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Customer Service has come a long way since its inception. User trends and needs have evolved, and so have the tools available to deliver effective service. In this article we will talk about the role of technology in the customer experience, considering its past, its present and what (probably) will hold for us in the future, considering the available resources.
A brief timeline
That old paradigm of telephone communication focused almost entirely on the profitability of companies is far from what we understand today as customer service.
Gradually, customers began to express new needs and expect more from the companies they choose. Fast, efficient, and personalized responses through less traditional means of communication began to be increasingly valued. The overall user experience became important – if not paramount. As a result, companies had no choice but to invest more time and resources in providing the best possible experience for their users.
Automation tools like chatbots and artificial intelligence-powered service platforms are great allies of modern customer service. They certainly help reduce customer wait times, increase response accuracy, and provide an overall smoother user experience. In addition, they have tools that make it easy for companies to take advantage of data analysis to track customer behavior and obtain valuable information about their needs and preferences.
All this helps companies to adapt their digital customer experience strategy to serve each user better and in a more personalized way, as well as to create a unified service experience through multiple channels.
Following the 2020 pandemic, a new flood of available digital tools and technologies emerged. Customer service was affected, and companies had to readapt their online service strategies, making them even more decisive and personalized.
Today, websites are more and more intuitive for users, the experience is closer and more empathetic, and general satisfaction is consequently increasing. We are in what is known as the conversational era: a period in which the focus of attention is focused on the user and the collaborator.
As the trend sets, as technology advances, customer expectations will continue to rise. For this reason, it is increasingly important for companies to keep up with the latest developments in the world of digital user experience to stay competitive in today's market.
What is the next step?
The metaverse, that interesting concept of virtual collective experience, is quite aligned with the customer-centric experience (or focused on the user) and is on its way to configuring the next step in the customer experience.
One of the main features of the metaverse is that it primarily promotes user-generated content and real-time interaction in a kind of advanced virtual reality.
Hyper-personalization is the basis of all interactions in the metaverse, which proposes a space for exchange and development through an immersive virtual experience where users interact with brands in a close and natural way. The metaverse is, in short, a new channel where customers can communicate with companies.
The metaverse: where customers are going to be
Ideally, the metaverse is a more than conducive channel for taking customer experience to the next level. The possibilities of personalization are more and more extensive and users can experience a new level of closeness with their favorite brands there.
But are the users really there? The numbers indicate not yet for most industries. On a monthly basis, the metaverse features:
- +250 million active users in the world of video games
- +200 million active users in the world of crypto-wallets
- 500,000 active users in the NFT or Web 3.0 world
According to a study from Gartner, 25% of people will be spending at least an hour a day in the metaverse by the year 2026. And there are currently only 500,000 active users engaging monthly who are not related to the industries mentioned above.
This leads us to affirm that, although the adoption of this channel is not yet massive, it has the potential to be within a few years. The companies that manage to understand this and insert themselves into the metaverse before the rest will be considered pioneers and will have a great advantage when it comes to developing there.
The importance of the personalized tour
The transition to the metaverse is imminent, but there is still much to develop. As we mentioned at the beginning, we are in the era of the conversational. This means that companies are increasingly understanding that they must focus customer service on an essential premise: each customer is unique. This means that each client will therefore have different needs and will require different solutions, in different channels, at different times.
Standardizing customer service processes is the opposite of personalization, and therefore also the complete opposite of a conversational experience. Considering each client as unique allows us to design a unique experience.
From this premise arises the concept of automated conversational journeys:
Conversations are guided through artificial intelligence that provides automated solutions instantly. It has three key pillars:
- conversational AI as a basis for customizing the experience. It allows natural and unstructured conversations to be held through various messaging and voice channels.
- Hyperconnectivity to ensure responsive and informed responses, no matter how complex the user's query is.
- Learning and analytics to improve with each interaction, learn from users and improve satisfaction.
A Middle Path: Video Conversational AI
Video interactions are one small step into the metaverse. Every day, millions of people around the world choose video as a means of communication for work, study, and even leisure. Video conferencing is a clear and popular form of virtual interaction that involves much more than just sending messages.
Now, let's add artificial intelligence to this formula, and the result will be Video Conversational AI: an innovative tool that allows brands to connect much more closely with users through a hyper-realistic avatar powered by Artificial Intelligence.
Conversational Video opens up a new range of possibilities in online customer service. Not only does it work with a conversational engine as its foundation (i.e., focused on personalization), but it offers the experience of interacting with businesses by giving them faces, expressions, and a human voice. The action of interacting with customer service thus becomes a natural, almost human experience, where a conversation is generated between two people (but one of them is a hyper-realistic avatar).
Related article: Video Conversational AI: the first step into the metaverse
How to prepare CX strategies to succeed in the metaverse
We are in a position to affirm then that the metaverse will arrive and work, but there is still a long way to go. In order for companies to ensure a smooth and comfortable transition into the metaverse, work must begin now by focusing on four key points:
- We cannot stop repeating it: each client is unique, and therefore, each experience too. Understanding what customers want and speaking how customers speak is a critical step in starting to deliver personalized experiences.
- Companies no longer own time: now time belongs to users, and it is valued like gold. The possibility of solving their queries from the first interaction is what will keep customers satisfied.
- The ability to interact has to be isolated from the channel. Companies must be prepared to have more than 10 customer service channels simultaneously. In this way, the main thing is to first create an empathetic and decisive strategy, and then adapt it to the format of each channel as new applications and ways of interacting emerge.
- Have a system of continuous improvement and systematic adaptation.
In order to get the most out of the future of the metaverse, you need to focus on current work and the technologies that the vast majority of customers are already using.
If your company is interested in generating customer-focused strategies and implementing conversational solutions that solve, we can advise you. Get in touch with us and start offering successful personalized conversational tours.