How to Use Augmented Reality to Improve the Customer Experience
Augmented Reality (AR) is one of the latest developments in the world of technology that’s expected to turn customer experience as you knew it upside down. Just like the pioneers across industries are claiming, it’s capable of improving the customer journey by elevating the interactions with your audience. This is barely surprising — the ability of the tool to supplement the users’ reality with digital objects is nothing short of revolutionary. If anything, there’s a good chance you’ve already encountered this when watching live sports where the TV commentator is fully taking advantage of the AR.
The most recent application of the tool has been the mobile game Pokemon Go. With the help of Augmented Reality, it overlays the elements of the game onto reality before appearing on the digital screen. As a result, the player is able to see Pokemons through the lens of his phone camera and catch them in real-time.
But that’s not where the benefits of this interactive experience end. When applied to the life of the everyday consumer, AR can provide him with overlaid information and images in the same fashion. Now, no matter what question or complaint the customer has, the technology can directly address it. At times, the need for a call to the customer service support line becomes obsolete.
Keep on reading to find out exactly how Augmented Reality (AR) can enhance Customer Experience (CX).
#1 It can help customers make a purchasing decision
Although e-commerce sales are forecasted to reach $6 trillion by 2024, online shopping is still not everyone’s first choice. This is due to customers not being able to see the products first. The outcome — return rates continue to rise and customers remain disappointed.
With AI in place, this trend can be turned around. It makes it possible for the customer to visualize, say, what a chair from Ikea would look like in your living room. The proof is in the pudding — the Ikea Place app allows the buyer to virtually place a piece of furniture in your house and see how well it’s going to fit with the rest of your homeware.
This way, AR gets rid of the friction associated with the uncertainty of making an online purchase. The customer gets to see the real-life product and is less likely to return it after receiving it in the mail.
#2 It can be used to train customer support agents
The goal of customer service is to serve the client in the best way possible so that he would be prompted to leave a positive review and become a loyal customer. To provide exemplary support, your staff should be familiar with every detail of the product or service you offer. This can be overwhelming when there are more than just a couple of products or services available to the customer.
Augmented Reality helps train your customer support agents and make the experts in a much more efficient manner. Since the technology allows to replicate the real product that’s not physically accessible, the time it takes for the personnel to learn the ins and outs of the product is significantly reduced. AR apps, in particular, are known to even eliminate the intermediary (support staff) when solving customers’ issues.
#3 It can offer advice or provide more information on the product via interactive packaging
Customer service support that assists prospects all throughout the sales process goes a long way in ensuring customer satisfaction. One of the stages a customer goes through when considering making the purchase is examining the properties of the product. Here’s where AR can come in handy.
The most famous — and one of the first ones to reach the market — is interactive packaging used by Heinz on their Tomato Ketchup. When the customer places his camera phone on the product, he’s being redirected to the pop-out booklet containing a variety of recipes featuring ketchup.
The same technique is applicable to virtually every industry, including pharmaceuticals, where the buyer is able to access additional information on the drug by scanning its packaging.
#4 It can simplify the process of reporting issues with a faulty product
More often than not, customers will encounter technical issues with a product and have to either send it back or request a refund. Even when there might be a solution to fix the issue, the customer has no way of knowing how to explain it to the customer support agent. Augmented Reality solves this problem by enabling the customer to report faults in real-time.
This involves holding their phone up to the broken part of the product and making it known what exactly has gone wrong. The customer support staff will then be able to identify the issue and advise the customer on how to mend it. Sometimes, the customer doesn’t even need to send the product back to the company — the glitch is easily repairable.
#5 It can supply the customer with an easy-to-use user manual
It’s about time companies lay off bulky user manuals and invest in digital instruction books. Powered by AR, they are a great alternative to traditional paper manuals that take up a lot of space and often end up collecting dust in the customer’s basement. A handful of internationally-recognized brands like Hyundai are already leveraging interactive technology to provide maintenance to their customers with a simple click of a button.
The process is easy — all the customer has to do is to point his phone to the product’s feature and he’ll get a detailed description of it. Just like the customer support agent, the AR-operated guide can show the driver of a new car how to check the oil levels or replace air filters.
#6 It can provide a more hands-on self-service support
Not everyone likes calling the call center when they have a question to ask. In fact, as many as 67% of customers would prefer self-service over speaking to a customer support agent. This is why an AR application is a life-saver when it comes to providing customer support without calling or messaging the company.
Using their phones, customers are able to access the knowledge base of the product along with manuals and other training materials. Take Nespresso as an example of a company that offers its customers the opportunity to scan the packaging of the coffee machine and get in-depth instructions on how to descale it.
To sum up
Augmented Reality isn’t the future — it’s the present. Companies that have cracked this code are already making use of the technology to serve their customers better. Whether it’s through offering a try-before-you-buy experience, interactive packaging, or a digital user manual, they aren’t shying away from adopting new methods of improving customer experience that would ultimately lead to higher customer satisfaction rates and increased word-of-mouth.
If you want to be among the pioneer adopters of AR, start exploring how you can implement it in your customer service strategy starting today.
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