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More and more companies are seeing the lucrative impact of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality on the Customer Experience (CX). At a time when companies are always looking for new ways to engage with customers, AR and VR are opening up new opportunities to create a unique experience.
What is Virtual Reality?
Virtual Reality is a computer-generated simulation in which users can physically act in an artificially created 3D environment thanks to electronic equipment.
The physical presence of a user is digitized, giving him the feeling of experiencing this virtual world in a physical way. VR is supported by visual and auditory signals, as a result of which you take place in a simulated reality.
VR replaces reality with a digital simulation and thus brings you a transformative experience.
How does Virtual Reality improve the Customer Experience?
Recent research shows that 86% of the time, customers are willing to pay more when they receive a good customer experience. With VR, companies can create revolutionary customer experiences not seen often.
As technology evolves and hardware becomes more affordable, it is also a lot more accessible. Research shows that 84% of the stakeholders expect to apply Virtual Reality in the Customer Experience in the next five years.
What potential does Virtual Reality have?
While VR is still in its infancy, it is rapidly developing into a viable medium for humans to connect cyberspace to the real world.
The pace of innovation in VR is rapidly accelerating, and the cost of the devices is expected to fall rapidly as more consumers adopt the technology.
That’s why it’s not such a bad idea to consider Virtual Reality in your company.
Right now, two VR technologies are leading the way: Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Microsoft’s HoloLens.
While both Oculus Rift and HoloLens boast a robust VR experience and a powerful developer toolkit that can be integrated into other hardware and software environments (think gaming), the technologies take a very close approach to merging the real world with the virtual world. otherwise.
In the case of the Oculus Rift, a person can be immersed in a virtual environment, making them an integral part of that virtual reality.
Microsoft’s HoloLens takes a completely different approach to VR, overlaying virtual elements over the real world to enrich the real world.
Both approaches open the door to countless applications that can do everything from simulating face-to-face meetings to providing a highly immersive gaming experience.
Virtual Reality applications to improve the Customer Experience
But what does all this mean for customer service ? Think of all the difficulties that arise today when a customer needs technical assistance. Solving problems remotely via phone, chat or email is inconvenient to say the least.
In most cases, agents should try to figure out what the problem is by relying on a customer’s description of the problem, which may not be accurate because they don’t have enough technical experience.
Problem solving is often slow and step-by-step, which can be difficult for the customer to understand and follow. It is equally difficult for the agent to determine whether the customer has followed the indicated steps correctly.
Agents can give instructions to customers, but they still can’t see how well a customer is following those instructions. Video communication softens this somewhat, but is not often used (often cited for privacy reasons), and the 2D experience is still somewhat clunky.
A VR interaction would solve this problem. By letting the customer share what he sees and does with the agent, as if he were in the customer’s shoes, he can better guide the customer in solving problems.
The agent could also emphasize what the customer should do next, as if they were there. The applications of this approach can be as simple as a simple plumbing repair or something as complex as rebuilding an internal combustion engine.
This may seem surreal, but the prices of VR are falling and you see more and more companies getting started with Virtual Reality.
There are also experiments with haptics, which will bring a tactile dimension to the VR experience.
The practical application of VR for customer service is still a long way off. Devices must be cost-effective and widely available. Integration of VR technology into business applications must take place and customers must learn to accept VR as a medium for interacting with service requests.
There is no doubt that VR offers you the opportunity to create a new, immersive experience. The technology holds huge promise and it’s up to companies now to look at the possibilities VR has to improve the customer experience.
New ways of shopping
VR is changing the way we shop. We can now browse a virtual store without leaving the house. This means that shopping is no longer time and place dependent.
Now that much of the logistical hassle has been removed from the shopping experience, customers are much more likely to snoop around and try new products they wouldn’t otherwise try.
VR creates an immersive experience that has a profound sensory impact and establishes a strong emotional connection with the users.
Businesses can leverage this connection to engage with customers in innovative and meaningful ways.
When customers are more emotionally engaged with a brand, they are more likely to make repeat purchases and gain lifelong brand loyalty.
For the first time, VR offers customers the opportunity to enjoy an immersive shopping experience that feels like they are physically and emotionally engaged with a brand: what technology!
Try it before you buy
With Virtual Reality, a new era of ‘try before you buy’ is dawning. Shoppers no longer have to travel to a brick-and-mortar store to try something out, only to find out at home that it doesn’t fit.
VR allows you to try and test things in a real-world experience. IKEA already has such experience, with an app you can already place a piece of furniture in your home to see if it is suitable.
Improved customer service
Customer service departments have improved dramatically in recent times thanks to the power of AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants. But the adoption of VR in customer service is proving to be a game-changer.
Remote troubleshooting with chatbots is actually impossible. But when both parties see what the other is looking at and experiencing, both simple and complex problems can be solved in no time.
Virtual Reality as Customer Experience: summarized
It is crucial for companies to create a powerful and meaningful Customer Experience.
Experience-driven technologies such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are revolutionizing the way we work and can make customers feel special, empowered and valued by brands.
That makes them our best asset when devising a powerful CX strategy to help build strong customer relationships based on immersive and emotional engagement, which can result in lifelong loyalty.