Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Designing Product Training - Challenges and Solutions

About the project: We had to design an induction-product training for employees of a global bank. We had to share the history of the bank and share information about the products.

The challenges:
  1. The learner profile was diverse. We had people who had varied roles and experience. The course had to cater to the needs of a new joinee and also cater to the needs of an existing employee who has moved to a new vertical. 
  2. It was essential for the learners to not only know about the products in their vertical, but also to understand what other products the bank had to offer. While the learner is interested in understanding the products that he/she is going to deal with, why would he/she be interested in learning about the other products? The motivation to read about their products was high and the motivation to read about other products was low.
  3. The learners had to take other trainings along with this one. Therefore, 'the what is in it for me' had to be clear enough. We had SMEs sharing ocean of information. An overdose of information will kill any motivation to learn.
  4. Information had to be readily accessible. Interest levels for different topics were varied. 
  5. Through learner analysis, we knew that most people did not absorb anything during inductions and mostly learnt things on the job. 
The solutions:
  1. Since the learner profile was diverse, we ensured that product information was available a click away. Therefore, the learner can select the topics that interest them first and check the others later. 
  2. It was important to show the relevance. We had to make the learners understand why they needed to know about credit cards even if they belonged to investments. How did we do this? We told them: You are the face of the bank for your customer. Your customer sees you as the one-point contact with the bank. Therefore, if he has any queries about the bank or its products, he will ask you. In this situation, how would it look if you didn't have an answer. Wouldn't you rather be sure, confident, and helpful? We started each topic with a gain attention where a person is stuck in an embarrassing situation where he/she couldn't answer a simple query.  
  3. Our strategy was a simple one - customer-centricity. We did not list features, plans, tariffs, blah blah blah. We shared scenarios of real customers and showed them how they benefit from the product. We filtered information and ensured that only the most important information was covered in this section. We had the detailed product training for phase 2. Therefore, there was no need to include everything in this course. We ensured that we identified a common structure for all products and shared similar information. The main idea was - What kind of questions will customers ask you? And, how can you answer these?
  4. We ensured that information was available upfront. The learner can explore which ever topic she wishes from the menu page. We also ensured that the topics were relatively short, say 7-10 minutes duration. To keep the interest levels high, the testing points were also designed as customer queries.
  5. Inductions can be overwhelming for new joinees. They think they have a lot to learn and no context to learn it in. How will he remember which product to suggest if he doesn't understand the context? We defined the context right at the beginning to ensure that they absorb the information.  
With this strategy, what the ID was doing was simplifying the information to make it easier to read and understand. Imagine you have PPT with a list of products and its features and you need to show this from the customer's point of view and make it interesting and easy to read. It was a challenge which we thoroughly enjoyed. Do you have similar experiences of tackling Product Training or Inductions differently? If yes, I would loved to hear them.


Swechcha said...

This one sounds familiar :). Wonder why.

hemcoined said...

Most people did not absorb anything during inductions and mostly learnt things on the job.
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