How Will Virtual Reality Shape the Future of Customer Service?

How Will Virtual Reality Shape the Future of Customer Service?

The Future of Customer Service Could Be Tightly Connected to Virtual Reality

Email and phone have long been the main pillars of customer service, but emerging technologies are determining companies to look into new ways of interacting with their clients. Virtual reality has gained a lot of traction this year, mainly in the video game industry, but  integrating it into customer service isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. Businesses making physical products will be the main ones to benefit from VR-driven customer service first, but there are also many ways makers of digital goods could take advantage of this technology.

Are VR and AR Excluding One Another?

Even though augmented reality and virtual reality are seen now as two different technologies, there are many ways they could be brought together, especially in the topic at hand. Self-service is seen as the future of customer service, rather than representative-based options, but gain significance, it needs to be supported by many proven technologies, the aforementioned ones being in the lead.

Augmented reality has gained a lot of popularity lately, mostly because of the entertainment applications it can be used for. However, companies such as Volkswagen have realised just how much potential AR has in helping customers self-diagnose their products, and have since implemented this technology into mobile apps. The solutions of the future, however, might use both AR and VR for the ultimate customer service experience.

Human-Based VR Customer Service or AI-Driven Avatars?

Even though customer service provided by real human beings might feel more personal, in the near future, we might not be able to distinguish AI-driven solutions from the ones provided by humans, if the whole experience will take place in virtual reality. The first to benefit from AI customer service in VR would probably be video game companies and tech giants such as Facebook, as it would be the easiest for them to implement such solutions.

By combining big data with information obtained from the customers’ social media accounts, VR customer service reps in the form of AI-avatars could be more efficient than humans in situations where empathy is not necessary. There will still be cases when customers should be handled by real humans if, for example, a medical emergency begs for a deadline to be waived.

Take Any Product for a Test Drive with VR

Do you already own a specific company’s products and would like to test items from a different range? Or maybe you need to see how you could complete a collection with products that are complementary to the ones you already have.

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Virtual reality could radically change the way products are tested, not to mention the time and money it could save people in the long run, by enabling them to perform these tests any time of the day, anywhere.  

Virtual Shopping Could Become a Reality

Trying out a new outfit will no longer need to be correlated with a store’s daily schedule if they offer a VR platform. Currently, online shops rely on photos and videos of the products to give customers an idea about real-world scenarios, but VR could lead to far more immersive shopping experiences. Without numerous employees and large rented spaces, online retailers are able to offer far smaller prices than their brick-and-mortar counterparts, but the experience is just not the same. By including VR in the mix, online stores could enable customers to browse once again in the search of the desired product. Customer service provided either by human beings or by computer-generated avatars would complement this experience perfectly.

Making Customer Service Training More Efficient with VR

Despite long customer service training sessions, the reps could still be confronted with unexpected situations that might hurt the company if handled improperly. VR opens the way for more experimentation so that customer service representatives learn to master unique issues before even interacting with real customers.

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Through VR customer service training sessions, the reps could learn to read body language, and even to handle dissatisfied customers. Simulated situations could improve the way representatives understand customers, interact with them, and ultimately retain them.

Virtual Reality to Revolutionize Troubleshooting

Solving problems via VR would probably be much easier and less frustrating than with any of the existing methods. In this scenario, the VR technology wouldn’t be employed by the consumers, but by the customer support representatives, who would get to see and diagnose issues in real time. By improving the way problems are solved, businesses could eliminate unnecessary product returns.

VR Could Give Customer Service a Friendly Face

One of the best things about VR-driven customer service is that the representative could have any face in the world. Of course, customers would be more open and would communicate the issues they have with a greater ease if the customer service representative had a friendly face. That’s entirely possible, but the companies would most probably have to obtain the consent of everyone whose face they’d use. The simplest solution would be to access the customer’s social media profiles and generate a face for the avatar based on the profile photos of the closest friends. Of course, there’s also the option of 3xD scanning everyone in the customer’s entourage, but that would probably be a bit more time-consuming.

All in all, there are many ways VR platforms could improve customer service, and while implementing this technology could prove costly in the beginning, it could surely help companies to actually save money in the long run.

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About the Author

Ray Singca

Ray Singca is responsible for customer support at Swat.io, a Social Media Management solution that’s helping companies to improve their customer support & content management on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. Swat.io is currently used by companies such as 3Österreich, Hitradio Ö3, ÖBB, Focus Online and Burda Intermedia.

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