Insights|Onboarding: Challenges and Opportunities

Onboarding: Challenges and Opportunities

As companies recognize more and more it is their people (human capital) and skill sets that drive success, organizations continue to invest in employee training – and particularly induction pathways

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by Sitel staff November 2, 2017 - 4 MIN READ

As companies recognize more and more it is their people (human capital) and skill sets that drive success, organizations continue to invest in employee training – and particularly induction pathways

Over the past few years, the recruitment trend has been to hire people who already have the necessary skills to do the job. However, whether we focus on the Google model – with e-learning-based induction training taken at one’s own pace – or more traditional banking models – where new hires meet for quarterly seminars – induction training must focus on corporate culture and socialization. New hires need to buy into the values of the brand, corporate culture, organization, usages and – for certain functions – products and offerings. Adjusting employees’ skill sets to the demands of their new position generally takes place informally, via mentoring, or on the job.

Meeting the objectives and challenges to develop new talents

Customer service adviser basic training is a case apart and constitutes an interesting challenge because, aside from the common issues of corporate culture and socialization, it seeks to transmit a broad range of increasingly complex skills and numerous operational constraints.

It is very rare for new customer service advisers – even those who have made it their chosen career – to know everything there is to know about their new job. Therefore, it is during their new hire training they will learn what their new mission is all about. Customer service advisers will also learn product and service offerings, processes and applications, and effective telephone, email and chat techniques – and when to apply these techniques in given situations.

This type of training can last several weeks and the brief can be quite extensive: grasping all the different facets of their customer service job and being able to reproduce these in a customer interaction situation – and managing to provide both a standardized and customized service.

Additionally, there are the operational constraints: the onboarding training plan must coincide exactly with the customer service start date or ramp-up; supplementary and continuous training modules must factor in existing staffing requirements. Since customer requirements are changing all the time, training programs need to be constantly adaptable and capable of being reorganized or restructured.

When customer service onboarding goes digital…

Constraints often drive innovation, and digital is a great opportunity for making onboarding both more attractive and more flexible: more attractive thanks to livelier, more concentrated content comprising videos, testimonials, collaborative online activities, etc; and more flexible based on a modular structure that can be used to recalibrate learning paths as needed.

Digital is also better for immersing customer advisers into the customer’s brand philosophy – sometimes by reusing existing multi-media content taken from communication and marketing campaigns. Certain techniques – such as 3D or virtual reality (VR) – can take the customer experience a step further by offering simulations and creating real-life situations. This develops both the ability to represent the brand and customer empathy.

If part of a blended learning approach, digital sequences can be used in tandem with classroom simulation situations, practical exercises and direct exchanges among others. Now that digital makes it possible to transmit content in a lively and amusing way, face-to-face training has never been more important – and fun.

Successfully onboarding new associates

How can we make it easier to learn a program that is both long and complex? How can we constantly adapt both the content and format of training? What are the key lessons to make basic training a success?

  • Successful induction training depends first and foremost on getting the right balance between learning objectives and the “progressiveness” of the program: how do you differentiate between the key basic skills that may reasonably be expected from a new hire and the expertise required more rarely, or in more complex situations that s/he can develop subsequently using supplementary or continuous training modules?
  • The second key to success- the modularity of the program. The best approach is one built around “modular bricks” that may be easily updated or reconfigured as either basic and/or continuous training, depending on what is needed.
  • And the third determining factor will be content appeal, driven by short, dynamic learning sequences that are fun and meaningful from both an operational and general perspective.


Digitalization of customer service onboarding

iDTGV (the wholly-owned subsidiary of the French train company SNCF, operating high-speed train services) is seen as an experimental laboratory and benchmark in the sector, especially for its excellent Customer Relations which it structures around the training it provides to its customer advisers.

The brand turned to Learning Tribes to consolidate its onboarding program as part of a collaborative, “gamified” blended learning approach. The aim was to make the training as effective as possible by providing more comfort and personal recognition to new customer advisers. Here is a brief focus on the needs and challenges of iDTGV and a fruitful partnership with the Learning Tribes teams.

iDTGV, in a nutshell

  • wholly-owned subsidiary of the French train company SNCF, set up in 2004 to market low-cost high-speed train services.
  • Mission: to devise simple and pleasant travel solutions, from ticket reservation through arrival
  • 4 million passengers every year
  • 40 customer advisers
  • 300,000 customer contacts a year (calls, e-mails, chat, etc.)
  • Approximately 50 destinations in France

Project challenges…

Strategic challenges:

  • provide optimal training solutions
  • provide more comfort and personal recognition to customer advisers
  • maintain high-quality service and customer satisfaction.

 Operating challenges:

  • incorporate innovative and collaborative approaches
  • project the brand’s values and an image of modernity
  • close to the customer
  • ramp up the skills of new customer advisers as soon as possible

 The solution deployed:

  • A learning path comprising 10 sequences: CRM applications, professional reflexes, etc.
  • Mixing up formats to keep learner attention: teasers, videos, tutorials, recordings, etc.
  • Gamification-based approach with numerous collaborative activities including 8 quizzes of 5 to 15 questions at the end of the module to make sure that everything has been correctly understood.

The partnership between iDTGV and Learning Tribes helped deploy the concept of continuous training and also marked the beginning of digital learning within the company. iDTGV opted to start using this tool within Customer Relations as a means of developing continuous training for other teams throughout the company (on-board trains, at Head Office, etc.) and creating a general learning program that could be deployed throughout France.

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