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How Virtual Reality Is About To Change Customer Service Forever

How Virtual Reality Is About To Change Customer Service Forever

The strength of VR lies in its ability to engage people with emotional stimuli

Businesses leave no stone unturned when it comes to acquiring customers. Then why not the same attitude in retaining them?

Here is the gap – customers want to engage in something more human and they are not getting it

Who would have thought that Tom Cruise’s MI:2 device that he uses in the opening sequence will be the next big in two decades? Guess the times are changing and since then we as users have come a long way from browsing the internet explorer on Windows 98 to voice searches on smartphones. This alone speaks volume of changes that information technology has gone through and so fast too.

Businesses leave no stone unturned when it comes to acquiring customers. Then why not the same attitude in retaining them?

Looking deeper into it, businesses have seldom evolved from the call-centre customer service days. At most, they offer live chat! Weigh it to how they used to hire a salesman for the door to door publicity in selling products/services and are now incorporating smart analytics for the same. This need to change and investing in new technology is the only way out for them.

The Current Scenario

The whole idea of customer service is to offer a personalised solution to users. Whilst the Internet made it easy to reach end-users, the humanised approach is gradually fading. Things like remote troubleshooting or following instructional videos can leave users baffled on what they have got themselves into. The clunky tech-help over emails, chats, and phone calls is not something that customers fancy after buying the product. So what next? How to simplify this part of customer service?

In simplifying the reach, businesses are compromising on the human approach that made customer service a major KPI towards growth. Here is the gap – customers want to engage in something more human and they are not getting it! This is where Virtual Reality can be pivotal. Leveraging innovation is something that every successful business incorporate with VR being labelled as the next big thing.

Leveraging VR

Brands are already using VR for marketing for quite a long time. Everybody knows how Ikea implemented VR to immerse buyers in a unique shopping experience. Enter VR and see how businesses shift to a whole new picture to let customer share what they see and do with the representative. This puts the customer service person into the other party’s shoes to guide through the solution involving multiple steps. It enables the representative to point out specifically what the next thing do while explaining it – step by step.

It aids users in something as simple as plumbing job or redesigning a whole new engine. See how Yamaha did the trick with VR to familiarise users with each and every engine part of a motorcycle. Now if the users are well aware of motorcycle parts, fixing them when needed can save a lot of hassles. On the other hand, Fidelity Labs experimented VR a couple of years back to build empathy towards customers. Plenty of other numerous instances suggests how companies and users are co-evolving in tandem.

VR Blends Emotion

Perhaps the strength of VR lies in its ability to engage people with emotional stimuli. This opens a plethora of marketing opportunities and helps upselling VR as an exclusive customer service. Just to demonstrate this, the ICT at the University of Southern California used VR for mental health rehabilitation. Business incorporating VR for customer service thrives on its ability to simulate users in bringing up a certain emotion while also assisting them to solve their own problems.

The experimentation in haptics it is expected throw in a tactile dimension to enhance the VR experience in coming time. Now consider the research in brain-to-brain communications and there’s only a figment imagination between the current approach and possible avenues of customer service involving direct training and engaging solution.

Where Branding Meets Technology

Brands are taking ‘try before you buy’ concept to next level with VR. It is not new that customers want to try a little bit before making a big purchase decision. With virtual malls around, personal selling has lost its plot. Time to bring it back with VR! Peugeot lets user take the virtual test drive with their devices on. Simulating the exact driving experience, it lets user feel as if they are on France’s mountain roads.

That’s when businesses open up a new avenue to position their brand in the market. The fast and adaptive businesses can turn to cult overnight. North Face did it a few years back just to offer a unique adventurous experience that echoes brand identity.

There’s a range of VR glasses available for commercial use and enough VR app development services to complement this growth. Be it HTC, Oculus or Google, getting a device is not a big deal for users courtesy – affordability and ease of availability.

It is projected to be the next big thing after the smartphone boom. And with more number of people adopting this technology change, chances of companies using more of it is high. With successful VR implementation for various other reasons, customer experience may witness a massive structural change. It offers greater utility of VR applications for companies in the customer services department.

The Road Ahead

While VR offers a fascinating platform that fusions the real and virtual world, its widespread adaptation will demand training. The innovations are still in the experimental phases worldwide and companies looking to adopt it for specific activities have a long road to cut. This road has hurdles emerging out of customer’s trust, adaptability, ease of access to device and buying potential.

The realms of VR are gradually extending its possibilities, behoving big brands to come forward and try their best to put it to use. It pushes businesses to be with the strides of technology and incorporate it towards augmenting the holistic customer service experience.

Note: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.