5 Reasons to Get Your Better Work Score

Annie is talented, young leader at a Fortune 500 company. She and her team are responsible for enabling and training frontline employees—from sales to customer service—on new product releases and process changes. Keeping thousands of people on the same page is no easy task—and even small changes applied at scale could impact millions of dollars of revenue.

Annie needs an easy way to evaluate the health and effectiveness of her training program.

We developed the Better Work Assessment for leaders like Annie. Executives, project owners, and trainers are constantly looking to measure the impact and effectiveness of training. This 8-minute quiz examines six key phases of a successful training program: Assess, Plan, Build, Learn, Practice, Perform. Take the Better Work Assessment.

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Hundreds of teams are using their Better Work Scores to improve their training programs. Here are five reasons to get yours today:

Reason #1: Benchmark your team

Author and CEO Max DuPree once noted that, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.” For those looking to do better work, the first step is knowledge. Perhaps you’re not sure how your training program compares to other companies. Or maybe you just need an honest evaluation of your learning efforts. The Better Work Assessment provides an easy-to-understand, 100-point score to help you objectively evaluate your team training.

Reason #2: Identify opportunities for growth

Sometimes, constructive feedback can sting: Nobody likes knowing that their training program is struggling. But clearly identifying what areas need attention is invaluable—it’s a roadmap for improvement. For example, my team needs some work on the planning stage. We’re great at creating lessons, but need to be a bit more intentional about strategic planning and prioritization. Our low Better Work Score highlighted a weakness—and now we’re intentionally working to address it.

Reason #3: Focus on maximizing strengths

It’s easy to focus time and effort on what’s failing. While knowing where your training program falls short is helpful—it’s equally as valuable to know when it’s thriving. For example, if your team received a high score on the Build phase, you’re probably churning out useful learning content. Why not celebrate that strength and capitalize on it to develop some practice scenarios to increase retention? Appreciating and doubling down on your team’s strengths is just another way to fuel training improvement and growth.

Reason #4: Get tactical tips

Sometimes, we just need a little inspiration. After completing the Better Work Assessment, we offer 18 tangible tips for improving your training program—and your Better Work Score. These best practices are based on insights from over a million learners at 500+ companies. Knowing the key tenets of training success could inspire you and your team to try something different or develop a new training initiative.

Reason #5: Do Better Work

The heart of the Better Work Assessment is, you guessed it, helping teams do better work. At Lessonly, we believe that great training empowers teams to succeed at their jobs. When people feel confident and capable at work, it positively impacts every aspect of their lives. Our hope is that the Better Work Method and Assessment will help teams across the globe achieve operational excellence that leads from better work to better lives. 

Take the free online assessment today

The Better Work Assessment is entirely free. Whether you’re a Lessonly customer or you use another training platform—this tool exists to help you and your team succeed. Click here to get started and feel free to reach out if you’d like to discuss your score!

Yellowship Captain’s Log: Thursday Recap

Thank you for joining us—either in-person or from afar—for #Yellowship18! The final day of the conference was the perfect conclusion to our journey.

Here are a few takeaways from the last day of Yellowship:

We were inspired to learn.

“It’s not that people are too busy to come to training, they aren’t seeing how it will benefit them.”
Meghan McHale Bilardo, Director, Learning and Organizational Development, Brandmuscle

“Consistency, efficiency, and measurability are the three ways we evaluate our learning program’s effectiveness.”
Elizabeth Truemper, LL&D E-Learning Expert, EILEEN FISHER

“In order for our personal development program to work, it had to be communicated in a way that everyone would opt in.”
Sherisa Bay, Learning Experience Manager, Thumbtack

We were inspired to grow, lead, and be our best selves.

“The number one reason sellers miss quota is because they can’t articulate value.”
David Galindo, Program Manager, Learning and Enablement, Spredfast

“What behavioral science sets out to do is measure people’s inherent motivating needs…the magic starts to happen when we realize that learning goes better when our needs are met.”
Heather Haas, President, ADVISA

“Your values are home base, a space within where you feel aligned and connected to your most self.”
Jacki Carr, Coach & Leadership Consultant, Rock Your Bliss

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We were inspired to take action.

“We all may be ordinary, but the story we start with doesn’t have to be the story we end with….Lessonly brought us together to dream big. Go back to your jobs and communities, think outside the box, and inspire change.”
Erin Gruwell, Inspirational Educator & Author

“We have the power to choose who and how we want to be in the world. How will you use your power?”
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, Neuroanatomist, Speaker, and NY Times Bestselling Author

A few other notes for your journey

The Better Work Assessment. We launched Lessonly’s new, six-step method for doing great training—and better work. Want to a free quiz to see how your team stacks up? Click here to get started.

The Brighter Indy Fund. We also announced that Lessonly will donate 1% of sales to local Indianapolis nonprofits. If you’re a Lessonly customer—you’re already a part of that mission.  Want to give a little extra? Click here to donate.

Yellowship 2019. Text YELLOW to 317-672-1018 to sign up for #Yellowship19 updates and receive $200 off your 2019 pass!

Thanks for a being a part of Yellowship. We put on this conference because we wanted to foster fellowship and growth with some of our closest partners, customers, and friends. Being with you exceeded all our expectations—you’re all honorary Lessonly llamas in our book.

Here’s to doing better work, together.

The Yellowship Team

Yellowship Captain’s Log: Wednesday Recap

The first day of Yellowship was smooth sailing! Our time together was full of energy, learning, and fellowship. We’re excited to see you tomorrow to conclude our voyage. Thanks for being a part of the Yellowship crew!

Here are some highlights from our day:

We learned how great teams Do Better Work.

“Psychological safety is the number one determinant of a great team.”
Max Yoder, CEO, Lessonly

“Doing better work is pretty simple. You just have to out-care everybody else.”
Jay Baer, Investor, Strategist, Author

“Open communication creates progress.”
Keenan Schneider, Product Education Lead, Sprout Social

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We saw how purposeful leadership fuels Better Work.

“Great leaders need to ask 3 questions: Are you committed to excellence? Can I trust you? Do you care about me as a person?”
Kyle DeFur, President, trueU

“Want to blow your new employees’ minds? Create a safe environment for people to ask the question why.”
Jimmy Miller, Senior Manager of Training and Development, OutboundEngine

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We explored the role of training in Better Work.

“We have really specialized our training efforts instead of giving everyone the same cookie-cutter training. This has been huge for us as we gather feedback from our employees.”
Jillana Peterson, CSR Engagement Manager, Zendesk

“Learner feedback is so important in sales enablement and you have to be able to measure—it which is why Lessonly is so helpful.”
Meganne Brezina, Sales Enablement Manager, Emarsys

“If you don’t get your managers bought into training, it’s never going to work.”
Brad Chrisakis, Sales and Product Enablement, Classy

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“I invite you to consider the fact that we’re all sitting in the car in the parking lot on something. How different would your life be if you just got out of the car and actually did it?”
Kyle Maynard, Entrepreneur, Athlete, Author

“Small acts multiplied by millions of people can change the world.”
Justin Moses, Culture Warrior, DSi

Thanks for diving deep with us—see you tomorrow!

The Yellowship Team

Using KPIs to Measure Customer Service Training and Rep Performance

Sam and Jordan are best friends. They’re both also starting their first customer service jobs at large, fast-paced companies.

Sam’s company starts the onboarding process before he even steps into the office. He receives onboarding paperwork and company policies ahead of time—so he’s prepped and ready to receive job-specific training on his first day. Sam’s employee training plan features a mix of online and in-person training to deliver key information about products and processes. He also practices interacting with customers in real-life scenarios to put his new skills to the test. After his first week of onboarding, Sam is tasked with five daily support tickets for the next two weeks. Thanks to solid onboarding, he handles his five tickets with ease, receives high satisfaction scores, and meets his KPIs. His manager, pleased with Sam’s performance, raises his daily quota to 15 tickets. Sam continues to exceed expectations and within 30 days is fully ramped with a quota of 30 tickets daily.

Jordan is welcomed to her job with a week-long, in-person training regiment that features a large binder full of paperwork, procedures, and tests. After sitting through lectures, homework, and tests, she is also tasked with a quota of 5 daily support tickets. At the two-week mark, she is not adequately meeting her KPIs, so her manager reduces her quota to three tickets. By the end of her first 30 days, Jordan is still struggling to find her footing and receiving sub-par satisfaction scores. Frustrated, discouraged, and without a way to hone her skills, she decides to leave the company while her best friend continues down the path to productivity.

Measure KPIs that matter

Customer service teams experience situations like these every day. However, forward-thinking companies and managers like Sam’s use the power of data to inform training initiatives and drive rep performance. According to a study by Dimension Data, 72% of customer service leaders say analytics enable better performance; yet, 20% of contact centers don’t measure the benefits of training. In the midst of demanding team responsibilities and increasing customer demands, it’s difficult to set training goals and measure the impact on rep performance. While there are plenty of valuable KPIs, here are a few that provide actionable insights for customer service training efforts:

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) is an index score, rated on a 0-100% scale, and is calculated by surveying how the customer values the quality of the interaction. CSAT is helpful as it measures the customer’s satisfaction regardless of channel—whether it was a phone call, online chat, email, or anything else.
Net Promoter Scores (NPS) measures customer experience on a 0-10 scale. Customer service reps ask customers how likely they are to recommend the company to a friend or colleague. A 9 or 10 rating means customers are promoting the company and is a fantastic indicator of customer service team improvement.
Churn, also known as attrition or agent turnover, measures the percentage of employees leaving a company. Call centers have a bad reputation for high turnover, both from voluntary and involuntary termination. If customer service teams are experiencing a high churn level, it may be time to review onboarding and training to ensure reps are equipped with the skills they need to be successful.

Training that drives KPIs

We work with a variety of customer service teams that leverage Lessonly’s training software to drive higher CSAT and NPS scores. They’ve also seen higher retention rates when reps complete training with Lessonly. In fact, one such company saw remarkable KPI progress, including:

  • Reps who received training with Lessonly have average CSAT scores of 81%. Reps who didn’t received a score of 70%.
  • New reps trained with Lessonly see NPS increase by 16%.
  • Attrition rates for reps onboarded with Lessonly were 15 points lower than reps without Lessonly.

We asked our customers what training topics contribute to improved KPI scores—here are a few of their favorites:

  • Going Above and Beyond for the Customer—Nothing helps explain the lengths that reps should go to for customers like first-hand stories. Crowdsource stories from existing reps that detail times they went the extra mile to deliver excellent service. This makes the content more real and engaging for other team members.
  • How to To Deal with an Upset Customer—The way reps handle situations with angry or upset customers makes the difference between redeeming the relationship—and earning a good CSAT—or losing their business. Take the time to train reps on what not to do to keep complaints from going from bad to worse.
  • Why We Want Active Promoters—NPS can be difficult understand. Explain why it’s important to track it and how it benefits the entire business.
  • How to Ask Customers to Take Their Survey—NPS lives and dies on the willingness of customers to take the survey. Train reps to guide customers through the surveys to ensure that NPS is correctly calculated.

These are just a handful of training examples to help customer service teams meet their KPIs performance. Regardless of what metrics your team uses, remember that the best customer service leaders focus on measuring the progress that reps make against each KPI. The data will provide valuable insight on training efforts and how it impacts rep performance—and business success.

Improve your customer service KPIs with Lessonly

Lessonly’s team learning software connects the dots between customer service training and team performance. Reps perform better when they receive critical knowledge and skills needed to do great work. Take a tour of Lessonly today and see how well-trained teams provide exceptional service and meet their key performance indicators.

The Yellowship Attendees’ Guide to Indy

As one of the 15 hottest tech cities and fifth city for tech industry growth in the U.S., Indianapolis is home to a new generation of startups—including Lessonly. We’re extremely proud of our Midwestern roots and are thrilled to welcome Yellowship attendees to our hometown this April.

While attendees can look forward to the exciting and fun-filled two-day agenda that Yellowship has in store, we hope you can also take advantage of some of the great things that the Circle City has to offer.

Getting around the city

We can’t wait for you to arrive! If you’re flying into IND, North America’s best airport, it’s just a short, 15-minute drive to downtown Indy. From taxis to Uber or Lyft, it’ll be easy to catch a ride to your hotel. We also recommend checking out the Downtown Indy Airport Shuttle, which runs every half hour, costs just $10, and drops riders off at ten convenient stops, including Yellowship’s preferred hotel, the Hilton Indianapolis Hotel and Suites

Once you get settled into your room, it will be easy to explore downtown Indy by walking or brief cab ride. Travel to Yellowship’s one-of-a-kind event venue, The Mavris Arts + Event Center is simple: Attendees can take advantage of our complimentary shuttle that will run to and from the Hilton throughout the entire conference.

Devouring the local fare

Indy was named “America’s Most Underrated Food City” by Conde Nast Traveler and one of “America’s Favorite Food Cities” by Food & Wine—and for good reasons. With plenty of delicious restaurants and acclaimed breweries, it’s easy to take advantage of the local fare. While Yellowship includes most of your meals, we highly recommend grabbing a bite to eat or enjoying a delicious cocktail (or two) with other attendees. Here are a few of our favorite places:

St. Elmo Steak House—St. Elmo, one of Indy’s most award-winning restaurants, is known for its signature cocktail sauce, quality steaks, and classic martinis.

Bluebeard—Named after the Kurt Vonnegut novel, Bluebeard offers lunch and dinner—and will quench your thirst with house-crafted libations, sommelier-selected wine, and local beer.

Union 50—Union 50 features something for everyone with shareable plates and hearty entrees. Grab a local craft beer or house cocktail while enjoying a game of skee ball or shuffleboard during your visit.

Tinker StreetTinker Street serves up bold flavors and offers plenty of vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free options. This restaurant is perfect for wine lovers, as it features an ever-changing wine list to complement meals.

Napolese—Take a bite out of authentic Italian pizza with a farm-fresh approach and daily rotating specials. Napolese is known for their freestyle pizzas, Italian cocktails, and classic service.

These restaurants are just a handful of some of Indy’s greatest cuisine. Our friends at Visit Indy put together a fantastic list of restaurants in downtown Indy and other local neighborhoods like Fletcher Place, Fountain Square, and Broad Ripple.

Exploring the sights and sounds

There’s always something to do in Indy. Whether you’re only going to be in town for the few days of Yellowship or looking to extend your trip, the city boasts a wide variety of museums & attractions, arts & culture, and sports & recreation.

Cultural Trail—The internationally-acclaimed, 8-mile biking and walking trail connects all six of Indy’s Cultural Districts. From Mass Ave to White River State Park, the trail is a convenient way to explore the city.

If you’re looking to get out and explore, Indy also offers a unique bike share system with 25 convenient stations around downtown. 

Canal Walk—The canal walk serves the downtown area as a waterfront promenade for walkers, runners, bikers, and sightseers. If the morning yoga session isn’t your thing, we recommend hitting the canal for a quick run to start the day.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum—We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the city’s love for sports. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is known as “The Greatest Race Course in the World” and is just minutes from downtown and the airport.

Mass Ave Arts District—Visitors will encounter unique finds on each block of Mass Ave. This five-block area includes theaters, restaurants, art galleries, and boutiques.

Soldiers and Sailors Monument—This 284-foot monument at the heart of the city has come to symbolize the city of Indy. Enjoy a quick stroll or carriage ride around the Circle (from which we derive our nickname, the Circle City), or visit the observation level that’s 330 steps above the city.

Did you know? Indianapolis devotes more acreage than any other U.S. city to honoring our nation’s fallen and is second only to Washington, DC in the number of war memorials.

Join us in the Circle City for one groundbreaking event

Yellowship is about inspiring leaders and teams learning—and winning—together. But, we also believe Indy will energize you to do better work than you ever imagined. See our full lineup of engaging keynote speakers and breakout sessions, or register today! T-minus 48 days until liftoff—we look forward to seeing you in Indy!

Insights for the Best Customer Service Teams in the Galaxy

If we’ve learned one thing from years of working with customer service teams, it’s that an amazing customer experience is easy to champion, but hard to deliver. The rapidly changing realm of customer service makes it increasingly difficult to provide stellar service over and over again. Our newest ebook, The Future of Customer Service: Insights for the Best Customer Service Teams in the Galaxy, explores the future of customer service and provides forward-thinking teams with insights that will prepare teams for success.

The Crew for the Voyage

The best advice often comes from years of knowledge and experience, so we gathered the input of eight customer service veterans:

  • Mike Aoki, President, Reflective Keynotes
  • Jeanne Bliss, President, CustomerBliss
  • Ben Collet, Director of Global Advocacy, Enterprise & Strategic Accounts, Zendesk
  • Brian Costanzo, CEO/President, SOCAP International
  • Steve DiGioia, Trainer, Coach, Author & Speaker
  • Troy Mills, CEO/Founder, Customer Care Advisory
  • Jeff Toister, Founder, Toister Performance Solutions, Inc.
  • Hui Wu-Curtis, GM Customer Service Operations & Strategy, Arizona Public Services

These thought leaders, trainers, coaches, and speakers drew upon years of customer service experience to identify critical trends for the future of support teams. Read on for a teaser of the ebook, or download now to get the full report!

Oncoming Trends

Successful customer service teams are always learning and practicing—but they’re also looking towards the horizon for insights that will help them do better work. From the evolution of AI, self-service, chatbots, and machine learning to omnichannel strategies that improve customer experience, the support universe will be significantly disrupted in the coming years.

“Customer service teams need to establish a blend of high tech and high touch. The enthusiasm and pendulum swinging to chat, AI, and more is healthy, but companies need to get this in the right order and do it for the right reason.”—Jeanne Bliss

Brace for Impact

There’s no doubt that these technological and customer experience trends will impact the customer service industry. Customer service leaders need to consider both the threats and opportunities these trends pose for their teams. Although these shifts are already a foregone conclusion—enabling customer service teams to succeed takes forethought and leadership.

“Support teams will need to evolve from using tactical elements like a script, guidelines, and standard training methodology to a learning organization that is fluid, agile, adaptable, and quick to market.”—Hui Wu-Curtis

The Tools for the Journey

Our crew of industry veterans unanimously acknowledged the rapid pace of technological change in customer service. Self-service, automation, chatbots, and machine learning have the potential to impact the industry at an unprecedented level—but the experts provided some key insights that customer service leaders should consider before implementing these tools

“Tools such as machine learning make so much more personalization possible. It enables us to capture business intelligence without interfering with the customer experience. But, you have to be careful that you don’t lose the people factor. As advantageous as tech can be, you have to measure it and incorporate it into the human-driven experience.”—Ben Collet

The Qualities of All-Star Reps

The rapidly changing industry also means that customer service reps need to adopt new traits, skills, and competencies to succeed. The increase in interactions, channel diversity, and more complex needs requires reps—and their managers—to think differently about their jobs. This means training in news ways, on new ideas.

“Undoubtedly, a great rep needs compassion to understand the customer on the phone or online is an actual person—not a point of sale or a ‘time-limited’ call to rush off the phone.”—Steve DiGioia

Out-of-this-World Teams

The path to building an effective and successful customer service team may seem daunting. But the future of customer service isn’t a black hole. Our experts have provided advice and tactics to help customer service leaders, managers, and trainers lead their teams towards a better customer experience—and better work.

“Customer service leaders need to get teams on the same page when it comes to outstanding service. This means creating a shared definition of service—a customer service vision. The best visions have three characteristics: They’re easy to understand, customer-centric, and authentic.”—Jeff Toister

Download the Ebook Now!

With this ebook, your customer service team will be better prepared deliver amazing customer experiences in 2018—and beyond. There’s never been a better time to start planning for the future of customer service. Download The Future of Customer Service: Insights for the Best Customer Service Teams in the Galaxy and get started today.

 

4 Frameworks To Reinspire Sales Performance

Just last week, a sales leader told me something simple, yet profound: The best sales teams never stop learning. This may sound obvious—but after years in it can become easy to get complacent and believe we know it all. Constant improvement takes significant, ongoing effort from each and every sales rep, but the dividends it pays are, quite literally, never-ending.

In the spirit of constant improvement, here are a few ideas from well-known sales thought leaders to inspire a different way of thinking about sales in 2018:

The New ABCs of Sales

The traditional salesperson knows the ABCs of sales—always be closing. However author and speaker Daniel Pink has a different vision for the ABCs of sales. Pink suggests the new ABCs of sales should be:

Attunement—It’s immensely important for the salesperson to attune themselves to the needs, wants, and problems of the customers. This means the rep must place themselves in the lower-power position—one of listening and trying to understand where the prospect is coming from.

Buoyancy—Sales can be demoralizing. Buoyancy means internally asking, “Can I do this?” This question prompts healthy “self-talk”, where we positively encourage ourselves to face a challenge and do better work.

Clarity—Finally, it’s up to the sales rep to bring clarity to a muddy situation. A great salesperson makes sense of problems by clearly communicating about their product or service. A posture of helping the prospect solve their issues is an indicator of a great sales rep.

Pink’s ideas aren’t radically new to sales leaders—but the simplicity of his ABC model is a helpful reminder of these invaluable deal-closing tactics.

Ask Great Questions

Sales guru Rick Roberge calls himself a “trusted advisor to 21st-century sales rock stars, founders, entrepreneurs, and startup executives.” One of his most powerful insights is remarkably simple: ask great questions. Roberge compiled an extensive list of questions for salespeople to ask themselves, their teams, or their prospects to inspire better performance. Some include:

Am I missing something?
What am I best at?
What’s the question behind that question?
Are you after a lifestyle business or world domination?
Are you ahead of the competition or lagging?
Is your business on an upswing, downswing, or flat?
The full list of 100 questions is available here.

9 Rules for Inbound Selling

Brian Halligan, the CEO and co-founder of Hubspot, has been instrumental in shaping sales over the last decade. His self-proclaimed rules for selling will refocus any sales team on the basics of their craft.

Rule #1: Practice empathy for your buyer.
Rule #2: Don’t force sales on a bad prospect.
Rule #3: Simplify the customer’s buying experience.
Rule #4: Be a world-class listener.
Rule #5: Be an expert in your field.
Rule #6: Make prospect research a habit.
Rule #7: Delight your customer.
Rule #8: Embody a copywriter.
Rule #9: Connect at the optimal time.

Want to dive into these rules more? Read Brian’s full blog post.

Use Benchmarking to Inspire Performance Improvements

Benchmarking—or comparing one team or company to the rest of the industry—is often a challenge. Compiling actionable data from a large-enough sample set takes significant time and effort. Thankfully for sales teams, our friends at OpenView have done extensive sales benchmarking research. Here are some basic stats they’ve discovered from sales teams across the nation:

The average call-to-conversation rate in sales (the percentage of actual conversations that take place per call attempt) is approximately 9%.

The average lead-to-opportunity rate in sales (the percentage of leads that actually become real sales opportunities) is approximately 12%.

The average sales rep has 29 open opportunities at any given time.

In a month, the average sales rep closes 3.7 new customer deals.

These are just a few of the benchmarking stats that research teams like OpenView’s have discovered. Comparing an individual rep or an entire sales team to these numbers helps provide perspective on areas of success and opportunities for improvement. Here’s the latest benchmarking from OpenView.

Lessonly is built for the sales team that never stops learning

Lessonly’s sales enablement and training software helps reps learn, practice, and perform their skills in order to close more deals. Whether brushing up on competitors or reviewing product pricing, Lessonly’s powerfully simple interface empowers reps across the globe to do better work, faster than ever. Take a tour of Lessonly today.


The Sales Management Funnel: How to Manage A Sales Team Effectively

Sales leadership is a complex calling. Everyday looks different, and pressure to scale both team and quota is omnipresent. Among the key functions of a sales manager is the ability to design a system where their reps can succeed—and thrive.

Patrick Cameron is the Chief Revenue Officer at JumpCloud, where his sales teams sell software that helps companies manage their employee directories and ensure secure connections to the systems, apps, and networks that they use everyday. Patrick has a wealth of experience overseeing rapidly scaling sales orgs—and offered some wisdom about how to create a funnel from new hire to successful rep.

Design a Process

Countless problems cross a sales manager’s desk every week—the best sales leaders don’t just solve problems, they create processes that prevent the problems from recurring. Patrick cites the example of sales onboarding, “At the end of the day, you can get one person to be successful, right? That’s not really what you’re trying to do…the key challenge is scaling your organization.” To do this, Patrick has designed a sales management process from hiring to full productivity for his sales team.

Top-of-the-Funnel: Get the Right People Onboard

Hiring is a core function of every sales manager. Patrick considers this the “top of the funnel” to build a great sales team. But hiring is challenging, so Patrick recommends qualitative scoring and grading to guide the process. “The interviewing group, usually two or three people, pick the criteria that they think are most important for the role—then make sure that they’re quantitatively scoring the applicant based on those criteria.” The goal is to ensure that interviewers are aligned about both the applicant’s capabilities, and the skills needed to do the job.

Patrick also recommends asking a potential sales hire to demonstrate their skills. “For an SDR, that might be cold-calling or trying to move a prospect through email or phone conversations. For a rep, it’s probably more about qualification and understanding where we fit in the market and how they would present our feature set. On the account management side, it’s about escalation—you’ve got a hot customer and how do you handle them? The idea is to make it as life-like as possible so that you get a real sense of how they’re going to behave.”

Patrick also suggests discussing cultural fit with prospective employees—including communication and work styles, mission alignment, and more. He notes, “When we talk through those in a very open and honest way, we make sure that we’re clear on where we think friction might come.” This combination of quantitative grading, demonstration of skills, and cultural fit fills the top of the sales productivity funnel with talented teammates ready to offer above-and-beyond contribution.

Mid-Funnel: Build Out the Structure

The next step for a sales manager looking to help their team perform at the highest level is to build a structure where salespeople thrive. Patrick refers to this as building “lines of defense”.

“Make sure that the employee has the right places to go to ask questions and get answers before escalating to other people. How much can they teach themselves first?”

In order to create a system that promotes independent employee skill and knowledge development, Patrick suggests four sales management strategies:

Open channels for discussion
Use a software tool to create an online forum, group, or other space where employees can learn from one another, or ask questions if they get stumped. This enables employees to find the answers they need—quickly and effectively.

Set up a learning hub
Online training software helps sales teams create, retain, and distribute training and enablement content.  Ensure that this platform offers opportunities to practice pitches, new decks, and more—and cultivates feedback loops from other reps, managers, and sales leaders.

Review game tapes
Record conversations with prospects, and review them with your team. Sales managers should view this as the perfect opportunity to coach reps on best practices and effective tactics that help close deals.

Focus on sales enablement
A regular meeting dedicated to discussing sales processes, product updates, competitors, techniques, and more will do wonders for your team. Patrick suggests, “Get feedback from the team as to what topics are most pressing at the time, and figure out, ‘how can we talk through that?’”

Whatever tactics a sales leader uses to help their team improve, ensure that reps have the tools they need to do their best work—the investment pays remarkable dividends.

Bottom-of-the-Funnel: Develop a Culture

Once the right people are onboard and they’ve been empowered to succeed—what happens next? How do good teams become great ones? The answer lies in developing a culture that is compelling to employees and fosters high performance. The importance of sales management to set the tone for the rest of the team is indisputable. Patrick accomplishes this in a few different ways:

Celebrate both success and failure
Both success and failure are important to recognize with your sales team. Reviewing game tapes is a simple and effective method for sales leaders to do so. Patrick explains, “If you’ve got a recording of a real-life interaction where somebody did a really good job, you can share those across the team. It’s about cultivating or encouraging the idea that we’re learning together. Everybody screws up, it’s going to happen. Let’s learn from it.”

Cultivate coopetition
Coopetition is the marriage of cooperation and competition—a team that works together, but also pushes each other to perform at their best. Patrick uses digital signage to present leaderboards and team-wide metrics to spur rep coopetition, “I want competitive individuals who are trying to better themselves and do more. But at the same time, you want those folks to feel like they’ve got an environment where they can risk things and share things. Fostering both the competition and the collaboration is oftentimes tricky.” But, he asserts, the effort is well-worth it.

Encourage reflection
Sales reps who intentionally think about where they’ve been and where they’re going grow faster. Patrick built a system that encourages this type of reflection. “We’ve got a nice quarterly cadence around our quarterly business review process. At the beginning of each quarter, you do some self-reflection and present that to the team. Later, in your one on one, we discuss what you’re trying to do next, and what skills you need to apply.” This personal process for each rep fosters perpetual growth.

Keep learning
One of Patrick’s mentors reminded him that, “The sales world is incredibly competitive. As a knowledge worker, it’s only gonna get more competitive. So you have to really love what you do, be willing to like read about it in your spare time, and really dive into it—because that’s what’s gonna drive the level of expertise you need to be successful.” Ensuring that every member of the team is inspired towards self-improvement is a surefire strategy for a high-performing culture.

Building a high-performing sales team is no easy feat. The nature of sales management is that the work is never done—it takes intentionality from hiring to designing processes to nurturing a team culture. Patrick’s concluding advice for those who want to become visionary sales leaders?

“Figure out what your passions are and drive toward those. For me, I love building teams. I love the challenge of helping people do things they haven’t done before. So be passionate about what you’re doing, and don’t be afraid to experiment. If you see an opportunity that has elements of passion and challenge, don’t worry about getting sidetracked along the way—that sidetrack might take you where you actually want to be.”

Lessonly helps sales leaders drive high-performance
The day-to-day role of a sales manager is always shifting, and with the evolution of sales management, leaders need a tool they can count on to drive effective sales enablement, provide opportunities for practice, and help reps close deals. Forward-thinking sales leaders at hundreds of companies use Lessonly—will you be one of them? Take a tour today.

How Premiere Response Uses Learning Paths

Providing high-quality customer support for some of the nation’s biggest brands is no small task. It requires accuracy, confidence, and the ability to manage constant change across many clients and products. Premiere Response does all this—and more—with Lessonly.

As one of the nation’s leading third-party contact centers, Premiere Response’s unique scale and experience in customer support made them the perfect partner for our newest feature, Learning Paths. With ever-changing client campaigns, sophisticated training needs, and busy managers, Premiere Response had plenty of ways to use Paths in their training. Just ask Jason Aydelott, Manager of Training and People Development, to hear how Paths empowers their team to do better work.

The Power of Learning Paths

“We have used Paths with our frontline call center representatives…mostly for reinforcement training. The added scheduling flexibility provides more options in design and deployment of training. It fits in perfectly with our strategy of using content objects (small discrete pieces of training).”

Paths enables teams to design entire learning journeys, prompting employees with certain lessons at certain times. Providing employees with learning content over time, drip by drip, allows for continuous reinforcement of important skills and information. This creates flexibility and ease for learners and content creators alike:

“The ability to set specific intervals between lessons allows us to schedule and send out training at a rhythm that fits the needs of the learner. It also makes it easier to balance the needs of the business with a “just in time” learning philosophy. Managers love the ability to “fire and forget” follow-up training. They just assign a single path and know that their agents will get all of the training at the right time.”

Responding to Changing Demands with Paths

Jason and the Premiere Response team used Paths to drive a new product launch for one of their clients. Traditionally, the client provides instructor-led training and an overview on how to handle each type of call. This training usually happens about one week before the product goes to market. There’s only one problem—it’s hard to remember all the details a few weeks later when calls start rolling in. Jason notes,

“Because of the Lessonly’s rapid development workflow, it was easy for me to build a quiz and get a baseline of what knowledge the agents retained from training—and what key points they may have missed.”

Jason needed to address those knowledge gaps—and this is where Learning Paths proved game-changing. He started with four placeholders, separated by wait steps. Using Learning Paths like a training storyboard, Jason took the information he learned from the quiz in Step 1, and developed a Product Overview in Step 2 that addressed gaps in knowledge. Just a few days later, every representative had completed the Path and, just in time, the calls started to roll in.

“The representatives reported feeling more confident in taking calls than in previous launches, and had fewer questions and escalations. With Paths, Lessonly has become an invaluable tool for the spaced repetition critical in reinforcing skills and behaviors.”

This product launch was just the tip of the iceberg for Learning Paths at Premiere Response. Their team is employing Paths across the business, from new hire onboarding to follow-up training with existing reps. Jason is also using Lessonly to build out leadership training, and Paths is the perfect tool to deliver lessons at the pace of the learner, rather than overwhelming employees with countless unfinished lessons.

Premiere Response has seen an immediate impact with Learning Paths—reps are getting up to speed more efficiently and feel less overwhelmed. Even when Jason’s team encounters big changes with quick turnaround times, Paths prepares reps to accurately and confidently deliver a great customer experience. In addition it’s never been easier for Jason to design and distribute effective training content:

“By allowing me to design a Path with placeholders, Lessonly has evolved from being a great rapid e-learning development and deployment platform into being an integral part of my end-to-end development process.”

Get Started with Paths

Jason’s use of placeholders and wait steps in Paths as a storyboard for training inspired us. With his help and expertise, we’re creating a few guides for our customers to use when building their own Paths. If you’re looking for training ideas or inspiration, these guides will guide you as you put Paths to work with your own team. These guides will be freely available to all Lessonly customers via our resource Lessonly University. Stay tuned for more information on this front.

Want to hear more about Learning Paths or Lessonly? Take a tour or reach out to us. We’d be happy to chat and show you how our platform can transform your team’s training.

6 Call Center Performance Indicators To Track in 2018

Galileo was onto something when he declared, “Count what is countable, measure what is measurable, and what is not measurable, make measurable.” To that end, call center key performance indicators (KPI) are an essential measurement tool for customer support teams.

It’s inevitable that change happens to the things you pay attention to. This rings true for call center leaders who see positive transformations when they measure and track their call center efforts. However, many call centers don’t focus the right call center KPIs to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of their efforts.

If your call center data and KPIs haven’t generated insights that make a difference in your organization, then it’s probably time to create a new call center KPI list. But first, keep in mind that the most impactful KPIs should have each of these 7 characteristics:

Achievable: Setting unachievable goals is detrimental to agent motivation. Instead, set goals that challenge agents—without overwhelming them—for maximum success. KPIs should have goals that are realistic and achievable—for both agents and the entire customer support team—in order to positively impact the business.

Measurable: Each KPI should be a focused metric that is scalable over time. Look for KPIs that are measured with both qualitative and quantitative data to amplify data and trends.  

Owned: Every KPI should be managed by a specific group of managers or employees on the customer support team. When issues or questions arise, it’s clear who’s responsible for answers.

Simple: Truly helpful KPIs are simple in two different ways. First, they must be easy to understand. Every agent should know exactly what each KPI means and how their role affects it. KPIs should also be easy to track and measure without interrupting daily operations.

Strategic: Call center metrics that matter are directly tied to the organization’s objectives and goals. Every KPI should filter down from overall strategic goals to daily operations for maximum impact.  

Timely: In order to be timely, KPIs should be reported and analyzed during a time period that is relevant to the call center and overall business objectives. Sporadic reports will make it difficult to identify trends and belittle the data’s value.

Visible: Finally, all KPIs should be visible across the entire organization—not just in the call center. It’s easier to meet goals and achieve growth when every employee is engaged and aware of business goals.  

Forward-thinking organizations follow call center metrics best practices and focus on KPIs that measure agent performance, team productivity, and customer satisfaction. It’s time to stop wasting time on KPIs that don’t prompt questions or produce actions that enhance customer support and drive business success. And, because there isn’t just one KPI that can do this, it’s important to create a call center KPI dashboard that balances agent behavior and customer experience. The following call center metrics examples provide a great starting point to step up your KPI game in the new year.

Call Center Agent Performance Metrics:

Agent Turnover Rate: This KPI, which measures the percentage of agents who leave the call center to work elsewhere, should be included in every call center manager’s list of metrics to track over time. The agent turnover rate significantly impacts customer satisfaction, staff scheduling, and team morale—all of which are key aspects of a healthy call center environment.

Call Scoring: A great way to measure agent performance is through call scoring, which allows call center managers to look at individual customer interactions. These reviews make it easier to pinpoint where the team is thriving—and opportunities for improvement. While this KPI usually requires a manual process to evaluate quantitative change over time, it provides key data trends on agent efficiency.  

Call Center Productivity Metrics:

Average Resolution Time: Many call center leaders argue that this KPI is a flawed metric, but it is still useful to track. As a business grows or experiences setbacks, call centers need to understand the general trend of how long it takes agents to solve a problem. This knowledge enables managers to ask and answer questions such as “what issues customers face most often,” or “how do we train agents to quickly solve these customer issues?”

Call Abandonment Rate: Aside from failing to resolve an issue, providing bad service, or giving an incorrect answer to a customer, the next worse outcome is when a caller hangs up before they even reach an agent. This desertion typically happens because a customer reached their threshold for waiting or because they got lost in the options of an automated system. As this rate increases, customer satisfaction drastically decreases.

Call Center Customer Experience Metrics:

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): Exemplary call center teams keep constant watch of their CSAT score. To measure a CSAT, call centers directly ask customers to rate their satisfaction through a well-designed customer survey. This score is based on how happy customers are about a product, transaction, or interaction—which is essential information for any organization that wants to succeed.  

First Call Resolution (FCR): FCR directly correlates with lower customer satisfaction as it examines whether agents properly address the customer’s needs on the first call. Resolving a problem on the first call eliminates the need for the customer to follow-up, which decrease call volume and the likelihood of customer frustration. The more frustrated a customer is, the higher chance they’ll take their business to another company.

Call center support is a highly measurable activity. These examples and call center metrics definitions are just the beginning of your KPI list. Call volume, resolution rates, interaction counts, and numerous other stats should be recorded and measured to tell a compelling story about how your call center team is driving success and contributing to your company’s goals.

Improve your Call Center Key Performance Indicators with Lessonly

Call center support teams around the world use Lessonly to build and share critical knowledge that results in better key performance indicators. Lessonly combines training with your call center effeciency metrics so you’ll see a real return on agent investment. Take a self-guided tour, and see how easy it is to boost your numbers—and deliver an amazing customer experience.

5 Reasons to Revamp your Employee Training Plan for 2018

Most New Year’s resolutions revolve around dieting and fitness training. But, if you’re like most business leaders who are trying to ramp up productivity and engage employees, a more fitting resolution involves overhauling your employee training plan.

Honestly, most companies need to reevaluate their training programs. Many training efforts fail to effectively develop employee skills or provide meaningful learning experiences. As a result, thousands of employees across the globe are wasting time on inefficient training and falling short of their full productivity and potential. Here are five reasons why it’s time revisit your employee training plan template and update your training program.

Training is Too Generic

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when trying to design a training plan that serves every employee. It’s usually not beneficial to settle for a static and generic training plan for everyone from customer support agents to sales representatives. While there are a few training topics in the workplace that all employees need to know, the majority of training should relate specifically to their everyday job.

Focus on developing a training program for one role at a time to ensure employees get exactly what they need for their job. Consider simplifying the process and start with the three most essential functions needed for success in each role. The streamlined attention to detail will provide a clear path to productivity for each employee.

Training Complicates Learning

Most, if not all, training programs involve new knowledge and skills. When designing a training program for employees, it’s crucial to incorporate learning that emphasizes core functions of an employee’s job, rather than every piece of information that their role might require them to know. This reduces the likelihood of overwhelming employees with too much information. It’s also helpful to bundle essential skills into a larger group, like topic or product. Doing so makes it easier for leaders to manage and deliver training—and easier for employees to comprehend. The simpler the sample training plan outline is, the better employee performance will be.

Training Doesn’t Focus on Practice

The goal of training is to empower employees to apply newly gained knowledge and skills. If you look at different training programs for employees, the concept of practice to reinforce learning is nonexistent. The most efficient list of training programs for employees includes ongoing opportunities for employees to practice skills, refresh knowledge, and refine their craft. Identify a few items for employees to regularly revisit and rehearse so training doesn’t go in one ear and out the other. Practice, repetition, and feedback improve employee performance and drive better business results.

Training Isn’t Measured for Performance

A truly successful training program leads to improved individual and team performance. If your company’s organizational training plan template fails to accurately measure training effectiveness, that’s a major issue for everyone. It’s important to identify key objectives, and evaluate training against them. Select both business outcomes (such as demos set, average call time for resolution, etc.) and learning metrics (lessons completed and revisited, quiz scores, employee feedback, etc.) to evaluate employee and learning program success. Detailed insights are essential to determine the return on learning (ROL) and identify the strengths and gaps of the training program.

Training is Boring and Outdated

If an employee training plan is boring and relies on outdated PowerPoints and handouts, it’s time embraced modern training software. Too often, companies resist new technology. However, using software for training makes the experience both effective and engaging. Look for online training programs that are easy to access and simple to complete.

It’s worth noting that there are many types of training programs for employees. The best sample training plan for employees comes from a blend of elearning with in-person training and coaching. This combination keeps information fresh, saves time and resources, and maximizes the impact of team training.

Revamping your training plan is no small task. That’s why we made it simple for you. Lessonly’s interactive Training Plan Template walks you through a series of questions that will transform your employee training plan. Our Learn/Practice/Perform framework provides the tools needed to ensure teams have a modern roadmap to heightened productivity in 2018—and for years to come.

Turn Training Plans into Business Results with Lessonly

Lessonly has worked with hundreds of teams, across a variety of industries, as they develop their employee training plans. Our modern learning software translates important work knowledge from your employee training plan into lessons that accelerate productivity. Take a tour today, and learn how Lessonly could help your team do better work.

3 Ways to Overcome Customer Support Training Challenges

A few weeks ago, our COO Conner Burt joined CallTalk and Bruce Belfiore for a conversation about critical training challenges that hinder excellent customer service. In this discussion, Conner shared the importance of speed, access, and analytics to great call center training and agent success. This summary offers ideas to leverage training for excellent customer service.

Superior customer support starts with superior customer support training. But, what defines a good—or great—customer experience? Many companies focus on metrics like NPS or first call resolution, but as customer needs change and progress, support teams must reconsider their definition of fantastic service.

“A great customer service experience requires the removal of all obstacles so that customers can get the answer they want. It also requires agents to predict the next issue the customer may have—and address it—so the customer doesn’t have to call, chat, or email again.” – Conner Burt

Many customer support leaders recognize that training is pivotal for improving customer service. Unfortunately, training doesn’t receive the attention it deserves from busy customer support leaders. Hiring, turnover, processes, changes, and more require continuous attention from leaders—making it easy for training to get pushed aside. So, how do you overcome this challenge and create the best customer service training for your agents? Start with these three tips:

Provide Easily Accessible Training

Antiquated and ineffective training programs rely exclusively on customer service training classes. These classes involve taking agents off of the floor and stuffing them in a conference room to learn about a process change or new product While training classes might be needed occasionally—they aren’t the most effective learning tool. In-person training is expensive for remote teams, and the information often isn’t accessible after the fact—which hinders team effectiveness and adoption.

“70% of what you learn gets lost within 30 days, regardless of the way you learn it.”

Customer service training exercises should include practical follow-up and easy-access to the material. Modern learning software provides agents the ability to review training material in-between calls or throughout the day. Utilizing learning software also empowers customer service managers to go beyond the classroom and deliver ongoing agent training via the cloud.  

Tip: Creating a customer service training course outline is a daunting task. Save time with our free customer service training manual to provide consistent training to agents.

Drive Continuous Training

Training and onboarding are not one in the same. Training should be part of the onboarding process, but shouldn’t stop there. Support teams need to get new employees up and running as quickly as possible—an important factor in dynamic environments with turnover or quick growth. However, training is most effective when its continuous during the course of an employee’s career.

“Make sure training is ongoing and quick to react to whatever is going on in the support center.”

Most likely, your company and support team are frequently evolving: changing tactics, introducing innovative processes, and providing different services. Teams must be agile and quickly introduce new ideas to ongoing customer service training. Companies also need to ensure that they provide ongoing training in a way that doesn’t overwhelm agents.  

The best customer service training programs provide only the most relevant information that agents need to anticipate customer issues and provide answers.

Tip: Avoid jumping right into a new training program without a strategy. Use a free customer service plan outline to create a process for both initial and continuous training. This will help you identify the skills and knowledge agents need to learn, practice, and perform.

Measure and Improve Training

You can’t improve what you don’t measure—and training is no exception. Training provides valuable insight and data about customer service gaps and need. It’s important to identify customer service course objectives, then measure and evaluate agents throughout the training process.

“Measuring your training efforts will help you build a better program over time.”

In order to make meaningful progress, the most successful customer support teams assess where they are, where they’re going, and track key metrics along the way. While tracking training completion is beneficial, impactful measurement goes beyond that. A more nuanced way to track employee training is to gage program engagement. Look at areas of training that agents continue to revisit and spend the most time on—this will help leaders identify and measure trends of information and gaps in training. By doing so, support leaders are enabled to improve their training programs—and customer support offering.

Tip: Use an online training software that makes it easy to track and measure the ROI of your training efforts against your agents’ learning performance.  

These three customer service training tips are great ways to rededicate attention to your training program. Training that is accessible, continuous, and measurable equips agents with the knowledge and skills they need to provide excellent customer service—time and time again.

Take your customer support training to the next level with Lessonly

Are you ready to overcome your customer support training challenges? Lessonly’s online training software makes it easy for agents to access training when and where they need it. Lessonly is an essential part of customer support training for hundreds of high-performing support teams. When agents have access to the essential information they need to do great work—productivity takes off. Take a tour today, and see how Lessonly drives team learning—and exceptional customer service.