Audi Virtual Training: virtual training for sales jobs

Car salesman as a dream job? Never. At least, that was the opinion of our author Andreas Wittke — until he got to experience Audi Virtual Training for himself. Read more to learn how gamification is being used in training and what made him (almost) decide to switch jobs.

07/15/2019 Reading Time: 4 min

Interview situation about the Audi Virtual Training

My name is Andreas Wittke, and I’m an editor. Today, I get to play another role and find out how Audi uses gamification in their virual training. We’re ready to start! I choose the avatar Louis Lamar, who has lost his memory after an accident. I only know that he likes cars and works in an Audi branch office. During the game’s process, I walk around freely in the car dealership, carrying out customer meetings and employee talks and parallel to his everyday work life, find out more details about his life. When I’m in a conversational situation, I receive a selection of four or five answers and I then have to choose one of those within a certain time span. Every answer changes the course of following conversation.

I’m in the midst of the virtual training for the Audi sales team. The e-learning program creates a virtual world with realistic situations. It is designed like a video game and trains sales employees in conversation skills. This shows them playfully how they can best interact with their customers and successfully make sales.

Virtual training for sales jobs: learning with a tablet
Learning while gaming? That's the approach Christiane Nicolai and her team are pursuing with the Audi Virtual Training — the digital training for the sales team.

Digital training for sales jobs: an overview of the Audi Virtual Training program

Everyday work life means: psychologically demanding talks and the thrill of finding out whether the customer is open to my arguments and my sales strategy. That’s exactly what the Audi E-learning communication training is focusing on. In several conversational situations, I’m sure that the client will take the bait. But I’ve acted too aggressively. In the second round, I try to find out what happens when I make the customer furious – the contact is soon gone, just like in real life. “I’ve surely held more than a hundred conversations – none was like the other,” Lekies explains.

Gamification for Audi sales jobs: realistic and location independent

Gamification: virtual training for sales jobs put to the test

Like real life: the software behind the game is designed with many realistic details. Realistic customer and employee talks as gamification.

A great deal of expertise went in to creating the virtual training for sales jobs for Audi. Developers from five well-known gaming agencies have been working on the Audi Virtual Training since 2014. The photorealistic open world gaming concept and the implementation of realistic conversational situations from everyday work life in sales and service, require a high degree of technical expertise and data-related precision. The questions and answers are derived from real conversations and actual customer feedback from the Audi car dealerships. Open world means that I can, as a gamer and through the perspective of a service adviser or sales assistant, move freely through the dealership and talk to all the people in it. It’s a very realistic simulation software.

The game is demanding and no walk in the park. You have to put yourself in the customer’s position and think very psychologically.

Fabian Lekies, employee in an Audi car dealership in Munich

And it’s about more than just sales psychology. The customers not only look surprisingly real, they also reactin a very human way in terms of their facial expressions and gestures. For example, one customer crosses her arms and looks at me disapprovingly, after I’ve given her an answer that she doesn’t want to hear. The conversations don’t appear stilted or artificial. “I had already experienced some of the situations in previous customer talks. Back then, the Audi Virtual Training would have been helpful”, Lekies tells us with a smile.

The virtual training for sales jobs is not only flexible, it is also time-and location-independent. Employees cannot only use the Audi Virtual Training during their working hours, but also play on their tablet or smartphone or even at home.

Gamification — the motto for virtual training for sales jobs

We all know how quickly a video game can pull you in. Th inherient human instinct for play and corresponding intrinsic motivation makes it easier to learn complex subjects. This principle of the gamification approach grabbed Audi’s attention; it facilitates virtual training of employees in the car dealership and encourage their ambition. The aim is them wanting to do the (optional) training, not them having to participate. “Trainings are meant to be fun, otherwise they won’t work”, Nicolai says, speaking from experience.

Digital training: fun with gamification
Virtual training for sales jobs: The interactive Audi Virtual Training can be used anywhere, at any time.

E-learning as an addition to traditional sales training

Audi is the only car manufacturer that has realized such a game for the smartphone.

Christiane Nicolai, Training Service and Dealer Developent

Why is e-learning the wave of the future? The Audi world is becoming more and more complex: the customer’s requirements are rising; the digitalization opens up new challenges on all channels. “With the game, our employees learn to react better to the individual customer needs and to put them into the center of their actions. Because only those that are excited about their jobs, are able to excite the customer. That’s where the Audi Virtual steps in and helps: The interactive training world continues where traditional training formats stop and reach their limit,” Nicolai explains.

724 Audi partners booked the Audi Virtual Training learning module on customer feedback management, which we offered in 2018, for their employees. Until June 2019, 456 Audi partners did so with the new 2019 learning module "flexible service core processes" - and there is still demand for it. “We’re receiving very good feedback. The participants like to play and learn and that was and is our most important wish”, Nicolai says, clearly overjoyed by the reactions on the Audi Virtual Training.

Advanced sales training: spurring my ambition

The game is fun for me, too, and I’m surprised at how quickly I adapt to the world of a service consulant and even learn subconsciously. After every round, I receive an analysis of my performance in the form of points and star ratings, as well as a detailed feedback on the reaction I triggered in my conversation partner and additiona tips and recommendations. I’m worse than I suspected, which really annoys me. I immediately want to continue playing so I can get better.

That’s when it becomes clear to me: (virtual) training knows no limits. Gamification ensures that I want to keep playing and playing — and learning and learning. Christiane Nicolai recognizes my ambition and reacts with a knowing smile – her concept has worked quite nicely.

I keep playing, more and more, and I slowly improve. But I realize that the path to becoming a perfect car salesman is a long one. At the same time, I recognize that I’m not only feeling ambitious — I’m also having fun. And it occurs to me that being a car salesman just might be a dream job after all.

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