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June 23, 2022

The Next ‘Verse’ to Shape the Customer Experience? The YOUniverse, of Course

The concepts of Metaverse, Multiverse, and now — the YOUniverse — all have important characteristics that map directly to the workplace and will shape the business world of the future. Each of these mandates a new approach to business communications beyond treating voice, video, and text as separate communication channels — to integrating these with AI technology to deliver the total experiences that employees and customers expect. 

The Metaverse

“The Metaverse belongs to the players — not those making the games!”

– Agnes Larsson, Game Director

In a recent very captivating Ted Talk, Agnes Larsson discusses the infinite, personalized worlds that can be created using today’s gaming software.  According to Oxford, a metaverse is any virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.  Therefore, this space doesn’t have to be just for “gaming.” In fact, with the AI capabilities that businesses are incorporating into every employee and customer experience, the entire business landscape has become a Metaverse. 

Key Takeaway: It is now essential that businesses use AI to enable employees and customers to “self-compose” their experiences.

The YOUniverse

“The Customer decides – and ours is to be relentlessly focused on making it possible for them to do that…”

– Simon Harrison, What Kind of Experience Makes a Customer Happy Now?

Although the word YOUniverse has had negative connotations in the past, it is now a spot-on description of how modern technology has enabled each of us to craft our own universe. The generic definition of a universe is a particular sphere of activity, interest, or experience. We can all now walk down the street with our favorite band seemingly floating above us performing our favorite tunes, and then having the music pause while our latest e-mail is read to us, while at the same time our travel guide is telling us which street to turn down. And then we tell our intelligent assistant to dial into our next business meeting (and if we are using the right technology we don’t have to worry about the street noise!).  We then walk into our favorite coffee or tea shop where our personalized drink is already waiting for us and paid for!  We essentially each have created and exist in our own YOUniverse!

As Simon describes in the aforementioned webcast, the many communication tools we use in our everyday lives — smart watches, wearables, mobile phones, laptops, etc. — have evolved and the modalities they support have also evolved such as touch, haptic responses, and Natural Language Understanding to completely change the way we do things in our daily lives.     

This translates directly to our business interactions.  We all now expect to enjoy personalized business experiences across all of our personas (for example, our personas as an employee, customer, patient, etc.)  We expect a seamless digital journey that is contextual (based on our history, our current situation, and our aspirations), intelligent (knowing and delivering the next best action to accomplish our goals), consistent across multiple modalities (e.g. voice, text, chat, gesture) and connected to every touchpoint (e.g. phone, car, smart speaker, etc.). 

Key Takeaway: Businesses must shift their focus from customer satisfaction to increasing customer intimacy.

The Multiverse

“The Multiverse isn’t just parallel universes accessible through science.  They are in each of us, a kaleidoscope made of varying perceptions.” 

– Micaiah Johnson, The Space Between Worlds

If you have seen the latest superhero and science fiction flicks, you have become familiar with the term “multiverse”. Actually, the concept of infinite worlds existing simultaneously isn’t new. It is both an ancient idea and a topic of modern physics. Whether these worlds exist or not might be a fun debate to have. But it also presents a powerful analogy to how the business-to-consumer relationship has transformed in recent years. 

As “Experience Economy” expert Joe Pine so eloquently conveyed in Avaya’s recent Engage customer conference, there is a new value in the marketplace that every business is competing for — it’s consumer attention. Businesses have always competed for consumer attention to an extent. They did this by grouping consumers into various segments and then tailoring their products, services, and messaging to each segment. This enabled consumers to have some limited control over offerings as a group, but the reality was that businesses maintained most of the control. Today this script has completely flipped — consumers now have the power to self-segment. 

If we align with the concept of the YOUniverse, we can only conclude that there are now 7.8B market segments (or parallel YOUniverses), each of which must be served uniquely. This requires addressing use cases that are extremely granular and providing experiences that are crafted and delivered in the moment. 

Key Takeaway: Companies must understand that they are all now in the experiences business.

In Summary

Today’s Metaverse consumers understand that their time and attention have significant value to businesses and have gained new agency to self-segment. AI technology has completely blown up the previous framework of the business-to-consumer supply chain and has amplified consumer control to the point that the consumer is now part of the production as they create and enjoy their own experiences. 

They also now expect every business product and service to adapt to meet their unique needs in terms of context, intent, and communications devices and modalities — to integrate into their YOUniverse.  Business experiences can no longer be challenging, boring, and unappealing. They must be effortless, exciting, and rewarding — to the point that customers see sufficient value in trading their personal information to drive an even better business experience.     

Today’s businesses are competing for the attention, business, and loyalty in a Multiverse that consists of 7.8B parallel YOUniverses. 

Integrating business value into the daily lives of their employees and customers requires having the ability to address very granular use cases. This requires a platform approach, and many businesses are using the Avaya Experience Platform to create and deliver the experiences that today’s employees and customers expect — choosing to partner with an experiences platform company that covers 95% of the known YOUniverse!

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