Experiential learning, often hailed as the learning technique of the future, advocates developing new skills through first-hand experience rather than relying on theoretical knowledge.  This form of learning seems particularly suited to training within the hotel and customer service industries where it seems obvious that handling challenging situations would be more beneficial for employees than merely watching a video about customer service.

This viewpoint is corroborated by evidence from a learning programme for hospitality students which found that students who participated in an experiential learning programme had an increased ability to adapt to change and a greater understanding of how hospitality organisations function.

Furthermore, hospitality leaders who participated in field interviews at Boston University School of Hospitality were in agreement that one of the most effective methods of developing self confidence in the customer service industry was through experience.

However, gaining experience in specific situations can be down to chance as it is dependent on the situation actually arising. Another issue is that hospitality employees don’t get the chance to practise how they will handle a situation until they are actually faced with it and a negative customer experience can knock employee confidence going forward.

Our roleplay simulation, C-Live, has been developed to allow hospitality and customer service staff to practise difficult interactions in a safe environment by interacting with our virtual avatars.

C-Live is easily accessible through a web browser and operates in real time. Nothing is pre-recorded and avatars, who react according to exactly what the participant says or does, are controlled by our simulation specialists.

Studies have shown that interacting with a realistic human avatar can replicate similar feelings to that which may occur when dealing with a challenging situation with a real customer; however, unlike real life interactions, C-Live allows participants to re-attempt a scenario until they are satisfied with the outcome.

We have several customer service builds and a variety of different adult avatars, allowing us to create scenarios such as a lost guest hotel reservation or a customer complaint regarding the service they have received.

We can also create custom scenarios according to what staff are specifically struggling with or recreate a specific situation that an employee wishes they had handled differently. This allows employees to handle a wide variety of scenarios in a calm and efficient manner, perfecting their customer service skills to go above and beyond what customers expect.

David Kolb’s Learning Loop indicates that effective experiential learning occurs when the learner progresses through a four-part cycle.

C-Live offers all four of these stages in succession. Participants can choose a specific scenario that they would like to practise. The scenario is recorded, enabling the participant to watch it back and reflect upon it. They can then attempt the scenario again taking a different approach, thus completing the experiential cycle.

 

If you would like more information about how C-Live can be used to train staff in your organisation, contact us on 01270 449 165 or email clive@iwanttoconnect.co.uk

Sources
Lee, S. (2007). Increasing Student Learning: A Comparison of Student’s Perceptions of Learning in the Classroom Environment and their Industry-Based Experiential Learning Assignments. Journal of Teaching in Travel & Tourism. 7 (4), 37-54.
Self-Confidence in the Hospitality Industry in Business Practises, Health and Wellness, Human Resources, Winter 2014
Zucker, N.L., Green, S., Morris, J.P., Kragel, P, Pelphrey, K.A., Bulik, C.M., & LaBar, KS (2011). Hemodynamic signals of mixed messages during a social exchange. Neuroreport, 22(9),413-418.