The ranking of business functions within an enterprise has witnessed a drastic change in recent years. Today, customer service ranks higher in importance than in previous years. Thanks to the Internet, customers expect to have simple inquiries handled through self-service portals, while enterprises are expected to deliver high-quality, personalized service to meet more complex customer needs at a reduced cost.
While modern technology has transformed the way in which customers can interact with companies, there are instances in which customers will require human interaction to resolve their issues. When calls are escalated to this level, customer service representatives (CSR’s) need to be well-trained on how to handle these requests. This means customer service leaders must continually be leveling up the skills sets of their teams through quality training that ensures CSR’s handle escalations efficiently resulting in positive customer experiences and outcomes.
Of course, customer service leaders need to be cognizant of two important realities that can impact the quality of training to handle these calls: consistently high turnover and globally dispersed teams.
The customer service role within large companies is consistently ranked as one of the highest turnover positions in the world. To illustrate how high, the turnover rate within call centers can range between 30 and 45%, whereas the average employee turnover rate for all industries in the U.S. was at 15.1% in 2013.
Regardless of industry or role within the company, turnover will happen. However, when departments such as customer service experience high turnover, companies feel the pain of hard and soft labor costs to fill these positions. One major cost is the time it takes to train new CSR’s sufficiently to get them ready to handle escalated calls that typically entail complex questions.
In conjunction with high turnover, it is common for large enterprises to have CSR’s spread across the globe. While enterprises can reduce costs with a distributed model, providing quality training to CSR’s who are globally dispersed can be a logistical nightmare.
One way customer service teams can alleviate the time it takes to train new CSR’s is to provide collaborative learning training. And video in collaborative learning is a powerful communication tool that customer service leaders can leverage to train their global teams within this model.
What is collaborative learning?
Collaborative learning is centered more on group interaction to solve a problem and achieve a goal. The leader(s) of the training are considered to be facilitators, not teachers who instruct on the training material. Ultimately, the goal of collaborative learning is to emphasize learning as an active process versus your more traditional style of classroom learning in which instructors teach, and students sit back and receive instructions.
With collaborative learning, groups assume ownership of the problems they must solve, and these groups are more inclined to be invested and highly motivated in solving these problems collectively. Learning in this environment promotes a deeper understanding of the material, and group participants can retain better the ideas and knowledge gained.
How can video be used to enhance the collaborative learning experience?
Video is a powerful communication tool to connect your distributed customer service teams internally. It is also an excellent tool that can be integrated within collaborative learning models to capture and deliver experiences that can be communicated to participants.
Learning Solutions Magazine shares some best practices to get the most collaborative learning value from your online video use, so it does not come across as an inherently passive medium. A few of these tips are highlighted below:
- Record in the first person. A personal, conversational style is more effective for learning than using formal language. Even creating and using a fictitious character to provide instructional advice can improve the learning experience.
- Use an environment that supports video interactivity. Since there is a distance between parties, it is imperative that you make the connection between the learner interaction and the content as close as possible. Once this connection between the learner and moments of the video is made, you can get your learners to interact and react to the content in ways similar to an in-person interaction. For example, you can ask learners to speculate what will happen next throughout the video.
- Allow teams to learn together. It is important to make sure your video solution supports the learner awareness so that you can offer: peer ratings and reviews of practice videos; discussions regarding the content at specific moments in your videos; and friendly competition created by issuing badges or certifications for mastery.
New technology is making interactive video within a learning environment more effective. In fact, many working professionals who are students within educational learning environments are becoming more accustomed to this style of learning.
For instance, many students seeking executive MBA’s from Cornell University or Queen’s University participate in interactive learning environments with the use of video to complete coursework and obtain their degree. Students don’t need to relocate or make the costly commutes to New York or Ontario.
“This isn’t a class where the professor just talks for hours. Our gold standard is for interaction to take place every 10 minutes. We spend a month training faculty to make students feel like they’re all a part of a cohesive class.” – Stephen Demmings, video conferencing manager for the 16-month program that is offered by Cornell’s Johnson School of Business and Queen’s School of Business.
Demmings further states that many students prefer learning over video. “They can see faculty, content, and documents clearly, and they see people who ask questions. You don’t have a classroom situation where a student is way in the back straining to see.”
The key factors between success and failure within any organization are the ability of teams to learn collaboratively from each other as well as positively differentiate its solutions and services from the competition. More and more enterprises are adopting the collaborative learning approach to ensure teams collectively solve problems together to gain a deeper understanding of customer needs. And the use of interactive video can help customer service leaders reduce the time to train new and globally dispersed CSR’s while transforming their customer service department to a world class organization.