Dixons Carphone Case Study:
Tapping into the Digital Learning Talent Market at Speed For a Different Kind of Requirement

Dixons Carphone is known for its leading brands and customer service through Currys PC World and Carphone Warehouse. When it was time to support their customer service front line colleagues and managers with continuous service improvement, they wanted to do something different. Here’s how Jam Pan partnered with Dixons Carphone to do just that.
Challenge.

Dixons Carphone is focused on delivering outstanding service to its customers. As part of its Customer First framework, immersion and learning sessions on the skills and practice of great customer service were delivered across the front line teams.
The challenge now was to move beyond training into on the job performance support. Determining if customer service best practices were being embedded at all levels – not just in stores but also to colleagues in call centres, out on the roads fitting goods in people’s homes and in the repair centres. The point of any learning intervention is to get lasting behaviour change – so measurement of that was vital.

To achieve this, Dixons Carphone identified the need for an observation tool. The goal of the tool was to enable managers to observe and track customer conversations to understand how colleagues are taking customers through the journey and displaying the behaviours addressed as part of Customer First learning. At a macro level, there was a need to see the data from these conversations to identify patterns that may need further intervention and to identify best practices to share across the business. But this isn’t just a simple online survey requirement. The tool needed to process data in line with information security standards, enable data to be captured at store/location level then aggregated, and for managers to keep local copies to use for one-to-one feedback. Standard survey tools didn’t meet the requirement.

Dixons Carphone could have started to directly engage a range of potential vendors and partners to find a match. However, there were a few factors that made more challenging:
Niche requirement: This was not a standard elearning need. Talking to traditional elearning providers would likely have consumed time without getting to the right result. The Carphone team did some initial research and identified some potential options, but they were part of larger ERP systems and weren’t flexible enough, and also standard survey tools met some but not all requirements. A deeper dive into customisation options was needed. That takes time and market knowledge.

Speed to Market vs Procurement cost and effort: Understanding the tools and software market is no small task. And this one needed to be resolved quickly to keep momentum following the initial training sessions. As Mike Booth, Head of Learning Technology at Dixons Carphone put it: “We just didn’t have the time to run beauty parades, go to conferences and get to know all the potential vendors in the market, short list them and get people through procurement processes. That costs time and money and we needed to move fast.”

Approach
Dixons Carphone turned to Jam Pan to help. Jam Pan worked with Dixons Carphone to explore a range of options, exploring different tools and approaches. Jam Pan had a clear view of the requirements, and were able to quickly assess if tools met that or not, looking beyond traditional learning agencies to partners who could work with different technologies.

Jam Pan narrowed down the field of partners who could provide the flexibility and speed to market that Dixons Carphone needed. After considering a range of off the shelf options and tools, Mosquito was chosen as the partner for this Project. Mosquito had a track record of leveraging tools to create custom solutions outside of the normal elearning territory, and could move at speed. Jam Pan assessed a range of options and recommended Mosquito based on their creativity, track record and development timeframes.

Jam Pan (already a supplier to Dixons Carphone) contracted directly with Mosquito for Dixons Carphone, removing the time and cost barriers involved in adding a new vendor to their procurement list.

Mosquito built a bespoke solution using JotForm, an online form builder that was customised to meet Dixons Carphone’s specific requirements. Jam Pan supported the project, acting as a sounding board and point of escalation where needed. The project was iterative with rapid prototyping and refinement, taking a pragmatic approach to building out the solution.

Results
Delivery in days, time and cost savings: The Observation tool was developed in just 7 days, and at a very low cost compared to licensing more complex off the shelf tools, and gave Dixons Carphone the flexibility they needed and ownership of the product.
Delivery at scale, positive feedback: Over 7,000 observations were carried out in the first two months. User feedback has been very positive, with cloned versions already in place for different audiences across the business.

Local support, Macro Signaling: The tool provides a local record of the data collated so managers can have coaching and feedback sessions to work through what they observed with colleagues and give constructive feedback. It also provides a central database of all the observations completed across the business, so holistic patterns could be reviewed and see where team strengths were, and any areas for improvement. “This helps us identify hotspot areas for development and put interventions into place quickly – like an early warning system” says Mike Booth.

Responsive and Easy to use: The tool had to enable qualitative and quantitative data capture, be fully responsive for mobile use, and provide a clean and simple interface for managers – and the output did exactly that.

Streamlined procurement: No new procurement effort was required, saving in time and costs.

Benefits Delivered to Dixons Carphone:
Working with Jam Pan provided Dixons Carphone with the access to market insights and speed of delivery this project needed. On the value of partnering with Jam Pan, Mike Booth says:
“As a Learning Technologies professional you’re trying to keep abreast of the market but there are only so many hours in the day and 101 other things to do. The market changes quickly tools and suppliers come and go, trends come and go, no matter how experienced you are you can’t keep up with it all. For me the value of Jam Pan is they understand what’s out there – not just the traditional content providers, but the full spectrum of tools, platforms and niche players you should be considering, and they’re independent of any vendor so you get a balanced view.”
“Jam Pan is very pragmatic as a partner. They’ve already done the vetting and sorted the wheat from chaff. So if you go with a requirement that doesn’t fit in a certain box, they can find niche suppliers that can deliver for you. That saves us days, possibly weeks in looking for the right supplier, short listing and running beauty parades. They find niche players you may not have been aware of but are doing great work.”

“The other huge advantage with Jam Pan is you’re dealing with one supplier, they contract with the end supplier for you. We’ve made massive reductions in the overhead that goes with POs and administration. That’s the unglamourous bit of learning technology that takes time and effort for not much value, and that’s all removed”
“For me that all translates to speed to market, cost efficiency, with a partner they’ve endorsed and vetted, so it’s not like finding them on your own and taking a punt – you have that comfort factor. They stay with you through the project, so you have a direct relationship with the supplier along with support and an extra pair of eyes from Jam Pan.”

Mike’s advice to other L&D professionals looking to tap into the wider talent pool?
“I honestly can’t think of a reason why someone in my role would not use Jam Pan. It’s cost neutral, there’s nothing to lose, I can only see benefit. Whether you’re new to the game or been around a few years like me, there’s value to be had from having a sounding board, getting a broader view of the market from highly credible and trusted experts, and tapping into talent so you can hit the ground running. Jam Pan is like an extension of my core team.”

How can we help you add talent and capacity to your core L&D team on demand? Get in touch, we’d love to help.