How Fortune 1000 Company, Discover Financial Services, Innovates with eLearning

There is a fundamental shift taking place in the customer service industry as technology increasingly allows customers to self-service. And, successful brands like Discover Financial Services, a 2015 Fortune 1000 company, are working to prepare for the future with innovative training programs.

In 2013 the company began a flagship skills assessment program aimed at helping new employees in its call centers. This innovative “workers-in-training” program has been recognized with a Learning! 100 Award from ELearning Magazine for dedication to excellent customer service. The program, called Customer Service 2.0, was developed to foster specific criteria in customer service representatives, including commitment to customer satisfaction, self-sufficiency, and problem solving skills.

How the Program Maximizes E-Learning

Drawing on inspiration from Khan Academy, Discover created the program with the goal of putting learners in control of their education. They converted 70 percent of the training material from instructor-led to e-learning, with video instruction and self study components.

Learners were given a syllabus that outlined goals, expectations, requirements, and provided links to the coursework. Students could connect with one another and an advisor through an online community that facilitate discussions and question-and-answer sessions.

Rather than use a classroom teacher, the program implemented New Hire Advisors to help new staff members navigate the experience, meet goals, and complete training work. Once milestones were reached learners were provided structured on-the-job training opportunities. The advisors used assessment results, performance metrics, and observations to guide and coach e-learners.

In order to facilitate team work and not just individual learning, Discover implemented “gamification” into the program with the development of Discover Rumble. This team-based module helped engaged learners and foster friendly competition.

Results and Observations

This program clearly did well as noted by the numbers and the recognition. Training Magazine, a periodical devoted to professional development, also recognized the program with an award for “Outstanding Training Initiatives.” In an article on this e-learning program, the magazine noted the following:

  • Customer Service 2.0 trainees had improved problem-solving skills and self-direction
  • 8 percent received higher customer satisfaction scores
  • 6 percent had higher employee satisfaction scores
  • 42 percent lower employee attrition with employees who completed the program

Discover’s Customer Service 2.0 program is a prime example of how e-learning can take employee training to the next level. Gone are the days of boring hand-outs and instructor-guided PowerPoint slides. This innovation demonstrates why Discover has been recognized by several leaders in the e-learning industry.

Want more insight on e-learning? Learn from the expert, Sal Khan, in our on-demand interview!

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