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April 29, 2024

How To Approach CX In The Metaverse

How to approach CX in the metaverse

Tvrtko Stosic

Sales Consultant

From a customer services perspective, the metaverse will not replace physical or online channels but will become an important new touchpoint.

Although the metaverse is still in its infancy, the world’s top brands are already establishing their presence in the virtual worlds that it enables. Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Ford, Louis Vuitton and Marvel are just some of those who are already using it to create virtual experiences.

Gartner predicts that 30 percent of companies worldwide will have metaverse-ready products and services by 2026, but what could that look like? And how might you be able to leverage the Metaverse to deliver a new type of experience for your customers?

How Might The Metaverse Look?

According to Matthew Ball, the metaverse is “a massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds that can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users with an individual sense of presence, and with continuity of data, such as identity, history, entitlements, objects, communications, and payments.”

In simpler terms, the metaverse is something that provides real-world experiences within the virtual world. For example, you can shop for clothes on a website or smartphone app, but you cannot try them on – for that, you need to go to a physical store. The metaverse offers the ability to try on clothes (on an admittedly digital version of yourself) but remain in the online world.

Indeed, while the Internet is something we consume in 2D, the metaverse immerses us in three-dimensional, virtual worlds where we can shop, do business, meet, learn, socialize, play and experience things in new ways – with help of virtual, augmented and mixed reality. The internet is a network of networks. The metaverse is a network of worlds.

The beauty of this is that, apart from offering classic experiences that mimic the real world, you can use the metaverse to deliver experiences not possible anywhere else. For example, a football team could offer its fans the ability to try taking that critical penalty from last night’s game – or simply experience replays of the game from different positions and angles.

From a customer services perspective, the metaverse will not replace physical or online channels but will become an important new touchpoint. In the same way, customers expect organizations to be available on the web or social media, they will expect a presence in the metaverse too. And this new channel will have to be tightly “glued” with the others – with customers demanding experiences that seamlessly connect the real and virtual worlds.

In practice, this could look like walking into a virtual storefront in the metaverse and being greeted and served by conversational AI-powered avatar-bots – or AI-based digital people – that can provide information, guidance and more complex services such as booking appointments or pulling account data. And, if needed, the customer will expect a seamless handover from the bot to a human agent while still immersed in the virtual space.

Expect to see organizations enabling customers to experience or evaluate digital twins of whatever they’re offering – from electronic devices or venues to offices, cars or even planes. What’s more, the metaverse will be used to demonstrate how products work, to avoid the need for the customer to consult lengthy instruction manuals. When it comes to purchases, secure payments, biometrics and documents shared via blockchain should enable any kind of business transaction seamlessly and securely.

The demand for this sort of all-encompassing digital experience is just on the horizon, and the technology to provide it is very much available now.

The contact center will play a key role here. Contact centers will have to design metaverse-ready services that will, among other things, require redefining agent user interfaces and training. Processes and applications will also have to adapt to this new touchpoint – for example, CRMs will have to store Web 3.0 identities so that customers can be recognized in the metaverse – but their scope and content will not change much. The principles of effective customer service and good customer experience that we know from the real world will also apply in the metaverse.

Creating a Better Metaverse Experience

What we haven’t yet mentioned is the fact that the metaverse will enable personalization at a level not even remotely possible when it comes to other communications channels. Our (recorded and shareable) activities in the metaverse – how we look, the places we visit, the organizations we interact with, and the emotions we’re expressing – are all a great source of information and will provide the bedrock to hyper-personalized services. Imagine how much consumer information is shared on social media today – the information generated on the metaverse will dwarf this, enabling companies to use predictive analytics and shape experiences far more precisely than ever before.

The end goal will be using that data to the point where consumers are able to self-segment themselves across their various personas and choose their own journeys.

The Obstacles

It’s no secret that the metaverse is still in a nascent stage, and there are a number of headwinds to counter before we reach the full potential outlined above. For example, hardware limitations are still limiting uptake – headsets for virtual and augmented reality are bulky, expensive, and cater mostly to a specialist audience. Volumetric displays, sensors translating your real-world gestures to your virtual world avatar, haptic equipment, eye-tracking cameras and similar are still functionally limited and expensive.

In addition, a persistent, real-time 3D world serving millions or even billions of people requires computation power never seen before. The metaverse will most probably require a redefining of underlying Internet protocols (“Internet 3.0”) which were not designed with virtual worlds in mind. Standards for the design of 3D objects like avatars, and their appearances, as well as standards for different elements of the virtual world environment, should also be agreed upon and established. Data rights, information security and abuse prevention also need to be worked out.

But let’s remember that the internet faced significant headwinds, too, requiring substantial time (and the proliferation of the smartphone) before finding massive adoption. We should give the metaverse the benefit of the doubt in the same way.

Learn more about Avaya Experience Platform, Avaya’s revolutionary Customer Experience solution, and how you can empower your contact center with the AI technology that will set your business apart, today.

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