For the last few years, TUI Travel have been updating the core systems used in all their stores, contact centres and overseas. Their bespoke new system, Connect, is revolutionising the way staff can interact with customers; allowing them to track holiday bookings across all distribution channels. This means that if a customer booked online, the booking can still be recalled, amended and paid for in store and vice versa. Crucially, past bookings can also be recalled, which allows staff to see customer preferences, tailor future holidays, and offer an exceptional and highly personalised service.
Such a fundamental change in customer engagement meant that any training had to go beyond merely learning how to use the new system and the correct processes to follow. It had to bring to life the new behaviours now required when engaging with customers and offer opportunities to practise these in a safe environment.
There was therefore a large amount of content, multi-faceted in nature, to be delivered to a wide and dispersed global audience (with varying technical landscapes). Moreover, it all had to be delivered quickly, in time for the planned system roll-out.
The Connect project had been running for several years when TUI approached City & Guilds Kineo for consultancy support to drive it forward. Some structure had already been put in place around the potential training requirements, but the landscape of the project had changed considerably and that left TUI rightly wanting to reflect on where they were now vs. where they wanted to get to in the near future.
Our role was to help TUI define the appropriate blend for their broad target audience, finalise and test an approach for the wider project, and set the project up right to ensure its successful delivery. This was achieved via four key phases of consultation:
- Project stock take
- Training Needs Analysis
- Blend design
- Logistics, production design & delivery
So what did these phases involve?
Conducting a ‘project stock take’ gave us enormous insight into the journey that Connect and the TUI team had taken internally before we came on board. TUI took the time to fully brief us on the vision for Connect and where it fitted into the wider campaign to transform the customer experience. They shared lots of collateral that brought this to life, as well as existing training, implementation plans and other project based materials.
Auditing and establishing an inventory of these materials not only put us in a position of knowledge, it ensured that we could make efficient use of any assets already in place. It also meant that we had a body of information which could be shared with all future team members.
Training Needs Analysis
Following this stock take, we embarked on the training needs analysis (TNA) phase. This involved working closely with TUI to explore the target audience (their age, skills sets, experience, how they like to learn etc) and define the different roles and locations impacted by Connect and to what degree. Working with the team designing and configuring the new system, we were then able to map these roles against the various transactions they would need to know, as well as any other procedural or behavioural training they required.
As part of the TNA we also researched the learning environments and technology that would be available, as well as any restrictions and considerations on learner time (for example, those working in contact centres).
The information gathered during the TNA informed the direction of the blend we recommended and the design of the elearning within it. We explored a number of approaches, but the most appropriate solution for TUI was to deliver the bulk of the learning within a face-to-face environment due to the range of technical environments and the customer focused nature of the service TUI provide.
Learners were asked to complete a small amount of elearning upfront, deliberately designed to grab attention and get them thinking about the opportunities the new system provided and the ways it might change the customer relationship. The face to face sessions which followed included a wide range of activities, such as:
- ‘Try me/ Test me’ systems training of key transactions and typical scenarios
- tutor-led exploration of the system within a ‘sandpit’ environment
- opportunities to practice using the system ‘live’ in front of peers
- role play of new behaviours required
- discussion, games and Q&A
Of course we could have relied solely on the sandpit environment and the facilitator. But the systems training provided a consistent learning experience for all attendees in various workshops and locations and also allowed for each individual’s performance to be tracked. This gave the business confidence that staff had the key skills necessary to use the new system, whilst allowing the facilitators to check if anyone required more support during the sessions. In addition, staff can revisit the systems training if they need to as a refresher before ‘go live’ and beyond. And an added bonus is that when new employees need to learn the new system, training is easily accessible outside of the classroom and the role of the facilitator can be replaced by a peer.
Logistics, Design & Delivery
Having defined the blend, we looked at the best route to take to achieve it. We had already identified the core business transactions that would be captured in the systems training but due to the pragmatic and collaborative nature of our relationship with TUI we were able to tweak this as necessary to handle the evolving nature of the system.
The ‘logistics and production design’ phase was critical to the success of the project. We prototyped early and refined our approach to ensure there was a blueprint that could be followed for the high volume of content to be produced. Smart and flexible scheduling allowed us to ramp up and ramp down as necessary.
The systems training and the face-to-face sessions which we helped design have been really well received. We believe that a key factor in this success was the partnership established between ourselves and the TUI team.
Throughout each phase we worked closely with TUI, creating an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence. Risks, concerns and expectations were openly discussed and solutions were developed collaboratively. We were a single team, turning the classic customer/ supplier relationship on its head.
We trusted each other to deliver, working collaboratively to achieve a shared goal. This allowed us to both celebrate in the success of the project with a sense of joint pride in what had been developed.
“City & Guilds Kineo were a pleasure to work with. In an ever changing system environment, they were pragmatic, informative, kept constant communication and above all, delivered a suite of training materials to our contact centre teams across four locations. The feedback from this training has been excellent, with many commenting on the very different yet engaging approach to system training. The time, effort and expertise offered by City & Guilds Kineo really set this training up to be the success it was.”