Blended learning CRM training for 8,000 users reduced helpdesk calls by 80%


Train nearly 8,000 staff in France
Cut operating costs
Ensure key messages are consistent


Assima Cloning and Digital Assistant Suite
E-learning content
Blended learning


Content development days reduced by 70%
Two month improvement on initial plan
Support calls reduced by 70%

In order to train users and get them to accept our new CRM system, we were looking for a solution that was capable of being as close as possible to the ergonomics of the actual application.

Arjen Dijksman
Project Manager


The relationship between a user and their mobile phone is quasi addictive. A function that doesn’t work properly, trouble getting to grips with a feature, a sudden disconnection and panic sets in! SFR has factored this human data into its new and highly advanced CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. The CRM system needs to support Customer Service Reps (CSRs) to not only react quickly to a call but also be totally familiar with the mobile device the customer is using. And as we know, there are hundreds of different makes of mobile phones on the market. So the SFR system goes beyond supporting a simple customer call.

Training the CSRs equally demands far more than can be provided by the rather clunky and inflexible methods of a traditional training database. Not to mention that this method is expensive, with server costs, recurrent operations, and a training environment that needs resetting regularly… To take just one example: to provide basic training around the new ‘Collection’ module, it would take 500 man-days to set up the training database (specific system set-up, maintenance, and configuration of actual system flows). The Head of Information Systems decided to look around for alternative solutions. It soon became clear that eLearning was the best solution to skill the CSRs with the knowledge they needed, and on the job.

It was no longer just an issue of cost: there was an efficiency challenge as well. The ideal solution decided on by SFR consists of some basic training in the classroom, particularly for new recruits, which is then followed by eLearning at the person’s workstation. The training department sends out a weekly ‘booster’ which contains not only news but also tips about one of the online lessons.


Project SaFiR: This was the code name given to the CRM overhaul project in which SFR wanted to set up some highly specialized training for its Customer Service Representatives. Once all challenges were fully understood, highly detailed specifications were drafted with which to survey 4 or 5 companies about their eLearning products. “In order to train users and get them to accept our new CRM system, we were looking for a solution capable of being as close as possible to the ergonomics of the actual application.” Out of all the solutions presented to them in response to their inquiry, the IT manager, the training manager, and the SaFiR project manager unanimously chose Assima for having the best fit and solution depth.

The Assima Suite was chosen for one simple reason: it was the most complete solution, and also the one which ‘immersed’ users in their environment in the most convincing way. The solution delivered with Assima Training Suite goes much further than simple screen copies. Assima Training Suite behaves like a clone of the CRM interface, thereby enabling the CSRs to interact and explore the system.

This interactivity has been the key to the success of the Assima Training Suite at SFR. Sitting at their workstations, the CSRs train themselves on an interface that is extremely similar to their live system. They don’t just sit there and read a lesson, they have to look for – and find – all the options provided by the CRM system. The trainees learn how to use the modules at their own pace, and as a result, have a much better grasp of the features they will have to use when they start taking calls from SFR customers. They can even navigate between the different components of the CRM system (Clarify, SAP, 3270 application, intranet) in a single session! The simplicity of this blended learning implementation, the stability of the cloned training environment, and the possibility to reuse components in both recurrent and self-training mode were also determining factors in the choice made by SFR managers. Assima provided fifteen learning modules for the different phases of the SaFiR project. In the beginning, Assima staff worked with 2 SFR project managers and 2 members of the SFR training staff. The team then grew when Atos Origin / Cegos consultants joined to define the training scenarios, which were validated by the extended training teams.

After using Assima Training Suite for 3 years, we have noticed how people's mentality has changed towards this type of approach. They now understand that the eLearning scenarios (in particularly the cloned ones) do have a place in classroom training and do not impoverish human contact.

Arjen Dijksman
Project Manager

Results and Benefits

Two-month improvement on the initial plan: SFR was able to clone its CRM system before the production version was even up and running, and so could create training modules in advance. This meant that users could be trained much earlier. SFR has calculated that using Assima Training Suite worked out 3-4 times cheaper than a training database: For example, in the SaFiR WebSAP application (just one of the CRM components) the original estimate was 150 man-days to configure system interface flows, 300 man-days to run and maintain the training client (2 people working fulltime for 8 months), plus some extra time to develop Assima Cloning Suite sequences (80 man-days) bringing the total to more than 500 man-days.

In the end, with Assima Training Suite it took only 150 man-days to develop and run the training solution over the same 8 month period. And all, with a much higher training quality: SFR realized that Assima Training Suite was doing far more than the training database ever could. For example, the CTI (Computer Technology Integration) scenarios were very difficult to replicate in a training database; they would have had to link up to the phone system and then call a fictitious customer. Assima Training Suite provides a simple solution: the customer call is simulated by a keyboard shortcut, allowing the scenario to be continued. The Assima solution has been extended to other IT projects for applications and implementations as diverse as online shopping, e-procurement, time management, and project management. Today there are 20 SFR sites with lessons on 60 to 80 modules created over the last three years. Assima Training Suite provides highly efficient eLearning training thanks to its ability to clone an application. CSRs find themselves IN the interface rather than in front of it. This is why the Assima’s Solutions has been so successful at SFR.