Virtual reality (VR) is not a new concept. Engineers and developers have been working on it since the 1990s. And while VR as a customer engagement channel is very new, applications that support use cases for the technology continue to emerge.

As a customer engagement channel, video is not new. But its adoption for customer service and support hasn’t reached mainstream yet. However, VR and augmented reality (AR) could change that. The generational shift—with millennials and digital natives using video daily to communicate with friends and family—will drive adoption of VR, AR and video as engagement channels. 

Video Engagement

Assistance in Real Time

  • How desirable is video chat for your customer service/support interactions?

  • Do you intend to support video chat for customer service/support interactions?

Results from the Genesys State of Customer Experience research indicate that more than half of consumers are willing to use video for customer service and support.

  • Fifty-seven percent of consumers would use video to interact with customer service and support; that number rises to 80 percent in Latin America.
  • Only 28 percent of businesses indicate they have plans to offer video as a customer engagement channel.

Augmented and Virtual Reality Customer Experiences

By the Numbers 

  • How likely are you to use augmented or virtual reality experience?

  • Do you intend to offer augmented or virtual reality experiences to your customers?

Results from the Genesys State of Customer Experience research indicate that most consumers would use augmented or virtual reality experiences.

  • Sixty-four percent of consumers would use augmented or virtual reality experiences; that number hits 81 percent in Latin America.
  • Only 27 percent of businesses have plans to offer customers AR or VR experiences.

The top use cases for augmented and virtual reality include vacation tours and repair support or problem explanation.

  • Sixty-nine percent of consumers would likely use AR and VR for vacation destination tours and 68 percent for repair and support.
  • Forty-seven percent of businesses are currently using AR and VR for site tours; 39 percent use it for repair and support education.
  • Do you provide access to any of the following virtual reality-based (or augmented reality-based) customer experiences?

  • Do you intend to offer augmented or virtual reality experiences to your customers?

  • How likely are you to use augmented or virtual reality experience?

Virtual Reality is On the Move

Use Cases Solve Complex and Emerging Problems

Once adopted, virtual reality can help solve some complex and emerging problems.

Give a customer tour

There are several businesses where a video tour is a vital component in making a remote sale. Some use cases include commercial and private real estate, college campuses, hospitality tours, custom home construction, luxury jet or yacht sales, or any large project at a remote location that requires frequent updates or where travel is too costly.

Demonstrate how to do something unique or complicated

Not every task can be demonstrated using a collection of how-to videos. For example, complex product repairs often require a more involved demo. VR puts the expert in the driver’s seat, enabling him or her to show the customer how to perform a task or repair firsthand and in real time. 

VR businesses need VR support

Businesses that offer VR as a key component of their products and services need a way to connect to their customers. And basic phone or text support won’t cut it when your main business focus is VR: support staff need the same view as the customer.

AR—adding cameras to the user’s headset and blending virtual objects into the world around us—is the next step in customer experience.

Add AR support to products

In this scenario, your printer could take you through the process of replacing print cartridges by pointing out the latches or showing a quick video on how to open and prep the parts.

Provide expert guidance from a customer’s point of view

With AR, you can see what your customers see—from their point of view (POV)—and respond to their questions in real time. Using AR for customer guidance can greatly simplify tasks, such as repairs to appliances, vehicles and other machinery.

It’s time to consider VR and AR for customer service or support. To start, evaluate possible scenarios where you can use these rapidly expanding functionalities as disruptors in your industry. By 2018, smartphones will have this capability built-in, to Most smartphones already have this capability built-in.

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Technologies Are Converging on CX and Consumers Demand More and More Methods of Engagement

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