Overview

Connect Assist is a social business, which has a specialist contact centre providing helplines and digital services to 50 clients, including the Royal British Legion and Barnardo’s.

Its clients range from charities and public sector organisations to private sector companies. Its team of 112 people offers helplines and digital services to the third and public sectors.

The Brief

Connect Assist has restructured due to its rapid growth over the past two years. As a result, it needed a tailored programme to train its call handlers in coaching skills.

In addition, the management team wanted to standardise coaching across the company’s helplines. The way coaching was being delivered to callers varied due to the diverse range of experience across the team. The company needed a core framework to standardise support given across its 16 helplines.

Holding a series of meetings with senior management to refine their objectives. We spent time at the centre’s headquarters to observe the team and gain a better understanding of its environment and challenges faced by the team.

The Solution

  • We created a bespoke three-day training programme to give call handlers theoretical frameworks and skills, and explored practical examples of how to deliver frameworks in practice.
  • We combined theory with paired exercises, case studies, individual self-awareness assessments, individual trainer feedback, discussion groups and practical group activities.
  • The course covered best practice in coaching and counselling to enhance the team’s leadership and interpersonal skills when giving feedback. We taught delegates how to be aware of their communication style and introduced them to emotional intelligence behaviours.
  • We created a formalised structure to use when helping people over the phone, which was both easy to remember and reliable, giving them the confidence to use it effectively.
  • All delegates were encouraged to carry out self-reflection processes to not only recognise their own level of interpersonal skills but also to address skill gaps.
  • We helped the team to develop a professional and personal development skills action plan to challenge them after training was completed.
  • We adapted techniques and framework theories to suit the call-based coaching and mentoring needs of Connect Assist. This included changing the OSCAR (outcome, situation, choices, actions, review) framework to achieve results required.

Return on Investment

  • Our bespoke training programme pass rate was 100%. The result resulted in a positive change in Connect Assist’s work force.
  • The training led to a reduction in call handling time across the centre’s 16 different helplines. By using the frameworks that we put in place, their call sessions were more focused.
  • A reduction in call time has led to a marked increase in the number of calls the call handlers can take, resulting in financial benefits for Connect Assist.
  • The contact centre’s Quality Assurance scores increased by around 8-10% on average in the three months following the training.
  • The OSCAR framework has since been adopted by the entire contact centre and is now used as a standard format throughout the organisation.
  • The training improved the team’s confidence and understanding.
  • The programme was valuable to the company when applying for tenders, as it’s a nationally recognised qualification.

Sharon James, Operations Director at Connect Assist wrote:

“We love working with TSW Training. They are very realistic and understanding, and have always been excellent at delivering what we need and when we need it...our training was delivered by an incredible team, who were outstanding communicators and very easy to work with. They truly got to know our team and the challenges we face day-to-day. We have been very impressed, and have already organised further management training.”