This blog is excerpted from the Performance
Matters Podcast. In the episode,
Experience Matters | A Call Center Conversion, Bob Mosher and Chris King, Chief Learning Provocateur
at CEEK LLC, discuss his latest 5 Moments project tied to the pandemic and spoiler
alert—built in just over one week.

This blog is excerpted from the Performance
Matters Podcast. In the episode,
Experience Matters | A Call
Center Conversion
, Bob Mosher and Chris King, Chief Learning Provocateur at CEEK LLC,
discuss his latest 5 Moments project tied to the pandemic and spoiler
alert—built in just over one week.

Bob Mosher (BM): We are very excited about this particular episode. We know L&D is
currently challenged like never before. As my dad always said, “There’s good in
everything”, and we’ve seen some remarkable opportunities in acceleration when
we talk to L&D leaders around what’s going on today. Which brings me to
Chris King, joining us today.

Chris, let’s get right into this, give us some background and how The 5
Moments of Need and workflow learning have worked themselves into your journey.

Chris King (CK): I’ve been in the business now for twenty-plus years, but like many people
in the training business, I was an accidental trainer. I was not working
anywhere near training, and one day my college roommate called me up and said,
“You know, I find myself the head of a training department and we’re hiring; I
miss hanging out with you and I’ll pay you $10,000 more than whatever you’re
making right now if you’ll come and work for me.”

And so, as a twenty-something, it’s like, “Uh, Yeah! When can I start?” He
said, “I think you’ll be good at this.” And he was right, it was a good fit for

Since, I’ve done a little bit of everything. I taught myself instructional
design. I’ve been an eLearning developer. I’ve been an LMS administrator. I was
doing virtual delivery when I worked at Geico back in the early 2000s so was an
“early adopter of virtual”. I then became a consultant proper in 2009.

And that’s when I first heard about The 5 Moments of Need. It was kind of
back before you were even calling it that. A colleague and good friend of mine
went to a conference and saw you and Con speak and she came back and said, “You
should really look into this because it’s interesting.”

And she was absolutely right.

It kind of rocked my world as it does with many people when they first
discover The 5 Moments of Need. I think that it has become kind of a guiding
light for me.

You know, I knew I was on to something when I took an instructional
designer to an RWA, Rapid Workflow Analysis, that I was conducting to start a
course, and she was cold on it. She had never heard of The 5 Moments of Need or
Rapid Workflow Analysis or anything like that. And I did the whole deal. When
we walked out of that workshop, my instructional designer said, “I will never
design a course another way again!”

That was so transformative for me. And that’s when I knew, we were really
onto something here with workflow learning. And so, since then, I’ve been
trying to find places to do it whenever I can. One of my challenges is that I’m
not inside a company. I don’t have a team to work with to build it from the
inside out. I’m a consultant that comes in, so I’m constantly trying to
convince people, trying to talk people into this, trying to explain to them the

BM: My gosh, between kindred spirits, it just blows me away how we have to
keep selling it. But darn it! In our industry, it’s been like turning an ocean
liner around.

Walk us into what we’re going to talk about today. Give us bit about the
comeuppance of this project and how it is different from other training
projects you’ve done in the past.

CK: The pandemic is a chance to change the way we do business. I just want to
say that out loud. It’s our chance to experiment with new things and I’ve been
encouraging everyone that I talk to, “to change the way you’re doing business.”

For this particular project, the story begins back in April—right at the
start of the lockdown.

A little background. We’re a certified implementation partner with Panviva
and they brought us this opportunity to work with a company called Maximus.
Maximus is a global outsourcing company that focuses on government-sponsored
programs and they were working with a state department of health to stand up a
contact tracing call center.

So really topical, very important work. The call center would be
responsible for notifying citizens when they tested positive for COVID-19 and
then collecting information about where they were and who they interacted with
during their infectious period. They then would also conduct outreach to anyone
who was designated as a close contact to notify them of potential exposure, ask
them to quarantine themselves, and answer questions about where they could get
tested or how they could get connected with state resources for help. So really
a meaty, great outcome, great mission-driven project to work on.

What we were up against was these kinds of calls are long and heavy on both
education and data collection. The script we received was 20 pages long and
we’re not talking about a lot of white space in there either. We’re talking
about 20-25 minutes per call on just the short ones with a lot of specialized
terminology that needed to be translated from medical to plain language.
Maximus’ hiring program focused on furloughed medical personnel to help with
the communication challenges. So, we got a big complex script, we had a long
workflow, but it was really the scale that was a little daunting as Maximus was
hiring 500 agents to staff the center.

This was 500 people that would need to, from a cold start, be able to
deliver a standard 20-page script and collect important—and I don’t think it’s
an exaggeration to say—life-saving data.

So we have a complex workflow, long stretches of scripting, huge number of
call center agents. But, Bob, let me tell you how it got “interesting.” The CRM
tool that the health department was using was still being built.

BM: Wow!

CK: They had a workflow and they had questions and answers, but everything
was in a state of flux. You know, the menus were changing all the time, the
icons they were using, so we’re shooting at a moving target for our training.

But I don’t think I mentioned—we were brought in eight days before go-live.

BM: Oh, jeez!

CK: So, for the Maximus training team this whole thing was like planning a
wedding with 500-person guestlist—in just three weeks.

BM: Yeah, wow! Perfect analogy!

CK: Yeah! So, you can imagine how everyone was feeling when you kick off a
project like that with those kinds of time constraints. The list of unknowns
was just amazingly long. And this thing had to launch on time.

What we wound up doing was create a workable performance support tool in
Panviva over a weekend. We didn’t even have a chance to actually do a Rapid
Workflow Analysis with the team. I mean, we had to take the script and the
SOP—we had access to the test environment for the CRM—and we had several
meetings with the state department of health SMEs. And that’s really what we
had to work with.

After we got through that weekend we spent the rest of the week adding
processes for software tools. We added resources for how to log into the eight
different systems the agents needed to access. And we spent the time updating
information as things changed. And then that call center went live, on time, at
the beginning of May.

BM: Wow! So what parts of the EnABLE methodology worked in this really unique
case for you?

CK: As I mentioned, there was no time to do the normal Rapid Workflow
Analysis. And I have to admit we spent a lot of time fixing things that we
would have worked out in that workflow analysis if we’d had the time to do it.

So at least we had a workflow. We were able to pull the workflow out of the
SOP. And, Bob, I know you’ve talked in the past about how in your early days as
an instructional designer, you didn’t really pay attention to workflow because
it wasn’t what you would consider learning or what you were designing.

We were forced from the beginning to focus on that workflow. Because that
was central to what we were doing.

The workflow focus of the EnABLE methodology really helped us out there. I
think we did chunking right. We never had the chance to create a proper LEAP
plan. But I did use the LEAP template to track the documents we were creating
to make sure that we didn’t leave anything out, it helped us stay organized.

You know, I think another thing that was super important to us was writing
style. Beth and Carol in The 5 Moments of Need Designer Course spent a lot of
time talking about how to write for performance and—I have to emphasize this—it
makes all of the difference, especially in this kind of call center, live
performance kind of environment. I mean, we spent most of the month of August
rewriting instructions and reducing the length of the documents to make them
more focused, short and to the point, and easy to scan.

BM: Just incredible. So, hey, friend. Huge adoption here. Right?

CK: Yeah, eight days to “train” 500 agents on a 20-page script that supported
a CRM that was still in the beta stage right in the middle of a pandemic? This
is not something that ADDIE could even envision, much less support. Right? So
typical systems training? “No way! We don’t have time for that!”

There was no way training in any conventional way could get this team on
their feet in the time we had.

So really what we did was, we said, “We’re going to put all of our effort
into building this EPSS. And then the training for your agents needs to focus
on having them trust the EPSS. Trust the performance support tool that they are
going to have. I think that’s one of the things the Maximus supervisor team did
right. Day in and day out, they told their teams, “You have to follow what it
says in the tool. You have to follow the script. You have to follow the
questions that are being set up for you. Because the CRM is changing all the
time. The questions are changing. The script is changing. Everything is

You want to talk about a “super-moment” of change? I mean, we were living
that moment of change for 5 weeks. Every day.

We were publishing stuff in the middle of the day to the tool. So, there
was no time for conventional training on this. This was, “I’m going to train
you how to use the EPSS and that’s what we’re gonna do.”

That’s all we had time for was learning in the workflow.

BM: Wow. My friend, brilliant as always. I can’t think of a better
ambassador. And we can’t thank you enough for your friendship, your partnership
in this journey, your great work, and the voice that you have become. It’s just
been wonderful.

to the full episode
to hear Chris’ advice and takeaways from the

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