3 Ways Augmented Reality is Taking Customer Experience to the Next Level
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Augmented Reality (AR) has come a long way from just being perceived as a futuristic gaming technology to emerging enterprise technology. As AR technology is becoming more mature and sophisticated, early adopters in several industries are leveraging it to run innovative marketing campaigns, improve customer service, improve field employee productivity and drive sales. According to Global Market Insights, the AR market value is estimated to surpass $50 billion by the year 2024.
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented Reality projects or overlays virtual objects on the real environment in order to help users visualize how they might look in the real world. AR provides users with an interactive, 360 degree and 3D experience where what already exists in the real world is fused with a digitally created vision. By adding information to the existing environment, AR creates a new artificial environment.
Out of the many applications of AR, the most sought out ones currently by businesses are related to customer service and for driving the customer experience.
3 Ways AR Can Improve Customer Experience
AR helps companies solve customer issues beyond the screen remotely. With Augmented reality enabled remote support solutions support personnel can see through the customer’s smartphone camera to observe equipment, machinery or infrastructure issues. They allow support staff to add 3D tags and markers to the real-world objects, in turn helping customers effortlessly see what is being referred to.
This eliminates long-drawn-out telephonic and email conversations, ensuring that the support staff quickly comprehends and solves the issue without visiting the customer’s location.
For example, consider a customer’s car breaks down in a remote location. With an AR remote support app, the support personnel from the relevant automotive company can understand the cause of the problem and guide the customer to the solution by drawing 3D markers on the real-world objects. They don’t even have to visit the site.
Since the support is provided in real-time, customers looking at help no more have to wait around for service personnel to show up. Instead, the support team can act almost immediately to fix breakdowns and issues remotely. The drastic improvement is response time goes a long way in fostering a positive and lasting customer experience.
Enhancing The Shopping Experience
AR helps customers visualize how something like a color shade or an item of clothing might look. From interior design to fast fashion, industries globally have tapped into AR technology to fuel the try-before-you-buy trend. Interactive AR apps have become all the rage today, helping customers make well-informed buying decisions.
Consider Ikea Place, an AR virtual furniture app that lets you virtually place furniture in your desired space before deciding to buy it. By helping customers visualize furniture in their own home in a full-scale, 3D setting, with accurate measurements, this app makes it convenient for customers to decide whether an item is suitable for them or not.
In addition, retailers are also quickly adopting AR technologies to enhance the in-store experiences for their customers. In fact, a survey by Retail Perceptions states that 61 per cent of shoppers prefer to shop at stores that offer Augmented Reality than the ones that don’t. And 40 per cent of them are willing to pay more for a product if they are provided with an AR experience of it.
AR helps turn many preliminary support processes into self-service tasks. Customers can easily access the company’s AR knowledge base through their smartphone in order to understand a product better and resolve simple issues on their own. An AR knowledge base will contain virtual yet realistic models of the product along with virtual tutorials, enabling customers to visualize a product in a real-world setting.
Sephora’s Virtual Artist is an apt example. The application offers virtual makeup tutorials that are overlaid on your own face. This helps customers learn makeup techniques and try on different products such as lipsticks, highlighters, etc. to see how it looks with respect to their faces. An application such as this fosters easy self-service enriching the overall experience at no extra cost or effort for the customer.
As more and more customers today are preferring self-service options, AR can be viewed as the perfect and much-needed add-on to enhance the service experience. An AR-based self-service also improves the productivity of field staff and reduces contact centre volume and technician visits.
Global giants in different industries like CPG, retail, e-commerce, construction, manufacturing, etc. are quickly adopting AR to deliver unique and memorable experiences to customers. AR helps create a wow-factor for customers in the buying journey. While the above-mentioned points are only a few, there are numerous other ways AR is transforming customer experience pre and post-sales. AR technologies are emerging and so are their applications for enterprises.