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How TIAA Transformed Its Customer Service with Learning Solutions

TIAA National Contact Center (NCC) launched a business transformation this year focused on optimizing and transforming the way in which their financial services consultants service customers. The overall initiative is to drive operational efficiency, asset growth, and an improved customer and employee experience. This, in conjunction with other enterprise initiatives, has resulted in numerous changes each month to the primary CRM and financial system called Unified Desktop, used by TIAA’s NCC consultants.

This case study represents one of TIAA's submissions for i4cp's Next Practice Awards. The winners will be announced in March and will share more detail on stage at the  i4cp 2018 Conference: Next Practices Now  (March 26 - 29 in Scottsdale, Arizona).

Business challenge

Unified Desktop, developed by TIAA’s IT team several years ago, does not have a reliable training or testing environment where large audience groups can get hands-on practice before updates are rolled out. This presents a challenging task to the learning team when trying to prepare NCC consultants for updates that are pushed to the production environment on a monthly basis.

In partnership with the NCC readiness team, the learning team has used a variety of learning solutions including online tutorials, job aids, videos, huddle guides, and other solutions, to support monthly system changes. The training cost in producing these learning solutions is high, speed to market is low, and the effect is far below satisfactory.  

At the business level, several business challenges were uncovered. Most important, call quality is not optimal as rated by their clients. The call transfer volume to the specialty line, where clients receive expert support on certain call categories, is very high. Finally, the adoption rate by consultants for important system changes is low. Consultant productivity also decreases due to time off the phone, while receiving training and communications related to Unified Desktop changes. In addition, feedback from the consultants highlighted that the learning solutions were not very effective; consultants could not retain the information regarding system changes from the learning and communication solutions provided. Feedback also indicated that when consultants needed to reference the updated content while on the phone with a client, it was not quickly or easily accessible.


The learning team, in partnership with NCC HR business partners, presented the WalkMe platform to NCC leaders as a viable solution to address the primary issues above.

WalkMe is an industry-leading company that provides a platform that functions as an electronic performance support system or EPSS. As an EPSS, the WalkMe platform is designed to improve user performance. WalkMe sits as an overlay on top of Unified Desktop and provides a variety of just-in-time performance support solutions including Walk-thrus, Shoutouts, and SmartTips. These tools sit on top of Unified Desktop which allows NCC consultants to refer to highly intuitive and targeted guidance, when needed, on the job and in the moment. The learning team is confident that by introducing WalkMe to NCC Unified Desktop, adoption and efficiency of monthly system changes will increase, and will reduce the need and reliance on expensive, stand-alone training solutions. This will also lower overall cost of adoption, increase productivity, and more importantly, help improve call quality. This implementation will also reduce call volume to the specialty line and improve consultants’ learning satisfaction.

The budgetary impacts of a WalkMe implementation required buy-in from NCC leaders to secure funding. The learning team also faced strong resistance from internal IT partners for Unified Desktop (UD) who were concerned that WalkMe might interfere with UD’s performance.

After multiple demos and presentations spanning several months to various leaders and partners, an agreement was made to conduct an IT test case to prove no interference from WalkMe to the performance of UD. The IT test phase took approximately six week, during which the team built two-to-three sample use cases for the IT team to conduct full testing on their end. 

No negative interference between WalkMe and UD was identified by the IT UD team, thus they were given the green light reluctantly to move into the formal pilot phase.

The learning team turned this opposition into an opportunity to conduct a carefully designed experiment. They conducted a pilot with clearly defined control and experiment groups, and deployed well-structured use cases across all three contact center sites, to help prove the effectiveness of WalkMe. The NCC has a total of 600 consultants, of which they selected six pilot teams totaling about 90 consultants. Among the six pilot teams, three are more experienced and three are recent new hires. The total pilot time window was two months, and within that time, they have implemented 10 use cases. Some use cases were aligned with monthly system changes to provide just-in-time support and some to help areas that have higher error rates or call volumes to the specialty line.


During the pilot, analytics showed that the usage rate of WalkMe by the pilot teams was very high. On average, each pilot consultant played 17 Walk-Thrus, saw 332 SmartTips, clicked eight Launchers, and saw 1 Shout-out. As predicted, these results are significant. Since they had a very strict pilot environment, they were able to compare multiple areas based on the use cases between the pilot and control groups.

Using the Call Quality Excellence Scores as a metric, the pilot group scored 98% vs the control group at 95.6%. For the call transfer volume to the specialty line support, the pilot group is at 10% versus the control group at 22%. The training cost reduction is also significant. For just those uses cases TIAA has implemented during the pilot, they experienced over ~$100K savings when comparing pilot and control groups. This was a direct result of the potential training cost reduction. In addition, they could have more savings from the increased productivity time and cost saved for consultants.

A survey of pilot participants received usage experience information and feedback in which it was expressed that WalkMe is a very effective and simple tool to use. Participants asked for more topics and uses cases to be added into WalkMe, to broadly address their on-the-job performance support needs while on client calls.


The pilot result was so strong that immediate endorsement was received from NCC leaders to move forward with a full implementation of WalkMe to the entire NCC. The full rollout happened on November 20 th, 2017, approximately seven-months after the tool was first brought to the attention of NCC leaders. The learning team is now focused on how to best to leverage WalkMe with NCC New Hires to supplement the formal training, since new hires are greatly challenged by similar issues.

The lack of a robust training environment to experience the most current system processes and changes, along with the agile nature of those changes, makes the information learned in the formal training setting outdated soon after consultants are released on the floor; WalkMe helps to bridge this gap, to some degree, by keeping the learning content as agile as those system updates.