How AIB and LRN built gamified training that empowered customer service staff

August 11, 2021
Carolyn Grace

The following blog post contains highlights from our case study, “Catalyzing a return to ‘customer first’: How AIB and LRN developed custom training that empowered employees to effectively resolve customer issues.” To learn more, download a copy here. 

AIB prides itself on its customer-centric approach. Whether at a branch, online, on the phone, or through their award-winning mobile banking app, the Irish bank has positioned itself to effectively support customers at every stage of their financial needs. When AIB realized its “customer first” culture was starting to erode, they decided to develop training that would re-energize employees and re-instill their confidence in putting the customer at the center of their work. 

AIB and LRN custom-developed the Customer First training program, an interactive series of gamified, online, and in-person learning that teaches employees the importance of putting the customer first—and how to do that effectively. Learners played an online game to practice resolving real-life customer complaints, watched a video about communicating clearly to customers, and attended a classroom session focused on developing soft skills for handling and resolving complaints. The program has empowered staff members across the bank and repositioned AIB culture to its “customer first” outlook. Training received a 100% employee approval rating, won several awards, and increased AIB’s overall Net Promoter Score (NPS).  

“LRN has such a creative edge. They could take an idea or concept and turn it into something great without heavily relying on us as the business to provide the exact content. That was so refreshing.” —Sarah Houlden, Customer Care Training Lead, AIB

The challenge: Empowering AIB employees and shifting the culture back to “customer first.” 

Growing anxiety from AIB staff about getting things wrong often gave way to passing on customer complaints rather than dealing with them directly. Staff also worried that logging something as an “error” meant that it looked like their mistake, which resulted in significant under-reporting of true errors. Together, these elements created barriers to successfully handling complaints within AIB—and ultimately eroded company culture.  

AIB knew they needed to get their culture back on track. They hired LRN to create a gamified training program that would empower staff to resolve cases quickly, with the customer as the focus of any solution. This posed an interesting challenge: how could LRN transform all the nuances of customer service into playful and actionable learning? 

The solution: Gamified learning that showed how putting the customer first can propel employees forward. 

LRN conducted a focus group with AIB staff members to better understand their challenges when it came to handling customer complaints. The pain points varied widely, and it was clear a training program would need to centralize the topics under a single gamified experience. That was when LRN had the idea to create a world that focused on the customer. 

The AIB Customer First training program used three key elements to teach the importance of putting the customer first: 

  • An online game focused on learning how to effectively resolve real-life customer complaints.  
  • A video emphasized the importance of communicating clearly to customers in language they can understand.  
  • An in-person classroom training enhanced the soft skills of team members who specialized in handling and resolving complaints. 

The results: Gamification education that inspired newfound enthusiasm from staff and beyond. 

The Customer First training program received a 100% employee approval rating, won three Brandon Hall awards and a Stevie award, and increased AIB’s overall Net Promoter Score (NPS). Staff widely praised both the online and classroom-based courses and participated with much enthusiasm. Most importantly, behavior from staff members changed significantly after going through the program. 

“LRN has such a creative edge,” said AIB’s Customer Care Training Lead, Sarah Houlden. “They could take an idea or concept and turn it into something great without heavily relying on us as the business to provide the exact content. That was so refreshing.” 

To ensure program content is accurate and resonant with all AIB branches, LRN has since adapted training scenarios to fit U.K. regulations and requirements. Content also includes culture nuances between the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Britain. To get the full details of the training program and its results, download a copy of the case study. 

About the Author

Carolyn Grace

Carolyn Grace is a content writer on LRN's global marketing team. Her work involves turning complex ideas into compelling stories that resonate across business segments, industries, and personas while hitting critical KPIs for traffic, conversions, and customer retention. 

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