Blended learning program boosts sales at Aon

An excellent customer experience and outstanding service is paramount at Aon. Customers must be properly assisted with a product that suits them. And sometimes this means offering a new, more extensive or supplementary insurance. In this way, selling a product is an expression of that good service.

For the consultants in the customer service department and their team leaders, the Faculty of Skills has developed a broad and attractive blended learning program to improve sales skills. In this case study you can read more about the design of the program and the experience of the participants.

Aon nieuw logo

Aon Affinity offers businesses, trade associations, franchise organisations and branch organisations, associations customised insurance packages. Consumers who take out this type of insurance package can contact the Aon Customer Service department with any questions or issues they may have.

Seizing opportunities

The advisers working at Aon's customer service were already experienced and good at their job. They know the products like the back of their hand and that knowledge enabled them to answer customers' questions flawlessly. But the idea of proposing a new or additional insurance policy to a customer often didn't occur to them. The consultants just didn't think about it, or found it exciting to turn the conversation around and offer a commercial product. This resulted in missed sales opportunities and major inconsistencies among the advisers. The employees who did find it easy to have a commercial conversation, and also enjoyed it, sold far more extra insurance products than their colleagues. Aon wanted to tackle these challenges. Faculty of Skills developed a blended earning program for the group of advisers and their team leaders.

Specific objectives

The target group consisted of two job profiles: advisers andctheir team leaders. Separate goals have been set for each position.

  • Advisers: get advisers into a learning mode and provide the sales skills that are important to them and the company. Help advisers transfer their new skills to their daily work.
  • Team leaders: get the team leaders enthusiastic and enable them to coach their people at work.

Advisers

Together with Aon we started with the basics: the job title for this group of employees. They used to work as Customer Service employees, but from now on they will be called advisers. More cachet and immediately a different feel to the role these individuals carry out. The core of the adviser learning program consisted of a sales training, with a live meeting and a two-week online course in TrainTool. We expanded the adviser's repertoire with sales skills and worked on the necessary self-confidence to put these skills into practice. In order to learn how to conduct good sales conversations, the participants were introduced to the GOAL method:

  • Get connected
  • Obtain information
  • Advise the customer
  • Lead to a choice

Team leaders

The team leaders play an important role. They know the team well and ensure that the objectives are being met. In order to properly coordinate the implementation in the workplace, it's important that the team leaders fully understand the program. Both in terms of the content, so they can coach the employees in their role, as well as the underlying concept. The team leaders have also acquainted themselves with the RAAK model, but the rest of the training placed the emphasis on coaching leadership. Team leaders provided the feedback for the online role play tasks carried out by the participants in Trainool. The PEER-model was used to provide suitable feedback in this instance:

  • Perception

  • Effect

  • Enter into discussion

  • Resolve

Keep it fun: Customer advice on the move

The overarching theme throughout this program was passion for sport, exercise and progress. We called the learning program Customer advice on-the-go. A lot of the focus was on making this learning trajectory attractive and fun. All activities and expressions were related to the theme to keep the participants motivated and inspired throughout the entire process.

Customer care on the move

Crucial parts of our approach

  • Involvement of senior management: The Aon management team aimed to motivate and inspire participants, for example by sharing inspiring videos and always being present at the live meetings the advisers took part in.
  • Gamification: the competition between different branches was stimulated using different challenges, for example: design your own team logo and decorate your office in your own style.
  • Personal approach: handwritten invitations by team leaders and management.
  • Fun: lots of sporting activities and gadgets. Climbing, baseball caps and water bottles.
  • Do it together: a large board with the signatures of all participants traveled from location to location to ensure everyone's participation.

The program was a truly blended learning trajectory, alternating between online practice and live role playing. This way, the relatively large group of participants, spread across multiple locations, could be trained efficiently within a short period of time. The next page gives a brief impression of the program.

The use of TrainTool

An important part of this training program was the use of the TrainTool software, developed by the Faculty of Skills. The
advisers met TrainTool twice in the program:
  • Online intake sales scan: advisers took part in an intake in TrainTool. They demonstrated their sales skills in a series of eight audio role plays. They could participate from a computer with a webcam or a smartphone. After a brief introduction, the participants got a fictional customer on the phone. They were asked to talk to the customer as they would normally do. The answers were recorded. Participants were given the opportunity to repeat the recording once. The final admission was sent to a Faculty of Skills coach, who sent the participants a written feedback report. A summary of the results of the team was also sent to the team leaders.
  • Online training bootcamp: After a workshop in which the results of the scan were discussed, the consultants started the training in TrainTool. 16 audio role plays were available and the participants were able to record themselves again. To practice they could now re-record as often as they wanted. It was also possible to ask colleagues for feedback. Finally, the recordings were sent to the team leader, who gave feedback to the employees.

Practice, practice, practice

The online scan gave advisers insight into their current options. Armed with this knowledge they went into the workshop with the right mentality. The results of the online scan were also valuable for the team leaders. Because everyone did the same scan in a short space of time, with a wide range of examples, the team leaders knew immediately at team level where there would be room for improvement.

 

The advisers have been able to practice through 16 different role plays. On average, advisers practiced role-playing 3.2 times, so in total they practiced about 50 times per person. Something you can only dream of during a live workshop!

 

The project also included a lot of personal coaching: participants received feedback from an independent coach on the online scan. Buddy groups were formed during live meetings to help each other. Peer feedback was given and received 513 times in TrainTool. By training the team leaders in coaching techniques, continuity in the workplace is guaranteed. The team leaders ensure that the subject remains top of mind, continue to inspire (new) team members and make sure that the goals are achieved.

Easy to scale up

An important advantage of online training is the scalability and therefore the international potential of the project. Aon is a global player with more than 600 offices in 120 countries. Online training and assessment contribute to a consistent level of skills. The majority of the group trained mostly online, which made the process very efficient. The team leaders are trained more intensively face-to-face, which remains a possibility if the training is rolled out further (internationally). Through this process, a relatively small group of employees can bring about a major change, which is just the start of a worldwide improvement.

Results

Ready to go

We asked advisers whether their attitude towards sales had improved. Yes, said 87%. Participants have also improved actual sales skills, 73% said. 

87%
  • Adviser
    “It's fun and educational to hear yourself again. Not only do youhear what you could do differently, but you also get to hear thepositives, which is really encouraging.”
  • Team leader
    “Fun and educational training program. Plenty of toolsto use in daily practice for the time being.”
  • Adviser
    “The GOAL-model allows you to build up a sale step by step. It enables the customer to decide for themselves whether or not to take out insurance."”
  • Adviser
    “I like the fact that I get the chance to ask questions or to answer a customer. In reality this requires some practice, but I think I picked it up quickly. Thanks for this training!”
  • Team leader
    “Great training program! Will definitely recommend.”

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Nikki Suikers
Commercial manager
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