Learning Management Systems (LMS) have been a growing force within the BPO space for a number of years, but since the pandemic, their value has jumped. Rather than relying on traditional in-classroom training, cloud-based LMS systems have enabled BPOs to continue to implement their training practices regardless of the work from home period. In doing so, they have become an essential part of the BPO armory.
For both the buy-side and vendors, a functional, fit-for-purpose LMS system is a differentiator and one that delivers benefits far beyond training.
“I had never envisioned a world in which we could do training remotely with no in-person classes. But that’s where we are now. We rely depend on TalentLMS platforms to drive the theory we want to teach with some sessions remaining trained-led,” Martha Cristina Martínez, senior vender manager at US challenger bank Chime, told Nearshore Americas recently.
Training in the Remote Space
The flexibility of today’s array of cloud-based LMS systems like SAT Litmos, Degreed or TalentLMS allows for the customisation that BPOs need, explains Jennifer Wells, head of contact center services at Transcom.
The company, which employs around 28,000 agents across 23 markets, had a set of requirements that it was hard for one LMS alone to deliver on. Instead, a few years ago, Transcom entered the market to find a specialized LMS system to upgrade its previous in-house platform.
“We have created a learning ecosystem,” Wells said. “It’s very difficult to find an LMS that fits your every need. Instead we took a selection from various separate systems, using them in combination and integrating them together. We white-labeled this to Transcom University though the system we use is TalentLMS. It is completely customised to our needs.”
Transcom already had a work from home culture firmly in place prior to the pandemic, but its Transcom University system has enabled the company to continue global agent training despite, says Wells, it “now catering to a much larger audience that still does not have a return to office date.”
Microlearning areas and the use of gamification stand out as key advances that cloud systems provide. “We layered on games – real games, where agents have avatars and can compete against colleagues – that typically last six weeks and provide social learning and alternative means of agent training,” said Wells.
Gamification has helped the company increase MPS scores, reduce its attrition and improve KPIs like average handling time. Agents are also giving it the thumbs up in terms of enjoyment, she said.
Digital LMS also provide quantifiable datasets that in-person training may struggle to replicate. Mirna Bravo, VP of global training at ibex, says that the companies scalable modular system, called Training Management System (TMS), helps generate forecasts that help optimize other aspects of company operations.
“Via TMS, we collect information about every new employee from Day 1. A module we developed the Classroom Management System, include an early warning system,” Bravo explained.
“We run weekly evaluations on all agents on behaviour, performance and attendance. Agents are classified as red, green or yellow on the system, which helps us become aware of who needs additional help or who needs to stay behind after class to help get graduated. We usually budget a 10 – 15% attrition rate in each class, but this early warning system helps us to anticipate the graduation rate that we then feed to operational partners and to workforce management so they can forecast our headcount to be delivered to production.”
At Transcom, there are plans to extend the potential of these data-driven insights: “We are starting to pull a lot of data from the system. How often was this agent coached one-on-one? Did they post in the chat feed? How often did they go to the knowledge base? How often were they give attention by their manager on the platform? Our eventual aim is to come up with a blueprint on ‘how to raise a successful agent’ that will give a structure on how best to train agents, when they should begin on the phones and when they’re likely to need real-time assistance. This should lead us to understand how best to train help build the best teams we can,” she said.
What do Buy-Side Players Want?
Chime uses almost 3,000 agents to support customer services for its 12 million users. Around 70% of those agents come from vendors located in Mexico and El Salvador, says Martha Cristina Martínez. They’re all connected via TalentLMS.
For Martínez, the oversight that she receives from using a cloud-based system helps cut through administrative obstacles and provides transparency.
“LMS helps to track completion easily from our side. We don’t depend on the leadership of service providers because we can simply look at the platform,” she explained.
“As a buy-side stakeholder, we always prefer to work with a partner that has strong analytics capabilities from within its LMS — Martha Cristina Martínez
Now that Chime is looking to expand its footprint again – it will open extra sites in Jamaica, India and the Philippines within a year – key LMS demands come to the fore when selecting vendor partners.
“As a buy-side stakeholder, we always prefer to work with a partner that has strong analytics capabilities from within its LMS. We want be able to extract data easily, see insightful metrics via dashboards, and be able to see completion by site, supervisor, vendor or a number of other points. This enables us to better communicate with our vendor partners and to target training going forward,” said Martínez.
We want be able to extract data easily, see insightful metrics via dashboards, and be able to see completion by site, supervisor, vendor or a number of other points — Martha Cristina Martínez
Managing a global supply chain of vendors and service providers is no easy task. For that reason, ease of use and strong accessibility options is another must-have, she says: “We want a user friendly interface with user access levels. There are a varied parties from each sides of the partnership accessing information on the system: the learners, the trainers at each location, the training managers, the training directors and the internal development team. Each requires a different level of permission-based access. If the system does not provide this, it’s a red flag for use.”