Our business is all about achieving prosperity - for us and for our customers. Our L&D strategy is also about achieving prosperity. We are about igniting and inspiring prosperity for our people and business. We want people to feel that their development needs are heard and anticipated, that they will be invested in and inspired. We also need to challenge people appropriately on their development needs. And we want people to come to us and talk to us about how we can help them prosper.

For this to happen, everyone in the business needs to know about us: what we do, what great learning opportunities are available and how to access those opportunities and request new opportunities.

So we decided to run a big internal marketing campaign, spreading the word about what we do around the business. It started in March and it has really worked. So much so that we’ve almost got more calls than we can handle! We have had over 2700 requests from across the business in the past three months, 1700 of which were about training, for example. Compare that to the 600-700 contacts we received in the first few months of operating as an independent.

In order to deal with the continual rise in requests and in order to make our service more efficient, faster and more intelligent, we are now putting in a new line of response, before our existing first, second and third lines of response. We call this new line of response “Tier zero”.

Tier zero is at the coalface and it’s here where the clock starts ticking. There is one telephone number and one email address for people to contact and everything goes through there first of all. It’s like a triage system. We wanted to take this approach in order to make our service more responsive and to free up our other lines to be more development focused and prosperous.

As well as making our service faster and more efficient, we also wanted to gain better knowledge and insights into what people want and need. Are they contacting us with a training request or because they want us to resolve a problem or issue? Or because they don’t know how to find something? We need this kind of information and we haven’t been getting it.

JamPan, our digital partner, helped us out here by suggesting a piece of software called Helpdesk. The Helpdesk software automates our service management and support function and soon, all of our queries will be channelled through it. With Helpdesk, requests are automatically allocated to experts, so that answers are given very promptly. And once an email or call hits this software, the system starts reporting on it. Soon I will know how long it takes for us to resolve a password reset, for example, or a system navigation issue or how quickly we’ve told people about their joining instructions.

I’m really excited about the new level of intelligence that we will get and what we can do with that information to make the service better. If people keep ringing up saying ‘I don’t know where my training course is,’ is there a way for us to flag that information up more clearly?

To get to this point, we had to do some analysis around the types of queries we were getting through and then map those queries into different categories – learning management requests, course requests, online course requests, performance reviews, professional development…

We mapped all of those requests out and then built out what an electronic delegate journey would look like if it moved beyond tier zero. But tier zero first. We think there are about 50 different queries that these guys at tier zero can answer. The minute an email comes in, the clock starts. “I need a password reset.” The clock ticks. The moment the password resets happens, we stop that clock. We can do that for those 50 different queries.

If the request doesn’t fit into the tier zero categories, then it goes to the front line, where we have guys with a deeper understanding of our business. Then the clock starts ticking for them. And it’s the same process – when they resolve the query, the clock is stopped and we have that reporting too.

After line two, then it becomes internal. It’s me and my team. Again, the clock is ticking, until we close it down and we can report at our end. And if we can’t fix it, then we have a third line – our external partners.

Through this Helpdesk system, we can see all the transfers and we can see the speed of the shutdowns on everything that happens.

What all of this means is that I’ve then got really good management information which I can take back to the business and say “Look at this…” I can go to our heads of business and say “Your business has asked these types of queries, this many times….Let me help you with some of that.”

Another great benefit of implementing tier zero is that it will free up the team and the front line to focus on delivering what they need to deliver, rather than the delivering of transactional stuff. Currently, the front line deal with everything and are so busy that when someone rings up saying they want to go on an Excel course, they say “Yes, let’s book that”. This will change that. What we want is for our front line people to be saying is “Great that you’re trying to book an Excel course but what are you trying to achieve here?” We need to be having developmental conversations, not transactional ones. That’s when we are enabling our front line team and our people and the business to be more prosperous. And prosperity is, of course, what we are after.