(Virtual human Chris in training solution. Source: Farmers Insurance.)
Farmers Insurance (Woodland Hills, Calif.) has announced that is it developing a “virtual human” training program in collaboration with Talespin (Culver City, Calif.), a developer of enterprise virtual, augmented, and mixed reality (XR) solutions. Building on an existing relationship with the vendor, Farmers Insurance will deliver a virtual reality (VR) training curriculum that focuses on simulating critical workplace conversations and helping employees practice key interpersonal skills.
Farmers reports that the first employee communication training applications it is working on with Talespin focus on simulating vendor collaboration and communication with customers. The insurer says that the training modules are intended to help improve the overall customer experience by focusing on the moments that may matter most.
“At Farmers Insurance, technology is a constant investment driven by our commitment to improve the customer experience at every point of engagement,” comments Tim Murray, Head of Claims Shared Services, Farmers Insurance. “By implementing Talespin’s virtual human training technology, we will enable our claims representatives to practice critical interpersonal situations and complement our current training processes, empowering our employees and continuing to offer our customers quality service.”
Talespin describes its virtual human technology as using VR and artificial intelligence (AI) to realistically simulate critical workplace conversations. Training scenarios built with the platform use virtual environments, speech recognition, natural language processing, and realistic body language to simulate conversations with customers and colleagues. The vendor characterizes the virtual environments as offering employees a safe space to hone their communication skills.
“Executives today view soft skills as some of the most critical components of career success,” comments Kyle Jackson, CEO and Co-Founder, Talespin. “However, training nuanced skills like communication and active listening is a challenge. By using virtual humans and VR, employees now have a way to practice their most challenging workplace conversations. We’re excited to continue our work with Farmers Insurance on training innovation by introducing this technology to their training practices.”
Building on Partnership
Farmers previously worked with Talespin to create a VR training application that helps claims representatives practice home damage assessments. Trainees using the application can navigate through an intuitive, gamified learning course with more than 500 simulated damage combinations and scenarios. Farmers reports that the tool has been beneficial in the areas of accelerating learning, confidence building, and reducing time and travel costs related to training programs. Since launching the VR training application, the majority of Farmers Insurance employees who experienced the module have provided positive feedback on the training simulation, the insurer reports.
During 2019, Farmers says it will continue to embrace technology and innovation in its training practices by incorporating the new virtual human interpersonal skills training program. The VR software is designed to “write” to a person’s memory like a real experience would and is supplementary to existing training curriculums the insurer runs.