“Have you tried turning it off and on again?” suggests the customer service agent in the hit British TV series, The IT Crowd. As the frustrated laptop user struggles to understand the agent over the phone, her issue remains unsolved.
Customer service is one of the most vital elements of many businesses, especially those with technology as the central pillar of their services. Excellent customer service can boost sales, reputation, and overall success of any company. Nevertheless, it’s no secret that poorly managed customer service can leave both agents and customers frustrated and create many sitcom-worthy moments.
However, thanks to the latest developments in Augmented Reality (AR), failing to help customers – or experiencing difficulties with understanding the agent’s directives – might soon be of bygone past.
What is AR?
Like many other technological advancements, AR had its beginnings in the gaming world in the 1960s. It offers an interactive experience by blending of digital elements and a computerized real-life environment.
One of the most well-known applications of AR is the beloved 2016 game Pokémon Go, which tapped into geo-tagging and mobile phone cameras to allow gamers to “catch” pokémons.
However, AR’s ability to turn backyards into Pokémon hotspots is a revolutionary technology that can assist businesses in countless ways and answer complex customer service needs.
AR is Uniquely Suited to Improve Customer Service
A 2018 report shows that poor customer service costs businesses in the US alone a whopping USD 83 billion. Two-thirds of the customers said they ended a relationship with a brand merely due to poor customer service.
The same study also identified the following four items as the top demand from customer service: Competency, convenience, proactivity, and personalization. Furthermore, the difficulty with understanding the voice commands emerged as a significant obstacle in utilizing the services.
AR can efficiently address all these issues typical to customer service.Andreas Häberli, CTO of dormakaba
Andreas Häberli, CTO of dormakaba believes the technology is uniquely poised to ease the frustrations and fixes “fixing” itself. He added, “Thanks to AR, you can virtually enhance a room into a problem-fixing workshop. This saves technicians and service agents, as well as the customers a lot of time. It also cuts costs as support teams can quickly detect an error and give remote advice, without needing to travel and be there in person.”
AR Empowers Both Agents and Customers
AR can step in to support both agents and customers depending on the needs and complexities of the products and assistance they require.
Field technicians can perform repairs or gain access to their colleagues for consulting using an AR-powered display such as a head-mount or a smartphone. On the other hand, support agents based in call centers can remotely assist customers through visual interaction as if they’re in the same room together. This boosts the efficiency and personalizes the experience, yielding quicker fixes, while also eliminating the much-loathed dependence on voice commands alone.
Furthermore, thanks to AR apps, customers can access a company’s AR knowledge base. Unlike the overwhelm they might experience flipping through the pages of a product manual, customers can attend to their own needs or fix small issues with AR apps.
As the AR technologies are evolving quickly, Google is forecasting that hundreds of millions of devices will support AR capabilities in the next few years. Companies to take advantage of these technologies might miss out on the comedy gold, but the saved millions will more than compensate for it.