Phone Coach Equipment

Case Studies

Serious phone coaching: for ultimate line safety

When lives are on the line, you simply cannot afford to take any chances. So, when Network Rail employs new Signallers it is critical that they are given the very best training; supported by first-class training facilities. The safety critical communications delivered by these individuals needs to be 100% correct, 100% of the time – there is no room for error.

There is no room for error

Before being introduced to PhoneCoach’s specialist telephone-roleplay coaching equipment, Training Team Leader, Steve Burgess, and his colleagues at Network Rail’s Workforce Development Centre in York, used call-simulators for training purposes. These built-in, cumbersome, pre-digital systems meant that training could only be held in the specified rooms and they often produced low quality, unreliable recordings. In some cases, roleplays calls needed to be repeated for a decent enough call to be assessed – which prolonged the course and reduced the time available for true attention to detail.

Starting out as a Signal Operator himself, Steve recalls the changes: from levers to buttons, from buttons to computers, and finally to touchscreen technologies.

With PhoneCoach he says,I have confidence in this portable system that can quickly be set up in any room; and give exceptional quality in a secure digital file.” Steve Burgess: Team Leader, Workforce Development Centre

A day in the life of a Network Rail Signaller

There are two primary skills that a Signaller must embody ‘like second nature’ in their critical daily work. Firstly, they must know the phonetic alphabet like it is tattooed on the inside of their eyelids. Secondly, they must have the ability to focus and concentrate at owl-like levels, audible and visibly, when relaying and receiving key signalling communications across the rail network. Lives could ‘quite literally’ depend on their precision. PhoneCoach’s state-of-the-art call-coaching equipment is designed to imitate the exact conditions of these safety critical calls. Its flexibility and portability mean that the trainers and candidates can even be in separate rooms when the roleplaying takes place. The crystal clear recordings are then saved digitally and can easily be accessed for reviewing a session, grading a call or for correcting any errors – all in a safe and non-critical training environment.

Each call is made up of three parts: 1) Determining who is calling and their role 2) Relaying the precise message/incident/instruction 3) The receiver then repeats back the message in its entirety. Only when the caller is 100% satisfied that the message has been understood can action be taken – if there is even the slightest error or doubt – the caller must start again.

“It is great to learn in a safe training environment that imitates a real-life situation.” Signaller Course Candidate

Unrivalled training expectations: Comforting if you ever travel by train

The twelve-week course involves practical and development training and, by its nature, often attracts ex-forces, police and firefighters to fill the positions. Many of these candidates comment that the level of training is higher than anything they have previously known


Creating great calls and smoother transactions

In the world of merchant services and payment solutions there is little room for error. When money is involved, be it business to business, consumer to business, local transaction or international finance, the people involved need to feel complete assurance. That’s why global payments provider, Elavon, invest heavily in training their staff to be the best that they can possibly be! Having great products is one thing, but it is people who give a business its true value.

Elavon UK has offices across Europe (Ireland, Poland, Spain, Norway & Germany)  and maintains the same level of training throughout its operation. This includes in-house relationship skills and sales courses for all of its customer-facing personnel.

In addition to the benefits of the equipment, Mandy fully understood our needs and sent over some additional telephone training information. Jenny Lloyd-Jenkins, Executive Coach and Learning & Development Manager

Out of the classroom and into the real world

Jenny Lloyd-Jenkins, Executive Coach and Learning & Development Manager for Elavon, has been using PhoneCoach’straining equipment for about four years, since it replaced their in-house technology solution. She says that the equipment has improved the success of their training programmes, and opened up new possibilities of what can be achieved during the sessions. From being restricted to a classroom structure to being able to create a realistic roleplay environment, the PhoneCoachsystem has been a real gamechanger.

Elavon marks its delegates by an internal benchmark, across a 3-month period, throughout the company. This score has been seen to rise by approximately 30% since introducing PhoneCoach.

From making sales to building customer relationships

Elavon is committed to honing the telephone skills of its sales and customer services teams to enhance their success with inbound and outbound calls. Over the past 12 months, around 100 sales staff and 200 operational staff have been trained using PhoneCoach’sequipment. The delegates come from across Europe and can be based in any of the company’s European offices.

The delegates often comment that being able to learn in a realistic roleplay environment makes the training more engaging and enjoyable, and that they feel they can gain more from the training. Listening to recordings of each other’s calls enables the whole group to get better feedback and for the trainers to be able to share best practice. This is particularly useful in teaching delegates how to use talk-track guides in a personable and interactive manner.

Facilitating training an ever-changing world…

Like many businesses, in today’s increasingly connected world, Elavon is facing changes in its working methods and behaviours. This will include remote workers across Europe in the future, and the PhoneCoach equipment is likely to become an even more critical aid to facilitating their continual learning and development.

Elavon delivers payment solutions to suit its customer’s businesses…and PhoneCoach supports them in delivering the service behind those solutions!

I felt happier trying out new things in front of my colleagues when using PhoneCoachin a safe environment Course Candidate

Turning 20,000 houses into homes – by phone!

When you are dealing with big numbers, in a busy customer service centre, covering London, Hertfordshire and the South East, it is a sizeable task to respect each new caller as an important individual. But while managing 20,000 homes and marching confidently towards its 90% ‘total customer satisfaction’ targets, the housing association, Network Homes is committed to doing just that. And to build these customer relationships effectively, they have invested in the best help available…

Aiming for a Positive First Response.

As the first point of call, whenever any of its tenants or customers have a question, query or need, each of the organisation’s Customer Services Advisors (CSAs) needs to be ever ready to smile and respond on the phone. These calls can cover anything,

from an emergency repair or tenancy enquiry, to a bit of a grumble and the ultimate goal for every single one is a swift resolution and an improved relationship.

For many years, the CSAs have been trained well above the standards normally associated with roles like these, in techniques such as creating a ‘positive first response’. They are taught the value of smiling down the telephone (try it – you’ll be amazed at the effect it has), showing empathy and taking as much time as they need to fully understand each caller’s needs. Network Homes have long recognised the importance of investing to achieve its ambitious results.

Great trainers need great equipment…

It is often said that the best training in the world is only as good as its application and that learning in a classroom can never really prepare you for the real world. Well, Network Homes recognised this too.

Until early in 2016, the organisation had always trained its CSAs face-to-face with the trainer, and under the watchful gaze of everyone else. The roleplays were hindered by self-consciousness, the Q&A’s were led by the confident, and there was very little opportunity for constructive individual feedback.

As soon as they met Mandy from PhoneCoach and she demonstrated their Alpha range of products they knew they had found the answer. Finally they had the equipment to convert a classroom into a real-world experience.

Roleplay becomes Real-Play and creates positives responses!

For Customer Services Trainer, Rachel Taylor, PhoneCoach has supercharged her material. She can now go into another room and make trial calls, out of view of the CSAs, and they can take away an MP3 of their calls at the end. The response from the customer service centre team has been enthusiastic, and the upward customer satisfaction results are confirming the positive effect.

A call for evangelic praise

For employees the world over, a training course usually means a day-off out of the office or a boring waste of their precious time. It is the job of the trainer to turn an uninterested audience into one that leaves with changed minds and a new set of skills. An even greater training course success would lead to a wave of evangelic praise and a desire to come back for more.

For PageGroup, the worldwide specialist recruitment experts, PhoneCoach has helped deliver the cutting edge which has kept its course delegates talking long after each event has finished.

A global business needs a big vision

You don’t get to be a world leader in any industry without embracing innovation, creating an enthusiastic workforce and continually seeking out better methodologies. So, when PageGroup appointed Barum Jeffries as their new Talent Development Associate Director, in 2013, it was with a clear directive to go and make a genuine difference and keep the business ahead of the pack.

PageGroup employs 15,000 in the UK, and Barum is responsible for developing sales training for all their Recruitment consultants and managers. These courses are delivered through the company’s in-house Sales Academy and cover three main areas: Building Client Relationships, Advanced Selling and Listening Skills.

Calling in the PhoneCoach

Understanding that the key to successful training is creating fun and engagement, Barum quickly produced an Ace from his sleeve and called up a company he’d used in a previous role: telephone coaching equipment provider, PhoneCoach Limited. With Alpha, their powerful roleplaying system, in his hands and inspired by PhoneCoach’s training and support materials, he has developed online business simulation and realistic roleplay environments far beyond a classroom’s restraints.

Ringing up the results

PageGroup employees now look forward to the Sales Academy courses; both those that have already attended one and those that have simply heard about them. It is fair to say that some might still approach the door with a little hesitancy, but nothing is more satisfying than seeing their fear turn into enjoyment and reading the feedback forms at the end of each day.

In fact, the only thing to top the verbal feedback for these PhoneCoach inspired sales courses is the company’s growing evidence of stronger, more productive calls as a direct result of building the course around the Alpha system.

What was the background surrounding you buying the equipment? In other words what was the business reason that caused you to look for this equipment?

We were introducing a new account management process which was to have a high focus on relationship building over the phone. We had no method of training our Business Advisors internally.

What is the target audience for the equipment?

All Business Advisors across the UK, store based colleagues working within the business to business market.

Did you explore any other solutions before buying PhoneCoach?

Yes, we looked at several options but the simplicity, flexibility & features of PhoneCoach stood out to us.

The Solution

What attracted you to the PhoneCoach system you have now?

The ability to use the system across different size groups by using more than one package when needed. The ability for someone to listen into the calls “live” as they are happening allowing for instant feedback while also recording the calls to allow us to share great examples at a later date or on the day.

How did it solve the problem?

We have been able to train our Business Advisors in groups of upto 24 which helps us keep the cost of training at a good level. Our field trainers have been able to provide a higher level of interaction with the delegates by sharing examples of good calls as well as highlighting regional differences which needed to be discussed which we were unable to plan before the workshops started.

How did you incorporate PhoneCoach on the programme?

We have used the PhoneCoach system across two national training initiatives covering 420 delegates. Every delegate has had a good level of practice at making calls as well as being able to receive calls and listen for the key elements that were discussed during the training. We have also been able to use some sound bites at our national conference to show how the training has benefited our Business Advisors.

What benefits has the equipment given
a) You, the trainer?

Greater credibility to the material, the learning experience was strengthened by the colleagues’ ability to listen back to the conversation; the trainer listening in to the calls was able to give clean feedback.

b) The delegates?

Bringing the learning to life in a fun and realistic way meant that colleagues had the confidence to go back to store and make great calls as well as identifying what they were doing well and how they can make that call even better.

c) The business?

The workshops contained four different types of customer calls and Phonecoach allowed the colleagues to practice each call in a safe environment. The increased confidence of our Business Advisors has led to a 2000% increase in outbound calls across the UK within a month of running the first series of workshops. This has grown a further 25% after the second series of workshops.

Are there any other comments you would like to make?

PhoneCoach has allowed us to give our Business Advisors real phone training for the first time, the change in confidence from the beginning of the workshop to the end is fantastic to see. The service and support we have received from PhoneCoach since purchasing the equipment has been fantastic and has allowed every workshop to run smoothly.

Simon Moyle, Dixons Retail / PC World Buisness

What was the background surrounding you buying the equipment? In other words what was the business reason that caused you to look for this equipment?

As a motor retailer we make an average of 15000 sales outbound calls a week and receive an average of 4000 inbound. Handling the phone enquiry effectively is therefore critical to our success.

What is the target audience for the equipment?

The equipment is used to train Sales and Service executives as well as dealer receptionist and the Call centre handlers

Did you explore any other solutions before buying PhoneCoach?


The Solution

What attracted you to the PhoneCoach system you have now?

The PhoneCoach system we have now has made equipment handling much easier and set up quicker with less wires and fuss.

How did you incorporate PhoneCoach on the programme?

The PhoneCoach equipment is used in three particular modules run for sales and service colleagues on effectively handling Inbound and Outbound calls

What benefits has the equipment given
a) you, the trainer?

Easier and quicker set up, also less awkward to transport

b) the delegates?

A more modern approach and less alien equipment for the younger users

c) the business?

We have been able to so far train a number of Sales, Service Executives on the group call handling process ‘Call Active’. PhoneCoach provides a fantastic transportable facility to train, listen, feedback, then practice, drill rehearse until we get it right.

Shaun Gallagher, Vertu Motors Plc

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