This is a fairly simple branching scenario example, written as one of several in a three-hour session with two SMEs from a bank call centre.
The aim of the training
The aim was to give new recruits a taste of frequent situations, and some practice making common decisions and judgements. They’d do it between their induction and their onsite training, where the technical aspects of call-handling tended to dominate. They’d had some product knowledge learning but that amounted to a lot of facts and concepts. Here we wanted to give them some insight into how you used product knowledge day-to-day.
How we prototyped and built the scenario
How we built help and feedback into the scenario
The version they used had a lot more branding than what you’ll see here, and I’ve anonymised ‘the system’ and other names of course. It also had two links that appeared throughout: one to a product knowledge bank on their intranet, the other to an ‘advisor’ which gave ‘nudges’ for the right decision in each case. So the former is general, the same throughout and the latter is specific to each screen. We also decided to give the learner feedback as they went along by ‘telepathically’ showing what the customer was feeling about the transaction. An alternative approach would have been to keep that feedback to the end and ‘interview’ the customer.
Try the scenario
This module came under the banner of product knowledge for new call centre staff. The bank had instant access and 60-day notice accounts. Customers often forgot about the 60 days’ notice and asked for immediate withdrawals. Inexperienced call centre staff would sometimes get into long conversations with the customer about the withdrawal before realising they had a 60-day notice account. They would sometimes waste time asking managers to see if there was flexibility – there wasn’t. They would then have to go back to customers having raised their expectations of an immediate withdrawal and disappoint them.
The actions the learner was to take were:
- Get the account number early in the conversation – the system will show you if the account is instant access or notice
- Don’t expect the customer to know what kind of account they have
- Ask the security questions before proceeding
- Ask a question to confirm exactly what the customer is looking for
- Give the customer a simple answer if notice is required – don’t pass it off to a manager
We wanted to show the consequences of each decision.
For example, if the learner doesn’t immediately ask for the account number, but instead asks the customer what type of account they have, the customer may get increasingly annoyed. If we had been using audio and actors we could convey that with tone of voice, but here we couldn’t. So we introduce the slightly artificial credibility gauge to indicate how the decisions are likely to affect the customer. This was in line with the overall aim to give new call handlers confidence that they could in fact have credibility with customers.
This training was called product knowledge, not procedural training or customer service. Why not just offer the standard module of features and benefits, a few examples and a quiz? Because the information only comes to life in a context, and the context is dealing with another human being on the phone.
Overview of the scenario in full
- Preparing for a Home Visit – a more complex branching scenario
- Designing Predicaments – scenario scripting for beginners
- Designing branching scenarios