How Augmented Reality Is a Gamechanger for CX in 2021
Many people have already experienced AR in mobile games such as PokemonGo and apps such as Snapchat (Snappables). Believe it or not, those goofy bunny years and other cartoon features that are superimposed on selfies can actually be applied in a business context, giving CX a huge boost. Especially this year with the pandemic, the ability to have contactless shopping for retail products that normally bought at a store couldn’t have come at a better time.
So how does AR actually work?
In a nutshell, all data is two-dimensional and exists only on the screens of our smart devices. The physical world has three-dimensions or 3D, and we are surrounded by it. AR is the technology that acts as a bridge between the digital and the physical world. The combination of these two worlds creates a unique universe for customers and limitless options that would be impossible to find in a traditional bricks-and-mortar store.
Can AR help businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic?
With the pandemic spreading across the globe in full-force, AR offers customers the ability to shop virtually without having to risk visiting the local mall. Even Amazon plans on rolling out AR to allow clothes to be tried on remotely for those willing to provide their personal digital data. Naturally, many brands will follow suit and start integrating AR into their own business models as either a core function or an extension of their customer service capabilities.
AR is gaining ground particularly in the clothing and apparel industries, where customers can “virtually” try their clothes before committing to buying them. Real estate and interior design businesses could also benefit from AR, by using 3D graphics to help see what the floor would look like with new tiles, for example.
Here are some of the critical ways AR is changing the way how both businesses and customers interact with each other.
Customers can now serve themselves
AR can help reduce the need for having a customer service staff on-site, as everything they need can be accessed through a smartphone. With an app, customers can point at the product and get all the in-depth details they need without having to rely on customer support. A cleverly designed UI overlay can accompany the customer through the store, offering tips, discounts, and detailed product information much in the same way a physical employee would.
This can also include resources such as FAQ pages, warranty info, and anything else a customer might need to reference. It can help streamline routine business tasks by saving time and allowing managers to allocate their customer service team to more critical tasks. Allowing customers to resolve their own issues also empowers them, which in turn results in happier and more satisfied customers.
Boosting customer confidence
Indecisiveness can prevent a sale if a customer feels they are unsure about the product they are buying. Especially now that there is so much information available over the internet, customers want to be 100% sure before they commit to buying any given product. When it comes to apparel and physical furniture, it can be difficult to decide if something will actually fit correctly when it arrives in the mail.
Companies such as Amazon are doing just that, offering their customers “AR View” which allows them to view how the product would look in their room. Using AR to display products such as furniture and interior decor improves customer experience by allowing full visualization of the item in the room before purchasing it. Even IKEA has already rolled-out AR successfully, by introducing an app that will make the experience of shopping at their store even better. I would expect other companies to follow suit and started offering virtualization of a wide range of products.
Humanizing the transition to IoT
We are transitioning inevitably to a world powered by IoT and it continues to grow as one of the largest world markets in 2021. This means customers will be encountering IoT and using more smart devices than ever in 2021, and AR will certainly help enhance the experience for them. AR will be the vehicle that connects human interaction with massive data-sets with the power of IoT to give CX uncharted potential.
For instance, if a customer has a tech-related issue with a given product, AR can help them quickly diagnose it and even fix the problem on the spot. Alternatively, a full report gets dispatched to the customer service team for the fastest-possible resolution. It adds another level of CX that will serve to increase response times and service capabilities.
The combination of IoT with wearable tech and AR will open the door for quicker triaging of a problem by remote employees, who won’t need to physically assess the problem in order to provide support. Instead, they have in-depth data that is collected in real-time and available at their fingertips to assist the next customer in the queue.
In short, We live in a world with more digital information than ever before. Every step that we take and every action on the smartphone is added to the growing pile of customer data. With AR, we can fully unleash the potential of smart devices and use them to deliver next-level customer service. When combined with the integration of IoT, the customer of tomorrow will be better equipped, informed, and better-served than ever before.