- Two new client-adviser VR scenarios to replicate client conversations
Wealth management group St. James’s Place (SJP) has expanded its industry-leading Virtual Reality (VR) adviser training and has created two new immersive role plays, with fresh characters and bespoke virtual reality experiences to replicate real-life client conversations and scenarios.
Last year SJP become the first financial services provider to roll out industry-leading Virtual Reality (VR) technology for training and role-playing through the SJP Academy and across the business. Each experience, using Oculus Quest VR headsets, offers the chance to play the role of a financial adviser meeting with prospective clients, with the two new characters expanding the focus to clients with particular personal situations, needs and vulnerabilities.
The two new client characters are Rebecca, who is in the process of divorcing, and Frances and Jordan, a young couple. Throughout the experience, participants will be asked to choose from different dialogue options to guide them through realistic and life-like conversations.
There are two parts to each experience: the ‘Client Introductory Meeting’ and the ‘Goals Planning Interview’. At the end of each experience, those taking part will be given feedback on performance and awarded star ratings out of 5. Feedback delegates receive is shared with their trainers for more detailed advice.
A first of its kind in Financial Services adviser and employee training, this is part of a roll-out of planned launches from SJP’s Learning & Development Team using Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technology. The aim is to develop and deliver a wide and varied programme based on these new technologies to accelerate learning throughout the business and improve overall performance.
Nicki Finnigan, Head of Digital Learning & Development at St. James’s Place, comments: “We have developed these new realistic, immersive role plays, with greater complexities and more vulnerabilities, to create a flexible, enhanced experience practising client conversations and developing soft skills. Increasing the diversity of clients and scenarios is also an important part of supporting the performance and operational efficiency of the business.
“We have had fantastic feedback throughout the SJP Academy and beyond about our VR programme, which provides a safe space for delegates to role play client conversations and build their confidence, without having to rely on anyone else to take part or be tied to a particular location. It is designed to help participants more easily empathise with clients, including those with more complex requirements, and ‘hear’ their inner thoughts.
“The aim is not to replace face-to-face training or video-conferencing sessions, but to use new immersive technologies to complement the training on offer and build on the capabilities technology can bring. “
Virtual Reality role-playing was first rolled out through the SJP Academy in September 2021, alongside in-person teaching, to provide a blend of face-to-face and remote-based learning. The immersive learning experience, created with VR specialists Make Real and 55EFIVE in collaboration with experts within SJP, uses 260 Oculus Quest headsets.
SJP L&D also uses the technology for virtual presentations and workshops as well as social events, allowing users to meet and get to know each other in a virtual setting.