Virtual Reality (VR) is not a new concept. Engineers and developers have been banging away at these technologies since the 1990s (anybody remember Jaron Lanier?) – VR is one of those 30-years-in-the-making overnight successes. Yet, VR as a customer engagement channel is still very new.

While using video as a customer engagement channel isn’t new, adoption of video for customer service and support has yet to reach mainstream. Virtual and augmented reality could influence that. Other influences include the generational shift. According to the Genesys State of Customer Experience report, millennials and other digital natives now consider the use of video—and being on video—as second nature.

“… more than half of consumers are willing to use video
for customer service and support.”  
State of Customer Experience Report

Virtual Reality is starting to make headway. Early adopters of VR for customer engagement will see two dominant behaviors: Customers will either know how all of this is supposed to work because they have experience with VR games, websites, and services; or they’ll still be trying to figure it out.

Here are a few ways to introduce customers to virtual reality:

  • Give a customer tour: For many businesses, a video tour is vital to a remote sale. Think of home tours or hotel walk-throughs. It can also be very useful for large construction projects or repairs as a progress reporting tool.
  • Show the customer how to do something unique or complicated: A collection of how-to videos isn’t always the best way to show how to do something; sometimes there are edge cases.

But the really interesting stories for customer service (and society in general) will come with augmented reality or AR. Instead of wearing a headset that blocks the surrounding world, AR adds cameras to a user’s headset, blending virtual objects with what we see around us. Support examples for augmented reality for customer engagement will include:

  • Add AR support to products: Imagine looking at your printer and seeing how to replace the print cartridges; steps could hover in midair with arrows pointing to the ink cover.
  • Provide expert guidance from a customer’s point of view: What if you could see what your customer sees from their POV and respond to them in real-time? For example, with AR, you could draw a box in their vision to ask them to change a setting or to put their camera behind an air handler so you can read or document the manufacturer information.

“…2018 smartphones will have this capability built-in, and consumer adoption and use may catch many organizations by surprise.” State of Customer Experience Report

Recommendations for Introducing VR and AR Into Your Business

If you have not considered VR/AR for customer service or support, you need to give it some thought. Begin looking for opportunities where you can disrupt your own industry with this rapidly expanding functionality. By the end of this year, smartphones will have these capabilities built-in. If you’re not prepared, consumer adoption and use could catch you unprepared. It’s time to make VR and AR a reality for your customers.

Attend our no-cost, no obligation, onsite customer experience assessment workshop to understand what’s possible in a Genesys-enabled world. Our consultants will map the possibilities to your specific business and customer experience objectives, and identify what you need to do to reach those goals. You’ll receive a strategy that propels your current and future customer experience success. Book your workshop now.

Randy Carter

Randy Carter

Randy Carter is a product marketing director, a user experience architect, and a design manager with deep experience in product development and enterprise application planning, storytelling, design and user testing. I listen carefully to people, I read research, I test...