Setting the scene

When it comes to training staff, it can be difficult to properly prepare them for real life scenarios and face-to-face customer interactions.

They will have less time to think, less time to respond and will ultimately be held directly accountable for the impact they have on each shopper’s wellbeing.
The best way to learn is always to do, but what happens when you can’t afford for employees to make mistakes? Facing this dilemma, O2 turned to The Creative Engine to help them transform thier staff training approach from the ground-up with a realistic simulation.

A new way to train

Having already successfully delivered a similar solution for Dixons Carphone, we opted for the same approach for O2. The simulated learning would provide staff with an immersive experience, without the stress and time pressures of the real shopfloor.

One of the larger challenges was the need to have it integrated with, and hosted on, O2’s existing learning management system (LMS). Backwards compatibility was a key focus – as much of the existing infrastructure ran using Internet Explorer 8.

Through close collaboration we identified the key areas each module needed to focus on, and agreed on the best way to present the various options to learners.

Every step of the way

The training consisted of 4 modules, each designed with a specific job role in mind, tackling common problems and more complex customer interactions.
What’s more, the modules together formed a sequence that represented the key steps in each customer’s journey, from entrance to sale.

‘Welcome Me’ was specifically designed for in-store greeting staff, with a focus on dealing with multiple customers at once, and acting as a signpost for those who are lost.

‘Understand Me’ focused on equipping staff with the skills to prompt and identify the specific needs of a customer, then hand them over to the appropriate expert.

‘Guide Me’ had a strong focus on product knowledge, in order to help each customer select the right product for them, and provide gentle guidance when required.

‘Making It Easy’ equipped staff with the ability to help customers get the most out of their products, including advanced features, as well as tips and tricks to make things easier – including the occasional app recommendation.

Capturing reality

The success of this learning experience hinged almost entirely on how believable our simulations were. To ensure an authentic and immersive experience for learners, we used real people rather than trained actors – resulting in a much more organic set of interactions.

All the scenes were shot in front of a green screen, so that real store photos could be added and changed when required. We also recorded real store audio from a shop floor to give it that extra believability.

For the script itself, O2 wanted to ensure their staff were being instructed in-line with their brand’s tone of voice and general ethos. They provided us with the core message and objectives for each module, while we made small adjustments and tweaks to ensure it was fully optimised for the digital learning environment.

How did it perform?

The outcome is a learning tool that delivers what feels like a genuine customer interaction, providing a realistic enough simulation to have a real impact on the way O2’s staff learn from day one.