Posts Tagged ‘customer-satisfaction’

A research study completed by the Georgia Institute of Technology found that using simulation technology in the training of customer contact agents significantly improves their productivity and effectiveness.  

The research project was independently designed and conducted by Dr. Goutam Challagalla, PhD, and Dr. Nagesh Murthy, PhD, of Georgia Tech’s DuPree College of Management. The resulting study compared conventional training vs. a simulation based training approach. Simulation training uses the agent’s actual working environment – telephone, computer, system and workspace – to teach agents to effectively listen, think, talk and type at the same time.   

“Traditional training in contact centers puts management in a Catch 22 situation,” said Dr. Challagalla. “Historically, these centers use their best agents to help train new agents, resulting in serious productivity penalties. Our research clearly demonstrates that contact centers have much to gain by using simulation based training to build new hire skills. New agents get superior training without robbing days or weeks of productive time from experienced agents.” 

“We were extremely conservative in designing the experiments,” said Dr. Murthy. “For example, at Firm ‘A,’ the training content for both groups over eight days was identical except for 1 to 1.5 hours near the end, when one group used StarPerformer[1] and the other used role playing. If simulation training had been used throughout the curriculum, the superiority of this method might have shown even greater effects.” 

The professors secured the cooperation of two Fortune 50 companies to participate in the study. The participating companies worked closely with Dr. Challagalla and Dr. Murthy to develop valid call scenario situations. Specific methodologies and metrics were designed for each company to adjust for their unique circumstances. 

Applied Study – Firm “A”

Simulator based training reduces agents’ call handing time. Post training call duration, on average, was at least 13% shorter for agents trained with StarPerformer than for the group trained with conventional role playing. Among the six call scenarios measured; the maximum mean reduction was 22% – from 215 seconds for the conventional group to 168 seconds for the simulation group – a reduction of 47 seconds.

 Simulation based training provides more uniform results when taking perceived usefulness into account. Agents from both groups who rated the usefulness of their training favorably processed calls faster after training, as opposed to agents who gave less favorable evaluations. In the StarPerformer group, those agents giving the lowest “usefulness” ratings still performed faster than agents from the traditional group who gave high marks to their training.  

 The Simulation group handled post training calls more pleasantly. The simulation group, which could listen to how they responded to calls, scored higher on Firm A’s “pleasantness” metric after training (customer satisfaction). 

Experimental Study – Firm “B”

The Firm “B” experiment focused on a single performance measure—accuracy. Participants in the StarPerformer group scored 8% higher correct responses than participants trained with role playing methods. The “accuracy gap” between the two groups increased as the complexity of the call scenario increased. In addition, the StarPerformer group gave higher ratings for usefulness than traditional training.

[1] StarPerformer was developed by Advertech, Ltd. StarPerformer is the next generation of simulation-based training.