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Looking for Ways to Improve Performance? Add Scenario-Based Learning!


Serious business team wearing headsets to communicate

e-Learning is an important part of continued improvement and performance for all virtual contact centers. In addition to creating sessions that engage all learning styles, it is also important to mix up the types of training delivered. We have discussed using gamification to increase competence; now it’s time to review another method that will not only accelerate learning, but also increase job effectiveness for your agents.

Scenario-based learning mirrors how job tasks are actually performed. Rather than training in silos, this style introduces realistic scenarios that require agents to utilize more than one skill. The agent will be requested to perform a specific job function, such as finding an executive’s travel preferences, while also mimicking a transaction, such as email or phone call. The scenarios will increase in complexity to mimic the reality of the types of transactions they may encounter, including varying the customer mood and demeanor.

Why Scenario-Based Learning is Effective

Obviously having agents experience the types of transactions in a real-world environment will help prepare them when it’s time to go live. However, scenario-based learning also engrains learning in a way that does not happen with other types of training. Rather than focus on right or wrong answers, scenario-based learning focuses on performance improvement, supplying information as needed to improve customer engagement.

Another benefit of scenario-based learning is the interaction. When presented using various media, more like a game than a document, the agent is immersed in absorbing the knowledge through doing, rather the memorizing.  This improves retention and supports agents in recalling the information when faced with the same scenario, or a similar one, in real life.

Where to Start

When establishing scenario-based learning, you must first identify experiences that customers will have that prompt them to contact your organization. These experiences must be well-defined in that they include not only the problem, but the ultimate solution and experience you want them to have. Ask the following questions:

  • What are realistic scenarios in our real world environment?
  • What indicates a successful outcome?
  • What is an unsuccessful outcome?
  • What skills should be learned?
  • What is the ultimate customer experience desired?
  • What is the successful path for the agent?

Once your team has outlined the credible scenarios, it is time to outline success and failure paths. Remember that agents will learn just as much from failure paths as successful ones. Provide appropriate feedback to help them understand where on the path that the scenario went wrong, and how to turn it around for a successful outcome.

When creating scenarios, be sure to consider the following:

  • Vary the customer’s demeanor so the practice is realistic and aligned with the various types of customer moods the agents will encounter.
  • Introduce new skills in every scenario so the agents continue to build upon existing and learned skill sets.
  • Make sure that the skills build upon those previously learned.
  • Create a system that allows agents to practice and learn at their own pace.

Scenario-based learning provides increasingly difficult scenarios that mimic the real-life transactions an agent will encounter. This will prepare your agents more quickly, shorten long training cycles, and improve customer experience by ensuring agents are well-prepared for whatever transaction comes their way!