Embedding customer service at AXA with blended learning

Learning strategies


Games & gamification

Comms & campaigns

AXA is a leading global insurance brand. In the UK, the company provides insurance to small businesses through AXA Business Insurance (ABI) based at a contact centre in Glasgow. 

The business insurance market is highly competitive and AXA saw an opportunity to differentiate itself from other providers by delivering outstanding and personalised service for its business customers. The company identified the need to empower and educate its insurance advisors on recognising opportunities to have purposeful, meaningful interactions with their customers. 

Key Challenges:

  • Minimising the impact on the contact centre
  • Flexibility of delivery using digital learning      
  • Actively applying the learning in context
  • Embedding new customer first culture
“Our aim is to move away from a transactional-based call handling culture to one where we focus on people not policies.”
Angela Davis ABI Leadership Team AXA UK

The Sponge Solution

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 in January 2017 during a special 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
“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.”
Quote Kate Nicholls
Kate Pasterfield Head of Innovation Sponge
Axa Indemnity Lane

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. 


The success of the programme is directly measurable through direct 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 over 80% for engagement, enjoyment and application on the job.

“The team at Sponge have helped us to deliver an innovative blended learning campaign for our people. The team’s creativity, professionalism and quality of the final project has made it a success. We had some fun along the way too!”
Axa Quote Tom Bailey
Tom Bailey Learning Experience Manager AXA UK

Project awards

Best use of blended learning - Learning Technologies Awards gold winner 2017

External learning solution of the year Learning Awards silver winner 2018

Best customer service programme - TJ Awards silver winner 2017

Let's talk

If you’re looking for a bespoke elearning solution that boosts your team’s skills and their confidence, give us a call on 0207 967 1696 to chat through your needs.

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