A manufacturer of high efficiency boilers had great online training, but the learning management system (LMS) that delivered it left them wanting more. A cumbersome user experience and limited customer support sent them searching for a better way. Two years and many LMS candidates later, they found Spoke.
Lochinvar, LLC is a Tennessee-based manufacturer of high efficiency boilers, water heaters, pool heaters, and storage tanks. Their need? A better way to deliver online training for more than a thousand people a year: engineers who specify their products, end users who own them, and contractors who service and install them.
Lochinvar’s product training was solid content-wise, but their LMS got in the way of learners’ access to that content. Users said the platform was hard to navigate. Plus, it wasn’t mobile-friendly. “Everyone has a smart device these days,” said Ernie Chase, technical trainer and administrator for Lochinvar University. “We have to get the training to learners wherever they are, not just on a PC in the office.”
Now they can focus on learning instead of navigating the platform.
Enter Spoke, the simple and social learning management system. “Spoke is intuitive,” Chase said. “It’s so easy to use. Users are only two clicks away from training. Now they can focus on learning instead of navigating the platform.”
“Plus, customer service is beyond just ‘Give us your money and we’ll give you our product,’” Chase continued. “Any time we have a question, we get an answer. When we have a problem, Unboxed finds the solution. And with Unboxed, we know they’re always updating Spoke and keeping it current. It’s a moving, living thing.”
We’ve had an extremely positive experience with Spoke. The platform is easy to navigate. It’s intuitive. Nothing is buried.
Initial results indicate learners are more engaged, and LochinvarU is delighted. “It’s unbelievable,” Chase shared. “All we did was move our old content onto Spoke. Overnight, the feedback was, ‘This is amazing training!’ Once the platform issues were out of the way, people could enjoy and learn from our content. Plus, people are talking about how many Spoke coins they have. It gets their competitive nature flowing. They want to complete more courses to get more coins.”
Spoke’s reporting features give LochinvarU new insight into what content their audience wants—and uses. “We spent six months developing an interactive troubleshooter. We never knew how many people were using it, until Spoke,” Chase said. “This helps us with planning. We know what people are using, which guides our future training decisions.”
“We’ve had an extremely positive experience with Spoke. The platform is easy to navigate. It’s intuitive. Nothing is buried,” Chase said. “And we love the open communication with Unboxed.”
Digital marketing agency Create Digital needed a simple, compelling way to explain how they help brands use social media to engage customers and drive measurable results. One award-winning animation later, Create Digital showcases their creative chops and business acumen—and they do it in one minute flat.
Create Digital is a full service digital marketing firm based out of Richmond, Virginia. Create Digital began because they saw a need in the marketplace for social marketing that connects the dots between brands and people and clearly shows how social media activity impacts business results. They’ve partnered with companies like Capital One, Conde Nast, Carnegie Hall, Dominion Power, Hamilton Beach, Ralph Lauren, and Verizon FiOS.
Navigating social media is complex and nuanced, and there are a lot of players in the digital marketing arena. “Our work can be hard to explain to people who aren’t as active in the digital space. We needed a quick, visual way to explain challenges businesses face when implementing social media plans, plus convey the value of our approach to social. It was critical to show complex concepts in a simple and engaging way,” said Kendall Morris, Founder and CEO of Create Digital.
They’re a great team of creative problem solvers focused on true business objectives.
After our discovery session with Create Digital, we recommended an animation—a high-impact, attention-grabbing medium perfectly suited for storytelling and social sharing. Following our discovery work, the Unboxed and Create Digital teams worked together closely through scripting, storyboarding, and final production.
“Unboxed is a joy to work with,” Morris shared. “The team was very collaborative and responded to feedback in a timely manner. Unboxed exceeded our expectations and did so under a very tight deadline. They’re a great team of creative problem solvers focused on true business objectives.”
Create Digital’s animation is compelling, visually appealing, and concise. “The animation uses humor, fast-paced images, and a visual design that suited our brand perfectly.” And, in a world where every second matters, they tell their story in a minute.
Very well crafted and executed animation that worked within a limited amount of time to convey a strong message. It was both delightful to watch and highly communicative, while staying whimsical and fun.
The animation has been a hit. “We’ve received very positive feedback from clients, other agencies, and job candidates. We’ve heard the animation helped them better understand the complexities of our work and what makes Create Digital unique among our competitors,” Morris shared.
The animation is also an award winner. At AIGA Richmond’s GRADE7 design competition, the animation took home Best in Category—Large Business, Web and Interactive and Best in Show. GRADE7 judge Mitch Goldstein commented, “Very well crafted and executed animation that worked within a limited amount of time to convey a strong message. It was both delightful to watch and highly communicative, while staying whimsical and fun. Work like this can be flat and devoid of soul, but feeling the humanity in this piece went a long way to our decision [for Best in Show].”
A global producer of packaged foods had already embraced a new performance management philosophy. What they needed next was a way to introduce the coming changes and get employees to embrace and champion them. The Unboxed answer was a pair of quick, impactful animated videos. The first video hit the spot; it generated a record-setting number of views, got people talking, and created big-time employee excitement about the next installment.
Headquartered on the US east coast, this company employs nearly 20,000 people who work at 26 facilities in six countries. Last year’s annual sales topped $8 billion. Committed to smart growth and innovative product development for consumers, the company is equally invested in providing cutting-edge training and support for their workforce.
Changing the way 5,000 salaried employees are evaluated for promotions and salary increases is one thing. Getting those employees to feel good about the coming change—and understand its impact—brought the company to Unboxed for help crafting—and presenting—just the right message.
We started with discovery, and a lot of it. We delved into the company’s performance management program and analyzed employees’ past responses to it. We explored the program’s new content and uncovered exactly what the company wanted their employees to take away—that a person’s true value lies in more than the tasks they complete or the goods they produce. What really matters—and what the company strives to measure—is what each individual brings to the company’s culture, vision, and bottom line goals.
The process was incredibly collaborative throughout. Your team has this uncanny ability to peel back the layers and ask really insightful, thoughtful questions. That’s a real differentiator for Unboxed.
“The process was incredibly collaborative throughout,” the Head of Global Learning and Development shared. “Your team has this uncanny ability to peel back the layers and ask really insightful, thoughtful questions. That’s a real differentiator for Unboxed. You really listened and took the time—in multiple discovery and exploratory sessions—to understand who we are, our culture, where we’re going, and what we’re looking at. You push back and challenge our thought processes, give recommendations, and are really forthright with feedback. And the work is important to you. You want a superb end product just as much as we do—that’s what we’re striving for together. It’s been a great partnership.”
Following that discovery phase, Unboxed recommended a one-two punch of two-minute animated videos. The first video would define the new individual contribution concept. The second would show employees how to put that concept into action. Strategic scripting made a complicated idea straightforward and easy to understand. Hand-drawn animation gave the videos a fresh, relatable look and feel. The sequence of the two videos introduced the company’s message in stages that were appealing and easy to absorb.
The video received more hits than any other video we’ve ever sent out.
The launch of the first animation—on the company’s global intranet—brought an unprecedented level of response. “The video received more hits than any other video we’ve ever sent out. That was one of the things we were happiest to hear,” the company’s Head of Global Learning and Development told us. “We got a lot of feedback that people really gravitated to it. It was light, it was refreshing, it was pragmatic, and it made sense. And it was fun.”
He added, “One of the beautiful things you really helped us do was boil this down into something that is very meaningful in everyday language. Our goal was to create awareness and understanding about the new performance measurement program. The first video did that, and we’re looking forward to launching the second one at year end.”
“If you want something fresh, something different and engaging, then work with Unboxed,” the Head of Global Learning and Development said. “They’re really going to take the time to listen to what you’re looking for, understand who you are, and create really strong solutions that are gonna knock your socks off.”
NextWorth expanded their online electronics trade-in program to include brick-and-mortar retail partner locations. As a result, they needed to teach their retail partners’ employees how to conduct accurate product trade-ins. Rolling out a series of engaging, bite-sized training videos—plus updating the retail partner trade-in site to be more user-friendly—helped cut variance in half and ultimately netted a double-digit increase in trade-in accuracy.
Boston-based NextWorth makes recycling old electronics easy with three simple steps: Get A Quote, Send It In, and Get Paid. Customers can ship their trade-ins or take them to a local retail partner, one of which is Target. At Target, an associate inspects the device and gives the customer a quote. If the customer accepts the quote, the associate hands over a Target gift card in exchange for the device. Instant cash value–what’s not to like? In addition to being green, our friends at NextWorth are agile. When they have a strong, profitable idea, they focus and pursue it to completion quickly. That makes them an energizing client to work with.
Expanding the trade-in program from their NextWorth.com site into Target locations presented a new challenge. Rather than have an experienced NextWorth technician inspect the device after it was shipped in, a Target employee performs the evaluation and offers instant cash. That means every trade-in requires a judgment call at the point of transaction. Some products are easy for associates to identify and inspect, such as movies and games with specific titles. However, some items are difficult to identify and evaluate—take the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S for example. They’re almost identical on the outside, but have a few key differences affecting their trade-in value. More challenging trade-ins, plus too much room for associate interpretation, resulted in an inconsistent customer experience and lost revenue dollars. NextWorth came to us with a need: provide training to teach hundreds of associates how to conduct more accurate product trade-ins.
As we started to learn more about NextWorth’s business, we uncovered another issue affecting the variance at retail partner locations—not just lack of training. The partner trade-in site’s user interface (UI) did not intuitively guide and support associates through the trade-in process. We realized if the UI were more precise and had stronger visuals, much of the associate confusion would be eliminated. The NextWorth team was very open to feedback, and over the course of several meetings together, we developed a strategy that proposed a new UI. The site refresh would make it easier to identify the correct product at the point of transaction.
We studied the current trade-in process in detail and sought out the biggest challenges. Then we designed the UI updates. Once the UI was completed and tested, we scripted, shot, and embedded supplemental microlearning into the UI design. Between transactions, associates could log into the system and learn additional skills through short, video-based training courses and help windows while they were still on the sales floor—which made for a better user experience, and better training, for all.
Here are some highlights from our UI/UX design and microlearning work:
It’s easy for employees to find the right category for the trade-in item because we used a highly visual layout that doesn’t require a lot of reading.
“Does the item power on?” is the gatekeeper question. Answering “No” generates one set of questions, and answering “Yes” generates another. This makes the trade-in process quicker and more accurate, because employees only spend time on evaluation questions that apply to the device. We also added help windows to show employees how to answer the more difficult product evaluation questions.
Short training videos introduce employees to how the trade-in program works, the program’s benefits, and how to provide a great customer experience.
Quick, simple quizzes confirm understanding of how to proceed in more challenging trade-in scenarios.
Within two weeks of the site refresh, NextWorth’s variance in retail partner locations was cut in half, and their UI and training investment was paid for immediately. In the end, they achieved double-digit improvement in trade-in accuracy. On top of that, we again proved the best associate training aims for simplicity at every point. One user-friendly tool, plus supplemental training, goes a long way. And now, it’s easy for all of us to trade-in our old smartphones for the latest and greatest.
For customers in Best Buy stores, Comcast sought a way to create a more consistent and engaging experience to teach them about the benefits of XFINITY® products and services. After introducing our sales enablement tools, pilot stores achieved a 40% increase in productivity and a 60% year-over-year increase in sales.
Comcast brings exciting products and unparalleled choices to customers across America. Their state-of-the-art TV, internet, and voice services push the boundaries of innovation and creativity. Through a partnership with the complete solution in mind, Comcast Connection Specialists can sell XFINITY products from within Best Buy stores. This gives customers quick, easy access to XFINITY packages that optimize their new Best Buy devices.
Comcast needed a sales tool that could accomplish the following:
- Make the sales process more consistent. Best practices needed to be translated into an easy-to-follow, repeatable model. A consistent sales process would capitalize on winning behaviors and empower more Comcast Connection Specialists to be successful in Best Buy stores.
- Establish instant engagement. As with any sales role, Comcast Connection Specialists need to immediately break the ice, build credibility, and establish rapport. In a retail setting like this, every minute with the customer counts.
- Educate customers. To understand how a product works, most customers need a quick visual demonstration—that’s why businesses often use brochures and one-pagers. However, Comcast wanted to leave their print materials behind and introduce a more dynamic, interactive, and compelling way to teach customers about their value proposition and help them make a smart buying decision.
- Measure customer interactions. Comcast didn’t have a way to measure what happened during conversations between Connection Specialists and customers. What packages did the Connection Specialist show the customer? How long did they talk? What were the customer’s needs? Who was Comcast competing against? The Comcast team wanted a way to collect insights to drive future product training, sales, and innovation.
Comcast saw Unboxed as an ideal partner for several reasons. First, they knew we’d be nimble, quick, and responsive. Working with a firm of our size meant we would pay close attention to the project and adopt a consultative approach from start to finish.
They didn’t [just] take direction and go for it. They challenged us a bit in a good way. They really listened to the request of the sales team. That is what they delivered.
“They didn’t [just] take direction and go for it. They challenged us a bit in a good way,” said Rob Simek, Executive Director of Sales Channel Marketing. “They really listened to the request of the sales team. That is what they delivered.”
Building an interactive sales tool was new territory for the Comcast team, and they knew they needed a partner with an extensive retail background. They didn’t just need a vendor to create software—they needed a partner to advise, develop, and support the training and execution of a new experience from a retail perspective.
We teamed up with Comcast to understand their current sales process, pain points, customer needs, and Connection Specialist needs. This involved the following:
- Meeting with field representatives and visiting Best Buy stores to understand the obstacles to closing a sale
- Rapid prototyping to show preliminary designs to Connection Specialists and get their input
- Hands-on training for Connection Specialists in the pilot stores
- Observation in stores and weekly calls to gather and apply feedback and make changes
After a thorough discovery process, we applied what we learned to create the UI/UX (User Interface/User Experience) for the XFINITY Sales Tool. The app has two components:
Advisor’s guided selling tool helps a customer navigate through qualifying questions and provides a personalized product recommendation.
Advisor also uses interactive simulations to demonstrate the features and benefits of XFINITY products and services.
It was exactly what we were searching for. It made everything simple and easy to understand.
The XFINITY Sales Tool has a simple, elegant design that’s easy and fun to use. More importantly, it gets results. Pilot stores experienced a 60% year-over-year improvement in sales, and productivity climbed 40%. The app allowed Connection Specialists to effortlessly log valuable customer insights.
The app also boosted Connection Specialists’ confidence and engagement skills. Qualitative feedback indicated the iPad provided a professional appearance, making it easier to approach Best Buy store guests. They called the app a “knowledge backup” that lets them focus on the customer. They also said it drives upgrades and helps close sales faster. “98% of a transaction can be done on [the] app, the rest [can be done] after the guest leaves the store,” said one Connection Specialist.
“It was exactly what we were searching for,” said Simek. “It made everything simple and easy to understand.”