AXA Customer Service

Customer expectations are high. They don’t want to feel like a number, they want a personalised, individual experience that makes them feel recognised, understood, and appreciated.

But how do you inspire change in a busy customer service centre? Sponge’s answer: a human-centred blended learning solution.

Sponge worked closely with AXA Business Insurance to identify key topic areas that would focus on placing the customer first.


ABI Leadership Team, AXA UK

Angela Davis

"Our aim is to move away from a transactional-based call handling culture to one where we focus on people not policies."


Why does a blended learning approach work for embedding customer service?

Blended learning was the ideal solution for AXA because it addressed key challenges:

  • Minimising the time impact on contact centre employees
  • Flexibility of digital learning to take it anytime
  • Actively applying the learning in context
  • Embedding new Customer First culture

How do we harness blended learning to embed customer service?

Real conversations are at the heart of our innovative blended solution for AXA, called Inspiring Customer First. We worked closely with AXA subject experts to create the core content on topics including emotional intelligence and using positive language.

The programme launched during a dedicated Learning Week. There was a great sense of occasion with banners and balloons, bearing the strong brand we created for the programme. Quizzes and competitions added to the fun.

We designed daily team ‘hubs’, including a five-minute elearning module, quizzes and challenges. Insurance advisors could then try out what they’d learned during real customer calls, with coaching support from leaders and peers.

The programme included a mix of face-to-face methods and digital media to meet learner needs in a busy contact centre:

  • Peer coaching
  • Train the trainer workshops
  • Micro elearning
  • Interactive online gaming
  • Audio and video
  • Social media
  • Marketing materials
  • Incentives/ quizzes/ challenges
  • Live exercises

To end the week, learners tested their knowledge in Indemnity Lane, a bespoke digital game where they could practise customer scenarios.

To embed the learning, monthly hub sessions were held throughout the year to reinforce and deepen knowledge.



Head of Learning Strategy, Sponge

Kate Pasterfield

"What’s remarkable about this project is that it succeeds in something that is hard to achieve – bringing together the alchemy of 100% manager support, face-to-face practice and short, compelling digital activities."


Blended learning brought about customer service results

The success of the programme is directly measurable through customer feedback on an independent customer review website. After nine months, positive customer comments were up by 113% and formal complaints were down by 24%. Top-rated calls by insurance advisors rocketed by 114%.

Inspiring Customer First has also received an overwhelmingly positive reaction from the workforce with employee approval ratings at over 80% for engagement, enjoyment and application on the job.


Learning Experience Manager, AXA UK

Tom Bailey

"The team at Sponge have helped us to deliver an innovative blended learning campaign. The team’s creativity, professionalism and quality of the final project has made it a success. We had fun along the way too!"


Project awards

  • Best use of Blended Learning – Gold – Learning Technologies Awards – 2017
  • External Learning Solution of the Year – Silver – Learning Awards (LPI) – 2018
  • Best Customer Service Programme – Silver – Training Journal Awards – 2017


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