Virtual reality customer service is a real possibility, and could be used by companies to resolve issues as soon as 2020, says tech giant Oracle.
New research, ‘Can Virtual Experiences Replace Reality?’, claims that 78% of brands could be using this by that date, with AI-powered chatbots being the other most-used emerging tech being brought in to reduce waiting times and cut costs.
Oracle asked 800 senior businesspeople in brands across France, the Netherlands, South Africa and the UK for their views on the new forms of tech and how they may impact their companies in the years ahead.
Indeed, it is true that a virtual reality advisor, perhaps even powered by AI, would limit the need for people to hang around waiting on the phone or live chat to speak to a representative.
There is already a drop in the number of human-tohuman interactions as consumers' preferences for digital self-service emerges. Brands such as Uber and Amazon – which has just launched its first checkout-less store – are testimony to this.
Indeed, over 35% of brands Oracle surveyed added that their own customers preferred to buy things or resolve an issue wihtout speaking to someone on the sales or customer services team.
Get your data right first
However given that some brands (60%, in fact) aren't including social media or information of previous interactions in their customer profiles, it looks like they will need to step up their game somewhat if they are to invest in emerging tech.
According to Oracle, incomplete or out of date customer profiles may miss details of preferences, purchase history or recent issues, resulting in bots and VR experiences leaving customers frustrated rather than satisfied.
“While virtual reality may be seen as a passing craze by some, the commitment of some of the world’s biggest companies to develop VR products for consumers suggests otherwise. Brands will always look to experiment with new technologies as they try to find ways of delivering innovative and memorable experiences for their customers,” said Daryn Mason, senior director, CX Applications at Oracle.
“Brands are at a crossroads. There’s an early-mover advantage to experimenting and launching innovative services while others wait and see, but they need to walk before they can run.
"The reality is that many brands are still unable to get a complete view of each individual customer so the immediate priority needs to be to organise and get value from the data they already have.”
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