Fostering strong customer relationships is fundamental to the mission of public and social housing providers. Effectively managing challenging interactions with tenants and de-escalating tense situations can require more than traditional training. While we may understand techniques to manage difficult situations, applying them in ‘real life’ can be a different story.
Valloire Habitat developed a practical and immersive approach: a virtual reality (VR) tool for customer relationship management training.
Valloire Habitat’s virtual reality training programme
The VR training module was designed specifically for Valloire Habitat staff members to enhance their interpersonal skills. By reproducing the real working environments of Valloire Habitat employees, it provides a hyper-realistic experience.
Images: comparing the real environment to the VR environment
Commencing in January 2023, the training is offered to all employees interacting with clients, whether in-person or administrative. 36 training sessions are currently planned, with the programme expected to conclude in July 2024. Each session involves a maximum of five participants, fostering a comfortable environment to share successes, acknowledge mistakes, and identify skills for development.
Through this initiative, employees are empowered to develop the interpersonal skills central to successful customer relationship management.
The impact of virtual reality training on customer relationships
Organised over two days, the training helps employees to navigate challenging interactions with clients and tenants. A standout advantage of VR is the ability to revisit and rework scenarios multiple times. Employees can test different approaches, experiment, and learn from their mistakes in a controlled environment.
A key element of the programme is the involvement of a professional trainer – a behavioural specialist. The trainer manoeuvres the avatar of the client or tenant. Therefore, the scenario evolves in real time based on the employee’s reactions. The trainer also adapts responses in line with educational objectives, enabling employees to work on specific skills.
The innovative approach combines the VR scenarios with discussions on theoretical concepts and personalised one-on-one coaching. Therefore, it is a comprehensive training programme adapted to the needs of each employee.
Post-training debrief and continuous improvement
Following the training, a debriefing session provides all participants the opportunity to reflect on their professional practices, discuss their feelings about the training, and think about changes to integrate into their daily work.
This reflective process is part of Valloire Habitat’s approach to continuous learning and its commitment to delivering excellent services for tenants.
Find out more about using virtual reality for customer relationship management training
This training programme is an excellent example of the integration of innovative solutions to improve customer interactions and empower employees.