Virtual Reality

VR Soft Skills Training for Customer-Facing Employees

Industry: Education Training
VR Soft Skills Training for Customer-Facing EmployeesTrain Interior

Challenge

A broad array of companies introduce special training sessions to ensure their staff performs well, even under high-pressure situations. However, improving social skills in a natural environment is not an easy task for educators and coaches. Traditional courses generally encompass formal tuition, group work, and individual practice exercises, taking long hours and incurring increased expenses.

Our client, a large transportation company, contacted OTR to create immersive social skills training set in VR for their traveling ticket inspectors. The main goal was to improve their interpersonal communication and conflict-resolving abilities. Inspectors must act efficiently, avoiding conflict, and rely on own-initiative decisions while working in unsupervised teams.

Solution: Description and Key Capabilities

Solution:
VR training for traveling ticket inspectors
Industry:
Transportation
Technologies:
Unity, Python (voice processing)
Methodologies:
Agile
Project Duration:
2 months
Project Team:
3 Unity Developers, 3 3D designers, 2 Python Developers, 1 PM, 1 QA

Our team’s goal was to develop a practical course providing participants with an opportunity to prepare and practice their skills under 5 different passenger interaction scenarios.

The key features included the following: 

Multiple character types and models;
Individual behavior patterns for each virtual passenger;
Recognition and processing of voice replies for further analysis;
image-based
Custom CG graphics and 3D models;
Tracking accuracy
Live monitoring and scoring tools for trainers to track live performance and analyze stats;
User-friendly interactive dialogue menus.

The solution’s main aim was to cultivate situation-specific communication styles to enhance inspectors’ effectiveness while interacting with passengers.

Development Approach

To achieve those goals, our team suggested a VR simulation that would replicate real-life communication, including eye contact and facial expressions. We began with a review of inspectors’ essential daily interactions and decisions to translate them into rules to learn through a set of repeated tasks. To facilitate the development process, we relied on the Agile methodology. It also helped us introduce more results of our research on the go ensuring more realistic role‐play situations.

Based on our previous expertise, we selected the Unity engine as the perfect tool for creating true-to-life 3D interiors and exteriors of the train cars, various passenger models, and interactive objects, including ticket validators, paychecks, and more. Our team developed several passenger personality types, each one complete with individual responses and behavior patterns.

We implemented several interaction scenarios with character-specific decision points. The solution featured an interactive dialogue module and the progress scoring system. The voice recognition model built in Python converted trainees’ replies into a text. It made each session’s stats more accessible and simpler to interpret and assess.

Results

Train Ticket Inspector

The VR solution has become a significant improvement in the customer’s training plan. With VR training, the employees had significantly improved their confidence levels, leading to faster de-escalation of difficult conversations. 

Furthermore, the simulation has significantly reduced staff training costs with no decreases in quality, helping to achieve a 44% cost relief compared to onsite training. And live monitoring tools and stats help to estimate trainee’s success, define bottlenecks, and introduce improvements on the go. Trainers can access progress reports and insightful analytics from recorded data in each session.

More benefits included increased learner performance scores, 80% data retention, improved efficiency through reduced training hours, and less time spent away from work. Consequently, the immersive solution is now used for inspectors’ proficiency maintenance and faster onboarding of new employees. 

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