Zenarate AI Coach Improves Sallie Mae’s Agent Training Process and Performance
"We want our customers to walk away knowing that Sallie Mae did everything in their power to get them the best resolution possible Zenarate AI Coach is key to helping us achieve that goal."
- Diane Porter, Director of Education and Instructional Design
Sallie Mae is the leader in private student lending, providing financing and expertise to support college access and completion. Sallie Mae offers products and resources to help students and families start smart in planning for higher education, ensuring opportunities to learn and dream big. Sallie Mae’s mission is to power confidence as students begin their unique journey, believing college should be affordable, equitable, and accessible for all students.
Industry: Consumer Banking
No. of Employees: 1,600
Sallie Mae’s training organization noticed that their agents were spending most of their time in the class-room with traditional passive learning, and they noticed that their active learning role-play was effective but inefficient and not scalable. They asked an aspirational question they felt might be difficult to answer: Can we make hands-on active learning efficient and scalable while reducing overall training time? Can we automate our agent certification process to take live calls, and develop confident prepared agents who can deliver superior customer experiences starting with their first call?
Sallie Mae’s AI Coach is creating efficient scalable hands-on learning, accelerating agent speed to proficiency, and reducing overall training time. And Sallie Mae’s AI Coach has automated agent certification to take live calls reducing certification time from 2.5 days to 2 hours.
Sallie Mae found the answer to their aspiration question - Zenarate AI Coach. Sallie Mae uses their AI Coach for new hire agent onboarding and tenured agent upskilling. With Zenarate AI Coach, Sallie Mae uses AI Conversation Simulation to develop confident top-performing new hire agents before their first live call and close tenured agent skill gaps. By practicing with their Sallie Mae AI Coach, agents master hyper-realistic call and chat scenarios they encounter with live customers. And training managers easily track each agent’s topic & skill proficiency and assess agent readiness to take live calls through their Simulation Scorecard & Immersion Call Listening.
Zenarate Customers Experience Proven Outcomes
Sallie Mae needed a solution that could quickly scale their best and required practices across their enterprise. Zenarate’s AI Coach helps Sallie Mae agents in learning, whether new hires mastering high impact topics they will face with live customers or tenured agents closing skill gaps, by immersing agents in real-life voice and chat simulation. Replacing agent-to-agent role-play was important to Sallie Mae, as human role-play is expensive, awkward, and difficult to scale.
Sallie Mae Partners with Zenarate to Improve Agent Training Experience
Sallie Mae’s Education and Instructional Leadership places emphasis on providing the best earning experiences for their agents, enabling agents to deliver superior customer experiences. A common challenge for training groups in large enterprises like Sallie Mae is improving agent speed to proficiency. Diane Porter, Director of Education and Instructional Design at Sallie Mae, recalls when the team noticed an opportunity to improve agent training, “When we noticed too much time and resources were being spent on classroom training, we knew that we needed a solution that would not only decrease classroom time, but allow training managers to scale skill development, and improve new hire performance so they are confident and prepared when they take their first call."
Sallie Mae needed a solution that could quickly scale their best and required practices across their enterprise. Zenarate’s AI Coach helps Sallie Mae agents in learning, whether new hires mastering high impact topics they will face with live customers or tenured agents closing skill gaps, by immersing agents in real-life voice and chat simulation. Replacing agent-to-agent role-play was important to Sallie Mae, as human role-play is expensive, awkward, and difficult to scale. Matt Wheeler, the Instructional Design Manager at Sallie Mae says, “I remember the stress of sitting in class, trying to figure out how to do an awkward mock phone call with the agent next to me. And after all the classroom time, it would take me months on the floor before I felt comfortable in my call flow. After partnering with Zenarate, we saw immediate benefits for the new hires interacting with the AI conversation simulation. Our agents are hitting the floor at a much higher level of performance then we saw previously.” AI Coach allows agents to role-play with their personal unbiased AI Coach, and for training managers to see and hear agent topic and skill mastery in the platform.
Sallie Mae’s training managers can easily assign targeted training simulations for agent skill-building, hear agent improvement through Immersion Call Listening, and see agent topic & skill proficiency through their Simulation Scorecard.
The Education and Instructional design team saw immediate improvements in their instructional efforts. Porter points out, “One of the things we were able to measure very quickly was time savings. Our previous board certification process would take every new hire through a paper test that would take 2 hours. Then the manager would spend days grading the boards and providing feedback. Now, our trainees take their boards through Zenarate. What used to take us 2.5 days takes only 2 hours.”
Today, Sallie Mae is starting to automate the agent certification process as well. “If you thought 2 hours was fast, we are starting to certify agents in 30 minutes through AI Coach’s automated simulation scorecards.” Additionally, they have been able to use AI Coach in the classroom setting to improve new hire engagement by, “delivering education skill sets in small amounts of active learning so we can break-up skill-building to review as a class.” says Porter.
Teammates engage with their personal AI Coach on high impact call scenarios they will face with live customers.
Teammates master your Best & Required Practices with their personal Zenarate AI Coach simulating a customer while providing real-time feedback.
Your Zenarate AI Coach provides a Simulation Scorecard certifying teammates who have mastered your best methods and are ready to engage with live customers as top performers.