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What do Bots and Bloom’s 2-Sigma Problem Have in Common?

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I’m sure many of you are familiar with Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy o Learning but may not be as familiar with his 2-Sigma Study.

He discovered that students who learn by using one-on-one tutoring using the Mastery Learning technique performed at two standard deviations better than students who learn from traditional classroom instruction. What this means is that 98% of the tutored students outperformed the students in the control group.

So what do bots have to do with this? Imagine, if you could build an automated tutoring system that guided a learner through each task and automatically gave them feedback, similar to what a live tutor would provide?

We currently provide such a solution. Our ACES simulator, allows you to build highly customized hands-on simulations for customer-facing employees that guide them through three levels of immersion to ensure they are “mastering” each level. The built-in bot helps them along the way by providing real-time feedback to ensure the student learns how to manage each scenario. You get to decide what behaviors need to be captured to inform you in a scalable way how well your employees are adapting their behaviors to the critical skills they need to perform their job successfully.

Studies show that employees will trust a bot more than their manager and feel more relaxed when interacting with a digital assistant vs. a supervisor.

To see this in action, visit our simulation page for video examples of ACES working.

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Four Ways To Boost Customer Experience (And Thus Hold Onto Your Clients)

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Customer satisfaction needs to be THE priority in every area of your business. Each interaction a customer has with you will either positively or negatively influence your brand, the customer’s lifetime value, and the impact on future customers and therefore your revenue. The customer experience is everything in today’s market. Ryanne Van Der Eijk is the Chief Customer Experience Officer at RAKEZ and knows how to create a customer-centric workplace. She shares her best advice for providing the right experience to customers in her article, “Four Ways to Boost Customer Experience (and Thus Hold onto Your Clients).” One of her tips is to build customer-centricity as part of your company culture. Start by defining your company’s philosophy on customer service—that’s the easy part—and then work on ways to share it via the workflow, the hiring process and the staff training. Read her entire article for more ideas for developing a culture focused on customers and her other tips to boost overall customer experience.

Read More…

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Stay in the Know

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We are working with our new partner, Microsoft. Each week they keep us in the know of where technology is and how it’s helping companies expand their footprint. The way we think of and use technology holds so much potential. From increasing the productivity of farmers to helping researchers track endangered species, Microsoft is proud to support so many amazing people who inspire and improve the world we live in. Whether you’re trying to make a difference on a global scale or trying to improve job satisfaction in the workplace. Subscribe today to stay “in the know”!

View: Stay in the Know

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Contact Center Confidence Equation – Trust is the Key

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I was speaking to a colleague the other day about their experience with engaging with executives in a contact center and the topic of confidence in making decisions came up.  So it got my brain and curiosity in motion about what types of confidence factors impact the performance of your contact center.  I put together a list of departmental groups in a contact center where you could measure the amount of confidence you have then measure the overall confidence in total contact center performance.  Here is my list

  • Executive staff
  • Equipment
  • Agent performance
  • Reports and customer scores

When you break each one of these down, what would you say your confidence level is that they are performing at an acceptable level and which ones have a strong impact on how well your contact center performs?

Let’s just take the agent performance.  What is your confidence level that 80% of your agents are performing at their top level?  A great deal of their performance also lies in their own confidence level.  In a post written by Karin Hurt, CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders  she outlines five areas to evaluate in how to build the confidence levels of your agents.  The true starting point for improving this confidence metric is creating a culture of trust and connection.

Dr. Jodie Monger, from Customer Relationship Manager states “when they (customers) have confidence in the answers given by your agents, there is a direct impact on operational cost.”  She also states that this trust is the primary emotion customers want to feel when interacting with an agent.

So maybe the first place to start in raising your confidence score is taking a deep look at how well your organization is building a culture of trust.  Rather than just provide lip service your action speak louder than words but your words can also convey whether or not someone can trust you.  In a study conducted by the University of Glasgow people can detect whether or not you are trustworthy by the sound of your voice. This study fascinates me and really makes one aware of how we influence other’s opinions of us just from the way our voice sounds.  But that’s an entirely different topic.

To sum this up, try to calculate your confidence levels of the four areas I outlined to see where your contact center stands and which one would score the lowest and then assess how improving the trust levels would change the confidence levels.

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Snap Chat for Training?

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The other day I was sitting in on a live discussion session lead by Brent Schlenker, coFounder of TLDC.us & Host of #TLDCast. The topic was can Snap Chat or other tools like this be used for corporate training? I enjoyed the interactive format of Brent’s forum and was glad I attended. It was very clear from the beginning, you really need to stay on top of how these application work in order to understand the features to use or to stay away from. The challenges that I see with anything like Snap Chat, Instagram and others is that you are not in control of what features work one day vs. the next or which version each user has. Similarly to online learning when it first came out – you were at the mercy of which browser was supported and which version the users had. Most of these social media tools have limited windows of time from which you can display or publish content which can be a negative or minus as well. Based on what I learned I would say there are ways you could use Snap Chat for training. Here are some of my ideas:

  1. Brief testimonials or stories on a topic of a good or bad experience
  2. Create filters to support your brand and encourage channel partners or customers to chime in what they like about your product
  3. Create a group and use it challenge each member to demonstrate a skill or task to compare best practices
  4. Announcing upcoming events and training in a fun way
  5. Embed URL to redirect users to login page after an introduction to an event or training activity found online
  6. Create short commercials on what they have learned in another training activity

I would not use this for any type of assessment tool, or required training as some people may not be as skilled as others at using this type of application.

If you have any stories you’d like to share on how your company used something like Snap Chat please share!

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Your Verbal Face

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Did you know that researchers have proven that our voices give away a lot of what physical characteristics we have? What characteristics?  Here is a list of three:

  1. Your Height – The Acoustical Society of America in 2013 released information on a study they conducted to ask listeners whether or not someone was over six feet tall.  In most cases, taller people had deeper voicec
  2. Age- In a study conducted published by Journal of Social, Evolutionary and Cultural Psychology the subjects were able to give a fairly accurate range of someone’s age from the sound of their voice – in addition to the choice of words they were using as well.
  3. Attractiveness- It seems that the sound of your voice may have the power to draw the opposite sex.  It’s probably no surprise that men are drawn to women with higher softer pitched voices and women tend to be drawn to men with deeper voices but in a study conducted were not able to prove if these were long-lasting matches

We also tend to draw judgment on other personality characteristics as well such as income, social status, and level of intelligence. For example, if you heard someone speaking like Marilyn Monroe, you would probably jump to some quick conclusions about their looks and personality.  We have built-in biases that work at the speed of light that formulate judgments of people we are speaking with.

This makes me question, are companies training staff to remove biases on how they treat customers from the sound of their voice?  Are you quick to assume a caller may not be very technical savvy if they have a high pitched voice when calling in for technical support?  Do you treat people differently because of an accent that is not close to your own?

 

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Pain Points for Call Center Employees

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If you work in a call center, I’m sure you may have popped one or two items in the suggestion box from time to time. You’re not alone, according to studies conducted by eGain Corporation   and Five9, providing agents the ability to provide accurate and timely answers to callers is their biggest frustration.  Much of what is driving this challenge is the pace in which systems and information are out of synch.

It’s not uncommon for agents to have 3-4 windows up at all times from disparate systems in order to look up customer information and provide the most current information to them to provide the all-important “first call resolution”.  There is a lot of pressure on agents to perform their tasks in a way that is Checking the Box of all of the criteria their performance is being measured by.

eGain conducted a global survey of agents in US, Canada, UK and APAC, the top two problems were finding the right answer and when they did find the answers from more than one resource they were not consistent.

This would lead us to believe that the solution to this situation would be to invest in a KM system or combine the disparate systems into a more modern and user-friendly but these systems typically require a committed investment in both time and money.  Call centers today are running as fast as they can just to keep up.

The delicate balance of choosing where to spend money on upgraded systems, infrastructure, and human capital is a constant struggle for call center executives.

One solution is to provide agents with realistic training scenarios that teach them how to make decisions.  Knowing which window to access the correct sequence or which resource has the most accurate information.  One way to do this is to provide them with realistic situations during the training process.  Using a simulator like our ACES would be the best way to allow them realistic practice but if you are not able to implement this solution here are some other recommendations.

Create flashcards that allow them to make snap responses to common situations
Playback live calls and pause the screen and then poll the class to see what the agent should do next and then push the play button to show the real-life outcome
Have seasoned agents tell stories when they made the wrong decision and what the consequences were
Give agents access to customer feedback to see what types of experiences they have had and how to avoid giving them a bad experience
We all wish that these problems could be fixed quickly but it’s not realistic to think that at the pace in which the markets forces require call centers to constantly change with the combined pressure of managing expenses that this will happen.  So in the meantime, finding resources to help agents manage some of the chaos is probably a safe bet and will be an investment that won’t go to waste.

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Responsive Learning?

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Much like responsive website developmnent, our brains too can be modified to respond and learn differently in new situations.  In this episode, Nancy and Allison talk about how our brains can change over time when we learn a new skill even beyond the age that people historically thought learning was on the decline.

http://psychology.about.com/od/biopsychology/f/adult-neurogenesis.htm

 

Click here to listen to  past episode of Training Tech Talk where we discuss this issus of responsive learning vs. responsive design

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How You Can Change Your Voice to Control the Situation

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In this episode, Nancy and Allison talk about how you can learn to control your voice to convey the message mask how you really feel.  For example in a sales situation when you’re not confident, you don’t always want the customer to know that.  The challenge for us is that our vocal fold are tied directly to cells tied to our nervous system and emotions.

Link to Fresh Air’s Interview with Peter Doctor “It’s all in your head”emotion-analytics

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