Demand for remote training, like many other developing technologies, rapidly accelerated in a business world transformed by COVID-19. The e-learning market in the U.S. is expected to grow by $421.6 billion between 2020 and 2024, according to research firm Technavio. As remote workforces grow, companies need a way to train employees remotely and track their progress. But what does remote training entail and what advances are shaping it?
A leading automaker in the midst of overhauling its training and reporting practices is discovering those answers firsthand. We’ll outline why the company is now doubling down on artificial intelligence-enabled remote training to position itself for a strong future.
Before the pandemic struck, we were completing implementation of a set of AI-enabled training tools for a contact center in the U.S. that seated several hundred associates. When the company shifted its employees to work remotely, the agents were able to easily switch to online training.
Here’s how they did it. TTEC’s RealPlay Bot leverages AI and machine learning technology to simulate real-world customer scenarios, giving employees the freedom to practice and perfect problem-solving techniques. We worked closely with the client’s customer support team to create customized scenarios based on real customer interactions. Instead of role-playing with a fellow agent or trainer, the RealPlay Bot allowed employees to practice at any time and as frequently as needed.
Using the RealPlay Sandbox, we also collaborated with the client on building exact replicas of the front- and back-end databases that associates use when supporting customers. Instead of working with a stripped-down version of a CRM system and knowledgebase, the Sandbox lets agents practice manipulating fields and search databases as they would in real life. The Sandbox allows a nearly unlimited number of learners to access it concurrently and the screens automatically reset for each new learner.
Finally, one of the largest training challenges is providing learners with rapid feedback. Pairing trainers with learners to provide instant feedback is time-consuming and costly. Even if a trainer reviews recordings of agents’ performances, it can take several hours or longer to provide feedback. We are collaborating with the client on customizing the RealPlay Dashboard, which will deliver instant feedback and reporting as learners complete each scenario.
With the feedback and recommendations fresh on their minds, learners can repeat a scenario and apply the feedback they received. On the managers’ side, the dashboard generates reports that capture each employee’s KPI performance, speed-to-proficiency, and other metrics. The Dashboard also compiles the data into graphs and charts, making it easy for managers to track at a granular level, the employee’s areas of strength and weakness and other insights.
Hundreds of contact center agents will be able to train remotely and managers, able to monitor their progress and gain insights thanks to TTEC’s RealPlay tools. One of the early insights, for instance, was that call lengths were excessively long since learners were spending too much time honing their soft skills on the simulated calls. That insight was used to optimize the training and ensure that learners were focusing on more critical processes and procedures to more efficiently assist customers while still connecting with them.
The automaker was so pleased with the results from the pilot that we were asked to expand the AI-based solution with an even broader platform.
For other enterprises interested in leveraging a remote training and reporting curriculum, here are some best practices:
- Establish clear remote learning goals and communication guidelines.
- Stay connected; create a chat group around a particular learning topic where employees can share notes and tips.
- Don’t forget about management support. Managers can also benefit from a forum or FAQ for help trouble-shooting training issues.
- Check in frequently. Short video meetings are a great way for learners to ask questions and share feedback about the training process.
Remote training is the new normal
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to put many things on hold but training shouldn’t be one of them. Training remains a critical part of business growth and as employees seek more flexible work arrangements, forward-looking organizations are doing the same for training. Whether it’s reskilling at a department level or a company-wide transformation, automation and AI are making it possible for organizations to deploy critical training initiatives while putting employee safety first.