Building a Software Training Environment in a Day

Rob Wright
July 2021 - 5 minute read

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"If only we had a software training environment..."

We've heard those words many times from contact centers aiming to increase agent software proficiency. 

 

But from a training perspective, if your company is planning to develop a dedicated software training environment, you may want to first weigh the pros and cons of paying for, maintaining, and utilizing a sandbox environment.

By contrast, high-fidelity software simulations can be developed and deployed in as little as one day. But first a few words on training environments. 

The Trouble with Training Environments

Earlier in the year we conducted interviews with a number of Fortune 1000 contact center leader. The topic of software training environments came up as a sore spot on multiple fronts. As one VP of Operations put it: 
 

Our associates kept telling us they wanted a ‘sandbox’ to play in. But configuring the environment, creating training data, managing user permissions, and resetting the system every day is tough. And then when you're done, you still don't have any 'training' because you have to design and delivered classes ‘around’ the training environment.
 

Put another way, before you ask your IT team for a sandbox, take a quick inventory of the costs and level of effort to implement the following: 

  • Will there be licensing costs (e.g. Salesforce) for your training environment? 

  • When system changes are made, how soon will they be deployed to the training environment? 

  • Will user access management be automated? If now, how will user permissions and login info be managed? 

  • What is the process for developing and loading fake/training data for use by employees? 

  • Will our training environment capture any kind of proficiency data to track learner progress? 

  • Will training environment activity be synced to a LMS or other master system of record?
     

Software Training Environment in a Day

Instead of investing in a full software training environment – which can cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for larger organizations – many companies are choosing instead to use new immersive technologies to build high-fidelity simulations that both provided system interactivity and deliver training content at the same time. 
 

In addition to giving learners practice, this approach had one additional benefit over a training environment: the simulation captured system proficiency data that showed leadership which associates needed more practice before hitting the floor. The takeaway?

If you're not familiar with system simulations, the build process usually goes something like this: 

   

CAPTURE: 

This process includes capturing screenshots as well as other information about your software/CRM's software configuration. If you have a system SME, they can often get what you need for your first software simulation in 60 minutes or less. The beauty of this stage? You do not need anyone from IT to help gather the simulation components.

TEMPLATIZE: 

Next, your team should quickly analyze the components of the software that are most frequently used vs. those that are less important/used. In our experience, most system transactions utilize the same 80-90% of software features. Once you've identified this, you can use this info to 'templatize' your software simulations for future use. For example, button or drop down styles, font types, and search bar formats can all be set for quick future re-use.

SET METRICS: 

Above we talked about how one problem with training environments is that they don't capture data to confirm learners are building true proficiency. By comparison, strong simulation software lets you set transaction proficiency time targets, click flow accuracy, data quality, and other similar factors. Thinking about proficiency and setting appropriate metrics is part and parcel of designing an experience that lets learners crawl, walk, and then run toward system mastery. 

DEPLOY TO LEARNER:

The entire process above can take as little as 2 hours to design and build high-quality, on-strategy content that's ready for learners to start using. 

Sound difficult? It really isn't once you've seen it done once or twice. If you're interested in learning more about how immersive learning and software simulations can help reduce training costs and grow agent productivity in your contact center, click the link below!