Learn to deal with unpleasant customers in VR

VR is good for training young people to handle conflicts. For 7-Eleven and DSB, we have built a proof of concept where young employees behind the counter learn how to deal with threatening customers.

Because VR feels real, the experience evokes strong emotions. But it takes place in a safe environment where young employees can practice ways of dealing with customers in order to learn how to de-escalate conflicts.

Uniquely, the interaction in this VR experience happens through speech. The users can therefore have a realistic conversation with the customers, which increases both immersion and learning.

Virtual Reality Experience


Employee Training

Why: Safe training of unpleasant situations

7-Eleven has taken over much of the ticket sales for DSB. Often, young employees, perhaps even in their first job, have to hand pizza slices and Pepsi Max over the counter as well as help customers with tickets and travel questions.

This involves a great risk that they will be met by busy, agitated, or irritaed customers who do not always behave completely according to the norms of politeness. And that’s why young people need to learn how to de-escalate potential conflicts and threatening situations.

Virtual Reality (VR) is an powerful tool for training exactly these kinds of situations. Instead of closing a 7-Eleven store and training the clerk, a VR headset on their head makes them stand in a flawless replica of a store and experience visits from unpleasant customers in a safe environment.

Because VR feels so real, threatening behavior evokes unpleasant emotions that are very lifelike. Hopefully, it will never be everyday life for the clerk, but the situation can be trained again and again, until the most conflict-de-escalating response becomes a habit.

Training various situations in a safe environment strenghtens the employees ability to handle all sorts of conflicts and at the same time adds to creating a positive working environment and happier employees.

What: Realistic experience in a 7-Eleven

The VR experience is a POC (Proof of Concept) developed for DSB and 7-Eleven. In the experience, you are a clerk behind the counter of a 7-Eleven.

An elderly lady wants to buy painkillers, while a busy and clearly annoyed gentleman stands behind her in the line. During the encounter with the lady, a small learning element is that she asks for more boxes of painkillers than it is legal to sell over the counter.

The realistic replica of the store, complete with pizza pieces, baked goods, refrigerators, sliding doors and other brand interiors, gives an instant sense of being in an actual 7-Eleven store – i fact, it is a replica of a 7-Eleven store in Copenhagen. And it becomes extra unpleasant when the irritated gentleman leans over the counter and calls you very unpleasant things.

The experience can be expanded with both more people and more conflict-filled situations. In this way, the clerks can train as many situations as possible as many times as they have the time and desire, and thus react instinctively when they need to de-escalate a potential conflict. Training can also include other onboarding procedues like wayfinding, hygiene protocols or even how to produce a hot dog.

How: Conversation increases the lifelike feeling

In the experience, customers speak to you, and you are presented with different answer options. The experience becomes extra realistic because you can say the answer out loud and thus get the experience of having a real conversation with customers. It’s one of the first VR experiences in the world to adopt this technology.

“The voice control makes it extremely easy for users to get started with the VR experience and learn something fast and easy. The employees just need to wear the headset, and all interaction is easy and intuitive, either with their hands or with their voice – even people who have never tried VR before can immediately concentrate on the learning experience without giving the technology a second thought,” says Jakob Håkonsson, Experience Designer at Virsabi.

Virsabi can build realistic virtual environments of all similar stores, premises and areas where people need to train and improve interactions with other people or equipment. Contact us and find out how we can improve your training and onboarding.

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Virsabi is a company that explores the intersection of creativity and technologies and is one of the first Virtual – and Augmented Reality dedicated companies offering both business advisory work and technical development for the utilization of Virtual Production, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality and other new visualization technologies.