Tamara Schroer Offers Her BPO Expertise in Online-Learning Podcast
Tamara Schroer, vice president of Education and Development at Working Solutions (WSOL), offered her insights into virtual learning for businesses during a “Become an IDOL” podcast with Robin Sargent, founder and president of the IDOL courses Academy.
IDOL Courses Academy is the only authorized trade school and implementation program for online instruction and design professionals.
In a podcast entitled “Strategic Assessment Learning,” Schroer discussed her traditional teaching background and how it evolved into an unexpected career of educating on-demand, virtual service workforces for clients.
Here are some excerpts from her interview with Sargent.
From Boys Town to Big Business
Schroer began her career working with at-risk youth at the nonprofit Boys Town outside of Omaha, Nebraska, during the early 1990s. In 2000, she met Kim Houlne, founder of Working Solutions, an on-demand, virtual contact center company. In business for 27 years today, it provides outsourced customer service for businesses through professional, remote agents in the United States and Canada.
- Schroer recalled: “We were going to train (or educate) these agents, let’s call them learners, virtually. Hundred percent virtual. No walls. She took a risk on hiring an educator with no experience in the business or call-center world. But I had a passion for teaching and designing and learning. And I went for it.”
Strategic Learning That Others Emulate
Over 20+ years, Schroer has employed strategic learning techniques for business processing outsourcing (BPO) that today are industry standards. They include gamification, role-playing and interactive, virtual-classroom instruction that engage thousands of contact center agents, all working from home. In doing so, she created a role model for other virtual teachers to emulate.
- Schroer said: “Today, I only hire educators. We’ve taken a whole new unique blueprint for designing and delivering an education curriculum for all different kinds of businesses that has really changed the learning, the quality and the comprehension for all of them.”
The Business of Customer Experiences
The company developed one of the world’s most effective approaches to virtual-business education at Working Solutions University. With a core network of 150,000+ registered agents, college-degree educators (who are all WSOL employees) immerse thousands of independent contractors in clients’ customer-experience (CX) businesses. On average, teams of contact center agents assigned to client programs serve more than 100,000 customers a day.
- Schroer pointed out: “We will bring on companies and augment their call centers. So, we’re an extension of what they do. It could be customer service; it could be sales. Heck, they might even need an expert travel agent, or a tech person, whatever it may be. We will take the company’s (service-training) curriculum and virtualize it.”
The result: Working Solutions creates an on-demand CX operation in the image of the client. One that scales up and down, flexing customer service as volumes fluctuate for everyday business, long-range projects and unforeseen events, such as the pandemic.
Free-Range Learning That’s Fluid
To do that well, educators tailor virtual instruction so the lessons stick–even when taught from thousands of miles away. The teacher-led learning has to be as fluid and free-range as the thousands of agents spread across the United States and Canada.
- Schroer said: “And we don’t need four walls to have good instruction. We take the education strategies, and make sure that the curriculum is delivered in different learning styles.”
In the Stars—And In Everyone
Besides benefitting Working Solutions and its clients, the lessons learned here can be applied to others as well. Say, for online instruction and design professionals that Sargent teaches.
- Schroer believes: “What would I tell somebody who wants to become an instructional designer? I would tell them, don’t think years of experience are going to make you a great educator or designer. It’s all you. I’ve hired someone who had been in education just a year. If you have the passion, and you love teaching, designing, and you want something new, go for it.
Everything’s in the stars; don’t hold yourself back. If you have the passion and the will, go for it. This world is exciting right now. And you don’t have to just be in the classroom. You don’t have to just be virtual. You don’t have to just train adults or just train children. You can do whatever you want. Take the risk.
Tamara’s podcast interview is posted with a written transcript at https://www.idolcourses.com/blog/tamaraschroer.
About Working Solutions
Working Solutions is a recognized leader in onshore, on-demand contact center services. Its virtual workforces in the United States and Canada deliver business process outsourcing (BPO) for clients and their customers. Diverse industries served include consumer services and retail, travel/hospitality, utilities and healthcare. Learn more at workingsolutions.com.
Robin Sargent founded IDOL after 17 years in the instructional design industry, during which time she created learning content for both companies and universities. They include the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Emory University School of Law, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and the National Parent Teacher Association. Sargent has helped hundreds of professionals transition to instructional design careers, and has also done extensive work with nonprofits.