Elearning! September

2014

Elearning! Magazine: Building Smarter Companies via Learning & Workplace Technologies.

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Elearning! September / October 2014 21 training contractors, managers and other groups in order to customize communica- tions and encourage collaborations among diferent audiences. Most of these remain active and widely used for ongoing com- munications, information sharing and team collaboration. Some tribes were global and open to anyone involved in the merger. For in- stance, the "Launch Q&A" tribe was cre- ated to specifcally address questions and answers related to the launch of the "New Cricket." Tis tribe was monitored from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET for approximately 60 days following the acquisition close. While the Aio team members had overall responsibility to ensure questions were answered, very ofen Cricket and Aio em- ployees would jump into conversations to help their colleagues. In fact, Milejczak says that this tribe largely became self- sufcient within a few weeks. Today, approximately 20,000 people are members of various tribes on Cricket's Shout! social network. It has emerged to be an essential communication and collabora- tion tool for Cricket's diverse and distrib- uted workforce. TRAINING FOR QUICK SUCCESS Te Aio team identifed fve primary audi- ences for merger-related training: employ- ees of company-owned stores, employees of dealer-owned stores, Cricket customer support reps, Aio customer support reps, and other Aio employees. Tad Kozak, sales training strategy manager, and David Day- ton, customer support training strategy manager, recognized immediately that the only way to approach the training initiative was by developing core content, tools, and resources that could then be easily custom- ized to meet the needs and interests of these diverse audiences. The merger's success largely rested on the shoulders of employees (the face of the new company) to present the benefits of the business change to millions of customers. Therefore, the merger train- ing had to help employees quickly get up to speed on the differences between the AT&T and Cricket networks, learn how to migrate customers from one network to the other, and handle all associated transactions. But, just as importantly, the training had to address questions and concerns regarding the merger and introduce employees to the new company culture, inherited from Aio Wireless. "Everyone on our team had been through multiple AT&T mergers before," says Kozak. "We took lessons learned from each and combined them with new, mobile technologies to tackle this train- ing challenge." The team designed an aggressive, three-stage training strategy, which was presented to the Aio executive team prior to the acquisition close and to the Cricket executive team immediately after. After fine-tuning the content, the team tested the training with pilot audiences in early April. The merger training components, all of which were tailored to different au- diences, included: >> One day of instructor-led training fo- cusing on the new Cricket brand and culture. To supplement its small inter- nal instructor staf, Aio worked with an outside vendor to hire 38 contract instructors, many of whom were as- sociated with Wounded Warriors. "We wanted instructors who would really connect with our audiences and had the personal experience to present this change in a positive light," says Qioni Green, associate director of training. To provide ongoing support to contract trainers, the team scheduled conference calls, set up a telephone help line, and created a Shout! tribe to reinforce key points, answer questions, and share best practices and successes. >> A mobile performance support tool designed primarily for employees to use on the sales foor to rapidly access (within three clicks) the information and guidance needed to handle real- time customer questions and issues. Te tool provided high-level product and network information and step-by-step guidance for all major system transac- tions. Since the merger, this tool has been modifed and enhanced for use as an onboarding support tool. >> A library of WBTs, simulations, and detailed documentation covering compliance and privacy issues, network and device training, point of sale sys- tem guidance, and customer support. All of these detailed training resources are housed and managed in Cricket's Knowledge Base (built on Intellum's Exceed LMS technology). All content Besides involving a brand change — Aio Wireless would take on the Cricket name — the merger of Aio and Cricket would bring other major changes. Legacy Cricket customers would transition to AT&T's nationwide wireless network, which is built on international GSM standards. This meant that Cricket stores would stop ofering CDMA devices shortly after the acquisition and begin selling GSM devices. Store reps would also help customers convert to the AT&T network. Therefore, Cricket store reps, as well as cus- tomer support personnel, had to quickly acquire signifcant product, network, conver- sion and transaction knowledge to support customers and answer their questions. Addi- tionally, Aio employees needed to learn how to handle potential questions and requests from Cricket customers that might come their way. Prior to the acquisition, Aio Wireless, which AT&T launched in May 2013, operated ap- proximately 600 retail stores with approximately 5,000 employees. Today, the combined Cricket Wireless operates approximately 4,000 stores with 15,000 to 21,000 employees. (Most Cricket stores are dealer operated; store workers are employed by the dealers, not AT&T.) MORE ABOUT THE MERGER 'We took lessons learned ... and combined them with new, mobile technologies.' —Tad Kozak

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