Transforming Account Acquisition for U.S. Banking Giant

Custom Software and Custom Training Solutions

Outdated processes were costing a top-ten US bank both time and money. It’s one of countless times we’ve seen this problem ­– and one of countless times we’ve solved it.

Our approach is different and, once we got the call, both our software and our content teams got to work. Each created a part of a solution that would have been powerful alone, but they were truly remarkable together.

Results:

•  Increased employee speed to competency
•  72% decreased in time to open a new account
•  40% increase in sales when application is used

From the software side, we created an application that replaced an outdated paper system. This modern, dynamic tool helps bankers make recommendations tailored to the customer’s needs. The app also suggests “add-ons” that help customers and boost the bank’s sales. On top of all that, our software reduces the time that it takes for bankers to explain the company’s product offerings and their benefits, so the bankers can see more customers each day.

While the software team did their magic, our content team was hard at work, creating a customized training curriculum. We delivered a program that streamlined the process of working with new customers, giving bankers the confidence they need to use the new tools and close more sales, faster.

Want to learn more? Click here to read the case study.

Case Study

Find out what Unboxed solutions resulted in a 40% increase in sales.

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If You Don’t Use the Oxford Comma, Your Words Have No Meaning

Disclaimer!

We at Unboxed personally believe – nay, we KNOW – that the Oxford comma is imperative to good writing. However, many of our clients have style guides that don’t use it. Since we love all our clients, we always follow their style guides before our own.

The debate over whether the Oxford comma, also known as the serial comma, should be included in lists of three (“I ran, showered, and went to the restaurant”) has been raging for decades and shows no signs of slowing down. This blog post makes the case that it should ALWAYS be used. In short, writers, you need to be using the Oxford comma!

Why is the Oxford comma so important?

People often ask grammar geeks why they enjoy grammar. The most common response? Because there is always a right answer. Unlike the majority of our day-to-day lives, where nuance thrives and nothing is black and white, grammar is a welcome respite from this ambivalence. Its strict nature is precisely what allows us to communicate and connect with one another. Without that structure, everyone would always be confused.

With this in mind, rules like the Oxford comma need to be enforced so readers will never be left to wonder about the exact meaning of a sentence. If I write that “I’m going to the beach with Jenny, Rob and Emily,” you probably know what I mean. But if I say, as in the famous (and slightly obnoxious) example, “We invited two strippers, JFK and Stalin,” you cannot LOGICALLY know whether I’m referring to four people or two people.

The Oxford comma has to exist when you don’t need it, so it will always exist when you do need it.

Addressing common (lazy) anti-Oxford justifications

If you have a logical brain, my introduction was probably all you need to read. You can leave this page now. If you’re still on the fence, you may be thinking of one of the following common anti-Oxford arguments:

“But AP Style says…”

It’s true, AP Style does not use the Oxford Comma. Why not, you ask? Well…

“It saves space”

…It’s a space issue. The amount of space that one measly comma took up on a physical newspaper actually used to matter. Did it matter more than making sure the words themselves had meaning? Not in my opinion. But regardless, guess what doesn’t exist anymore? Newsprint. Words are now read in books (which don’t have space restrictions) or on electronic devices, which really don’t have space restrictions. Case closed.

Quick tangent: Newspapers also hated the antiquated “two spaces after a period” rule, again because it saved them space. Unwittingly, they made paragraphs look sleeker and more modern by using only one space. While their reasoning for these two stances was the same, the results were different, because one negatively affected the meaning of sentences, while the other was a positive stylistic upgrade.

“Context”

Someone told me, “Oh, come on. People are smart enough to understand what you mean based on contextual clues.” This is untrue. Context may make a sentence clear most of the time, but:

  • Even though most people can be fairly certain of my meaning, you can’t be 100% sure. You just can’t. Wouldn’t it be easier if you could just be sure?
  • The world is a big place with thousands of cultures, and English (for right or wrong) has become the closest thing we’ve ever had to a universal language. Your context in Cleveland is irrelevant to someone in Senegal. Good thing the Oxford comma is there to be a unifying force in our modern world.
  • Context is constantly shifting over time – what’s clear to a millennial is not always clear to a Baby Boomer. And that’s okay, because we can just use the Oxford comma.
“It looks too complicated”

I mean, no it doesn’t. It looks almost exactly the same, with one key difference: we know what it means. What could be more beautiful than clarity?

 

A Closing Challenge

A quick thought experiment: Find me one sentence that is objectively better without an Oxford comma. What does “better” mean? Before anything else, a sentence must be understood by its reader. If it doesn’t achieve that, all the prose chops in the world won’t matter. With that in mind, please find me a sentence missing an Oxford comma that makes more sense than its correct counterpart.

It’s okay, I’ll wait…forever.

About the Author:
Jared Booth is a Content Strategy Manager who partners with clients to strategize and build cutting-edge learning programs. He’d love to chat with you, especially if you disagree with his point of view in this blog post.

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How the Rise of AI Changes Sales Training

According to Forbes, 62% of executives believe they will need to retrain or replace more than a quarter of their workforce between now and 2030 due to digitization. Most employees won’t join your company with the skills to lead your team into the future of automation, which is why it’s critical that you’re ready to train your employees on emergent technologies.

There are plenty of upsides to automation: many companies have begun to leverage AI to better understand their customer’s behaviors and preferences so they can sell more personalized products, more accurately predict revenue, and even optimize pricing options for customers. Some companies have started to utilize AI assistants in the sales process to free up their salespeople from having to deal with mundane or repetitive tasks, allowing them to focus on increasing revenue through building relationships.

On the other side of the artificial intelligence coin is the notion that robots are taking over the world (and taking our jobs). Not everyone is excited to welcome AI into the workplace; There is a real fear about AI taking over jobs that humans can do and making certain skillsets obsolete. AI is capable of carrying out tasks within carefully delineated boundaries like recognizing certain email as spam, offering you Netflix movie recommendations, or identifying which books you might like to read according to your recent purchases – but there are things it can’t do that you can, like create human connections.

As certain sales activities have been handed over to machines, skills like empathy, decision-making, and collaboration are more important than ever. Where AI can construe predictable customer questions through an assistive chat feature, it cannot make quick judgments on gray-area situations or understand the nuances of emotions – and these are key skills when it comes to selling.

Saleshacker says that, “the more a salesperson understands the emotions invested in a sales interaction, the better her chances of successfully making the sale.”

Unboxed-blog-AI-sales-desk

 

If you’re a salesperson, you can’t succeed without the ability to talk to new people, overcome objections, build strong relationships, and make personal connections. At the end of the day, buying something is an emotional experience for both the seller and the customer and these skills are the things that separate salespeople from sales machines.

As technology continues to advance and improve, it’s important to focus on upskilling your workforce with the emotional intelligence skills they need to succeed while capitalizing on emerging technologies. Here are a couple of ways you can upskill your team:

• Offer personalized training programs that build sales and people skills to bridge the gap between automation and the emotional connection needed to make a sale.

Implement the usage of intelligent apps, AI programs, and other emerging technologies to improve efficiency and empower team members to spend more time on revenue-generating tasks than on busy work.

• Use time-tracking programs to measure each employee output. This way, your employees will be getting trained on a new program, while you pick up on their patterns, strengths, and weakness. This data can determine where an employee needs to be retrained or paired with a mentor who can help.

The future is here! Your employees should know that artificial intelligence isn’t out to hurt them, it’s here to help them work more efficiently and creatively.  Are you ready to see how personalized sales training programs can help your team build better customer relationships and generate more revenue?
Reach out today.

 

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The Rise of Training Podcasts in a Blended Learning Program

Blended learning is not just a trend— technology is being integrated into learning in all sorts of innovative ways, and that includes training podcasts.

Podcasts – digital audio series that users can download or stream – are great at distilling complex topics into digestible pieces, because their informal nature relaxes listeners. People can tune in during their commute, lunch break, or even over the weekend.

Podcasts have proven to be a wildly successful medium to interview creative experts, listen to fictional stories, learn new skills, and more. Training podcasts can be leveraged as part of a larger blended learning program to increase retention and reflection.

Let’s take a look at a few ways to incorporate them.

1. Leadership Training/Soft Skills
Training podcasts are a great way to build leadership skills and emotional intelligence because they push learners to personal reflection more than most training modalities. For instance, leaders can discuss strategies they’ve used to develop skills by giving examples of areas where those skills play a key role. Once the podcast is over, an eLearning course can prompt learns to reflect on the discussions they’ve heard and continue to grow their personal leadership toolkit.

2. Sustainment
Podcasts can also be an excellent resource for sustainment training. After completing a training program, learners’ workbooks can include prompts at 30, 60, and 90 days (or different lengths of time), so they can deep dive on key aspects of the training. At each checkpoint, learners can listen to a podcast, answer prompts to reflect on what they’ve heard, and then have a 1:1 meeting with their manager to discuss what they learned. Training podcasts are a great way to bring back key topics and dig deeper into them, so learners are reminded to incorporate key themes into everyday work.

3. Increase engagement and understanding
When added as part of a blended pre-learning program before a live instructor-led course, podcasts help get early buy-in from participants. Before a course starts, learners gain insight into the topic at hand, and then apply it once the course begins. When facilitators and company leaders get involved within the podcast, as interviewers or interviewees, it can add weight to key topics and get learners to focus even more.

Podcasts are a popular creative tool, and it’s exciting to see their applications in learning and development, since they deliver such a dynamic experience. As trends change and companies innovate, you’ll see that the organizations that embrace new tools and methods of storytelling will start to implement training podcasts as a way to make learning more creative and objective.

Need help navigating these new trends? Let us help. Schedule a free training consultation with one of our training content experts to learn how!

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ATD 2019 – Are You Ready to Take Action?

Where can you meet Oprah AND Unboxed in person? Only at the world’s largest talent development conference, of course! The ATD 2019 Conference is fast approaching, and we’re excited to join L&D professionals from across the country. Come say hello to us at Booth #1425!

Starting with the End in Mind

Once the conference is over, the question becomes, how do you take your new learnings and opportunities and really make an impact back at the office?

Consider this: without reinforcement, 50% of information is forgotten within one hour and 90% is forgotten within a week. It seems disappointing that you might walk away with only 10% of the inspiring content you hear at ATD.

If you keep that thought going, of that 10% of information that you remember from ATD, how much of that are you going to use to implement change for your learners? How much of what you implement will learners retain? And the million-dollar question, how much of what learners get trained on will impact their performance and ultimately your company’s bottom line?

Well, enough of that glass is half empty stuff! There is hope and you’ll be amazed at how easy it can be to implement the change your company needs.

The answer is simple and yet overlooked: Action-oriented learning. It’s the transfer of knowledge and ideas into real, on-the-job, actions that translate into better performing employees. Learning should never be a one-time, static event. Following the intake of new information, a learner should immediately have an action or a way to put into practice what was just learned in order to reinforce and retain that information. While this is not a brand-new idea or concept, it is difficult to put into practice for a variety of reasons including lack of buy-in, funding, or time.

Our goal for the ATD 2019 conference and training in general, for that matter, is for you and your learners to take meaningful action that will positively impact behaviors and your company’s goals.

 

Hear from Leaders at LinkedIn and Hilton

Any learning philosophy is only as good as its results. We’ll be featuring our work with L&D leaders from LinkedIn and Hilton, and the success they’ve had with action-oriented experiences to engage and challenge modern learners while driving large-scale change.

Join unboxed’s panel discussion on principles of the modern learner on sunday, may 19th from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. ET

Email hello@unboxedtechnology.com if you’d like us to save you a seat!

 

Experience a One-of-a-Kind AR Demo

We also can’t forget to mention our Booth #1425. Stop by during the expo hours to experience some of the ways we’re using AR in training today. You can also meet some friendly Unboxed team members and pick up some “action-oriented” swag.

ATD 2019 brian leach

Don’t Miss Out on All the Action

Lastly, if you haven’t yet registered, you can do that here.

Already registered? Add us to your conference agenda and be sure to come say hi to us at Booth #1425.

Whether you’re attending or not, join the conversation on Twitter by following @unboxedtech and make sure to tag us using the official conference hashtag #atd2019.

 

See you in D.C.!

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Video Challenges for Sales Teams: Uncover the Possibilities

When an organization rolls out a new product, it can take a while for the sales team to get on board. Even if they’re excited about the product itself, learning another set of features, benefits, and messaging can feel like just another thing they don’t have time for.

So, what can you do to increase speed to competency and drive excitement for a new product?

Recently, Unboxed partnered with a pharmaceutical organization rolling out a new product at a nation-wide launch. They’d been working hard for months to build marketing collateral and training to support the sales team, and they were looking to do something special to increase excitement and sustain learning beyond the launch event. They needed a creative way to prove that the sales team could execute what they’d learned in the intensive in-person and online training.

Together, we landed on what we called a “Show What You Know” video challenge. The goal was to engage the sales team’s naturally competitive drive by giving them a chance to show what they knew in a public setting—and get rewarded for it.

Here’s how it would work:

1. Learners would record a video of themselves demonstrating the training techniques they learned during training.

2. Learners would upload their best pitch to the training portal (LMS).

3. Training leaders would review each video, selecting the best pitches to share live on the portal, and sharing feedback with those that need improvement.

4. Learners would earn coins and accolades from peers and leaders.

Prior to rolling out “Show What You Know”, we created a dedicated space for the challenge inside the learning portal and even released a hype video to explain the video challenge.

Upon implementation, we saw high rates of engagement from the start, but the results were what was most surprising. The training team found that no one, not even the top performers on the sales team, was able to execute on all of the required messaging they’d learned in training. These results uncovered gaps in the training and gave leaders an opportunity to directly address those gaps, provide more practice sessions, and continue moving the team toward excellence.

As a bonus, we spliced together highlights from the best-uploaded videos to emphasize key skill areas. We bookended the videos with a skills overview, giving learners several examples of what good looks like so they could continue to practice. The challenge was a great success.

We gathered a few key takeaways from “Show What You Know”  that you may be able to apply to your own program:

• Learners may know less than they think they do. Going into the challenge, most learners reported being confident with the new product info they had learned in training. The video challenge revealed what we know to be true: that knowledge acquisition is entirely different than practical application.

• Learners love learning from their peers. After the challenge, releasing the spliced videos allowed learners to see several examples of how they could implement key skills and build a more natural approach to their sales pitch. Because these examples were from their peers, they felt authentic, relevant, and timely.

• Sustainment is key. Be strategic about when to roll out a post-training challenge. Gather your initial results, and continue to refine as you go in order to have the most impact.

Have questions about your own sustainment plan?

Need a sustainment strategy that will allow your team to identify learning gaps? Contact Unboxed today for a strategy that works for your learners.

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