take action to implement that fix if approved

within the normal operating guidelines set for the agent.

o Given a specific scenario related to a customer complaint, the call center agent

will be able to provide a solution, which may include a partial refund or credit on

the next purchase, to resolve the complaint on the call.

 Resources: FIT Training Materials

 Topical Outline for 4 Hour Classroom Setting:

Lesson Outline Instructor Activity Trainee Activity Time


Introduction Presenting Listening 8 AM – 8:30 AM
Provide example of Facilitator Participation 8:30 AM – 9:30
situations where the AM
agents must look up
information and
when they must take
action to resolve an
issue.
Break 9:30 AM – 9:45
AM
Knowledge Group Participation 9:45 AM – 10:15
management system AM
Lab#1
Provide example of Presenting Listening 10:15 AM – 10:45
friendly tone and AM
phrases for over the
Jeremy Ogle
PS4993TC1 - Applied Training Project
phone conversation.
Role playing Facilitator Group Participation 10:45 AM – 11:30
scenarios with AM
instructor.
Classroom questions Group Participation 11:30 AM – 12 PM
and feedback

Transfer of Training Action Plan

Training Topic: Call Center Agent Processes

Goals:

 Training content will include the following topics for call center agents:

o Friendly tone

o Conflict resolution

o Critical thinking

o Knowledge management system strategies

o Knowledge management system use

o Decision making skills

o Knowledge of company guidelines

 Training will start at the basic level of Bloom’s taxonomy by remembering the

company’s overall initiative, company strategy and why it is important. Training will

progress through the levels by viewing and talking about example calls, orders, and

customer complaint scenarios. After visualization of those scenarios the agent will then

be challenged to use those skills during a real world scenario with an instructor to show

that they can apply the knowledge gained.

 After completing the training, transfer of the knowledge will be demonstrated as the

agent provides a pleasant call experience, are able to find answers to the call in the
Jeremy Ogle
PS4993TC1 - Applied Training Project
knowledge management system, and they resolve the issue using critical thinking to

apply a fix within their operating boundaries.

Strategies for Reaching Goal

 Modifying behavior: Call center associates will start by setting SMART goals for the

training that is presented. They must complete the pre-training online modules before

attending the classroom session, and the must come prepared to learn in class.

 Resources needed (equipment, financial): Time is a factor that will be needed, but this

has been given increased flexibility with the online modules before the four hour

classroom session is attended. All call center associates already have a computer and

access to the Internet at their desk, so no additional cost is associated with completing the

online portion of the training. AnswerPhone offices are already equipped with two

classroom style conference rooms that will be utilized for the four hour sessions, and

these both have the needed projection software and hardware to conduct the training.

The final financial need will be the cost of FIT to develop the program, train the trainer

for the classroom course, and provide pre and post-analysis testing. FIT will require

$60,000 to provide the requirements stated.

 Support from peers and manager: Managers in the orders and customer complaints

departments must be supportive of their agents going through this training, and to help

with the process the managers from the sales department will be working with the

managers in those problem areas to provide peer accountability and resources. Agents

will need to coordinate with each other and provide support as they complete the online

modules at their desk and might need a short break from the phones to complete the

training.
Jeremy Ogle
PS4993TC1 - Applied Training Project
Strategies for receiving feedback about progress:

Agents will be encouraged to discuss the training with their managers and the goals they have for

the process. Managers will then be able to provide feedback as the agents reach their specific

goals in the program. The agent can also ask how their service was on the call today after

implementing a new tactic provided by the training. This will allow them to assess how they are

doing in the customer’s eyes. Progress through completion of the online modules and classroom

training will allow the agent to track their SMART goals progress. They may also reach out to

peers to see if they can hear a difference in their tone and approach to resolving customer calls.

Expected results:

 What will be different? Agents will provide a first class customer service experience

while providing an appropriate solution to the needs of the customer on the line by

utilizing the company’s knowledge management system and their decision making skills.

 Who will notice? The customers and the agent’s manager.

 What will they notice? The customers will see that their issues are being resolved on the

first call in to the appropriate help line, and that the agents are able to provide them with

a quick and easy solution to the issue being presented. The managers will see that

customer service rating scores are up as a result of the pleasant tone and decision making

ability of the call center agents.

Learning Materials Design


1. Set up the learning activity:

A learning activity example for this program will be for the agent to be given a

sample scenario in the physical class, and they must address that issue using the

knowledge they have gained in the online modules.

2. Complete the learning activity.


Jeremy Ogle
PS4993TC1 - Applied Training Project
To complete the learning activity, the students will role play the scenario in front of

the class with the professor. The situation will be taken from an example bank of

calls that have been identified as opportunities where improvement is needed.

3. Learners share and interpret their reactions to the activity.

The class will then discuss the answer as a group and share their input on the response

given. Completing the discussion practice will help to solidify the concepts for the

attendees, taking the knowledge they have committed to memory and allowing them

to transfer that knowledge into a valid response.

4. Learners identify concepts from their reactions.

The class will discuss the responses of each scenario to develop their critical thinking skills.

By using the knowledge they gained during the online modules, students will be able to

successfully show that they can apply the skills learned to a scenario and help to train peers

with this information.

5. Learners apply concepts to their situations.

At the end of the course, the class is asked to provide any further questions they

might have, but they are also asked to talk about real world scenarios where the tools

they have learned will apply to the calls they take. This allows the instructor to see

that the students not only understand and can use the material in samples, but that

they also have identified a situation where they can now provide a better solution in

their day to day job with the training.

• Use DIF analysis to identify how much practice is required to learn this material.
Jeremy Ogle
PS4993TC1 - Applied Training Project
In applying the DIF analysis, this is a moderate level task that is very important and

repeated frequently. This DIF analysis rating tells us that the we should apply basic

training to the scenario for the best results, meaning that the learner must be able to

show that they can perform the actions needed while on the job in a repetitive manner.

• Use the Methods Variety Scale to pace the learner’s activity level to avoid boredom.

Keeping the level of attention high during the classroom sessions is very important.

To support this practice, a break has been scheduled, and change between activities

happens every 30 minutes. By changing the activities frequently, students can remain

engaged in the content and focused on the new task. The online training modules will

allow for the student to stop and start at any time, allowing them to break as needed

and pick up where they left off.

• Write a knowledge or skill test (activity) to identify to what extent the learning objective

has been met.

During class, the agents will be given a scenario to role play that is like the following.

“A customer has just called in to the customer complaints line and they are furious

about a recent purchase. The product is not performing as expected and they want

to know what the company is going to do about it.”

The agent must use their learned skills to soothe the customer on the line, get to the

root of what is wrong with the purchase, and offer a solution to that problem. If the

customer is still unsatisfied with the fix noted in the knowledge management system,

they can provide a small discount or coupon for a different purchase. If all these

methods fail, they can allow the customer to speak with a supervisor or allow for a call

back to be made by a supervisor when it is convenient for the customer.


Jeremy Ogle
PS4993TC1 - Applied Training Project

• Develop a leader’s guide.

For this activity the learning guide would look like the following:

Time Objective/Activity Reference

5 minutes Discuss the role play Visual reference on

activity to be performed screen.

by the student using the

materials previously

covered in the class.

20 minutes Students take turns Participants using

coming to the front of the equipment

class and role playing the

scenarios given with the

instructor.

5 minutes Instructor conducts a Instructor verbal with

group discussion with the group discussion and

whole class and talks visual cues on screen if

about the how the needed.

scenarios were handled

and what they heard that

was right and wrong.

Training Evaluation
Jeremy Ogle
PS4993TC1 - Applied Training Project
During the training process, and once the process is complete, we will need to evaluate

our training methods with reaction, learning, skill, results and return on investment techniques.

Testing the reaction will involve gathering feedback from the call center agents regarding the

training they are being provided. Questions about how convenient the online training is to

complete, and how comfortable the classroom setting is should be taken into account to

maximize the efforts being taken.

For learning, we must determine the baseline of knowledge with a pre-test prior to online

modules and in-class sessions, after which agents must complete a post-test to assess the

knowledge that has been gained. Follow-ups with the manager of the agents to gather their

feedback on the difference of performance should also be gathered and taken into consideration.

We will also ask the agents to personally assess their performance with the new skills by rating

how effectively they are using the knowledge given to them.

The results will be determined by looking at customer feedback surveys that have been

submitted by customers talking with an agent who has not received the training versus an agent

that has. The group of agents that have taken the training should show significantly higher

satisfaction ratings if the training is effective. Since time is of the essence, we do not have the

ability to allow for a blind control group that is not exposed to the training or initiatives of this

project.

In light of the objectives above, it is recommended that we pursue a training path that

allows for a pre and post-test with a comparison group. The comparison group will be the agents

that have not completed the training yet as the program will take 3 months to completely train all

the agents in our business. During the training cycle, agents that have completed the different

levels of training, such as just one online module, or two online modules, etc. will be
Jeremy Ogle
PS4993TC1 - Applied Training Project
documented on the stage they have completed. The level of completion will place them in a

bucket allowing for the customer survey results to be collected and applied to the proper

grouping through the process.

Costing Learning

Start-up Costs/Initial Ongoing Running Costs


Investment
Staffing:
Planning Staff $3,000 (shared cost with $500 / yr (shared cost with
other business units) other business units)
Managing Staff $3,000 (shared cost with $500 / yr (shared cost with
other business units) other business units)
Delivery Staff $3,000 None, Jane is an employee of
the company and delivery the
training.
Support Staff $3,000 (shared cost with $500 / yr (shared cost with
other business units) other business units)

Facilities:
Premises/Accommodations None (classrooms are part of $250 / class (this is fed into
our corporate facility) the budget and pays for
utilities, furnishings,
equipment etc.)
Any alterations/adaptations None (internal space) None
Utilities None (internal space) None (internal space)
Furnishings None (internal space) None (internal space)

Running Costs:
Equipment None (internal classroom is None
equipped and fees with
upkeep are part of the per
class expense)
Telecommunications None (WiFi installed $25 / class (goes separately
throughout corporate campus) into the budget for network
maintenance when a class is
scheduled in the room)
Learning Resources $60,000 $3,000 / yr to continue using
the licensed training materials
from FIT.
Consumables None $50 / student to print manual
from FIT. 10 students per
class, for a total of $500 /
class.
Jeremy Ogle
PS4993TC1 - Applied Training Project

Marketing:
Publicity None (internal training None
offering)
Advertising None (internal training None
offering)
Promotional Events None (internal training None
offering)
Staff Briefings $500 – Consultant to brief None
management staff on benefits
of the training session.

Other Costs: $0 $0

Total Costs $72,500 $4,500 / yr


$775 / class x 38 classes per
yr

Total Cost Per Learner (total Total of 38 classes per year, $7.03 per student that attends
costs divided by number of with 10 students per class the training class if 750
learners) gives a total of $190.79 per students attend in a year.
student for the year.

Timeline

To account for our business needs and implement this solution within 6 months, we will

complete the following. Needs assessment will be conducted over a two month timeframe

allowing for feedback to be gathered from managers and call center agents. Questionnaires and

online surveys will be used to gather the feedback, which should take approximately one month

to complete. After the feedback is gathered the information will be used to work with FIT in

designing a program tailored to the needs of AnswerPhone using these inputs and the

documentation that we already have available in our knowledge management system. FIT has

committed to providing this information with a month.


Jeremy Ogle
PS4993TC1 - Applied Training Project
After training materials are received, the agents will begin taking the online courses at

their convenience. While agents are taking the online training, FIT will be training Jane to

complete the in class sessions that follow. During a three month window, 24 classes per month

will be held allowing all 750 associates from the orders and customer complaints department to

attend the training. Customer satisfaction surveys will be gathered throughout the process

allowing us to determine how effective the training is based on the level of completion by the

agent. The entire process will take 6 months to assess and implement.
Jeremy Ogle
PS4993TC1 - Applied Training Project
Appendix A - LDNA Competence Grid
The purpose of the competence grid is to assess your level of skill in various competencies required to effectively address the responsibilities and
roles associated with your identified profession. For example, if you identified a line manager as your current or future professional role, the
competencies you include in the grid below should be relevant to that role.
Use the following grid to rate level of competence on the following 1 – 5 scale:
1. No skill
2. Needs significant skill development
3. Needs some skill development
4. Needs minimal skill development
5. Expert
Identify a minimum of five competencies to be rated. The “Reviewer 1” column should be a self-assessment. Other individuals in your organization,
including peers and supervisors, can complete the remaining reviewer lines. If you do not feel comfortable asking people at work to rate your level of
competency, please complete the other review columns based on your perception of how you would be rated by these individuals. You should
include a self-assessment and at least three additional reviewer columns.

Competence R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 Total Average


Friendly Tone
Helpful Attitude
Utilizes Knowledge Document System
Makes Sound Decisions with
Information
Uses Information Technology

Total
Average