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Key insights from Verizon’s Director of Global L&D, Cleo Scott

Case studies
Soft skills
min read
Portrait of Verizon's Cleo Scott posing in front of a yellow wall
Outdoor headshot of Cleo Scott, Director of Global Learning & Development at Verizon

Cleo Scott, Director of Global Learning & Development (L&D) for Verizon Business Services, has been with Verizon a long time. Her journey did not start in L&D, but her passion for learning is what’s kept her there. She believes that customer experience is at the heart of everything Verizon does.

In a recent webinar with Strivr, Cleo shares intimate details about Verizon’s path to a transformed customer experience using Virtual Reality training to build the empathy and de-escalation skills of call center associates.

Watch the full webinar: Elevating Verizon customer service with empathy training in VR. Here are Cleo's 4 key takeaways from the webinar:

01. Role play isn’t enough

"Most people don’t show up at work every day ready to handle an escalated customer or to be yelled at," says Cleo. But for many customer service associates, that is their day-to-day.

Before deploying VR, Verizon put on four hour, in-person workshops and leaned on role-play based exercises for customer de-escalation training. But role-play often falls short because it fails to replicate the emotional aspects of this kind of situation.

Now, instead of role playing, associates are immersed into a virtual world, where an avatar takes the place of the angry customer. Associates need to de-escalate this customer, who now has a face versus being just a voice. Associates see, hear, and feel their frustrations more powerfully, and Cleo says this was the “a-ha moment.”

02. VR makes associates more confident

VR training helped Verizon associates gain the valuable experience they need in a safe virtual environment. And the immersive aspects of the training were found to be popular with learners anxious to improve, making it a win-win for both associates and customers.

“It was huge awareness on the part of the employee of how they were showing up. I had feedback like, Gosh I didn’t realize how I was serving the customer. I think I would’ve been more irate if that’s how someone was handling my call,’ says Cleo.

In addition to self-awareness, Verizon associates felt increased confidence in handling difficult customers since they were able to practice on-demand.

03. VR could be a key piece of distance learning

As L&D teams listen and adapt to a changed world, their role is critical during this time of crisis.

“We’ve been having conversations around the change in how people feel about the way we deliver learning,” says Cleo. She believes Immersive Learning will be paramount.

“There is a shift in thinking because there is still a need for skill-building and for practice, but because we can’t be together, how might we take a technology like VR and deliver complex content to where you are?” she says.

04. VR is creating added value

Before deploying VR, in addition to the four-hour workshop, Cleo’s team assigned pre- and post-work to business leaders across the enterprise to coach their teams around the content discussed in the course. All of this added up to almost 10 hours of training time that came at a cost to the business and employee productivity.

When we did VR, we had 30 minutes of immersion around the same topic. When you start to calculate the number of employees times the number of hours, that’s significant savings for the company.

Cleo Scott
Director of Global Learning & Development, Verizon Business Services

Watch the full webinar with Cleo on demand: Elevating Verizon customer service with empathy training in VR.

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