Trend 8: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and 3D Holograms

Raghuraman Anantha Ramakrishnan
Senior Manager Operations

Earlier this year, HGS released a white paper on this year’s top 10 trends in customer service. Over the course of the past year, we’ve dedicated a blog post to each of these CX game changers. Here we dissect CX Trend No.8: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and 3D Holograms, highlighting strategies designed to drive the right answer, fast, for your customers—to ultimately result in higher CSAT and NPS scores for your business.

Rapid strides in technology advancement have made Augmented Reality (AR) a part of our lives more than we believed a few years ago. AR is the blending of virtual reality and real life, as developers can create images within applications that blend in with contents in the real world. The best way to describe AR is a blur between virtual reality and gamification. Think Pokemon Go. Using AR creates a "third reality" that includes the actual reality captured and "augmented" with virtual elements. With increasing implementation, AR can go a long way in reducing customer effort involved in issue resolution and leading them towards the Right Answer Fast™.


Augmented Reality (AR) in Customer Service

In 2017, AR technology is assisting customer service in differentiating their tech support strategies. Technical troubleshooting can be made easier with AR where the customer service professional can virtually be ‘next’ to a customer and study the problem using the customer’s phone/ system camera. Instead of relying on the customer’s account of the problem they are encountering, which may not be fully accurate due to their lack of technical expertise, the customer service professional can use visual elements in their places and provide to customers visual guidance that is more effective. If a customer wants to know how to go about a product installation or fix an issue, AR can overlay and show what is amiss and what needs to change for the issue to be resolved. AR is a great way of step-by-step, hands-on customer support. AR sidesteps the comprehension challenges that come with a typical customer interaction by ‘virtually bringing together’ the customer and the service representative and provides customers with a unique, smooth experience.

Quick and easy resolution during the installation is critical because, according to recent research by market research firm Parks Associates, only 33% of consumers who encountered problems during product set-up will purchase a similar product from the brand again. With AR, a consumer can aim their smartphone at a product, and a 3D version of the product will pop up on the screen, along with interactive guides, how-to videos, helpful tips, or even the ability to connect with a customer service representative via video. Customer service professionals are even experimenting with smart diagnostic tools so that the customer can aim their smart phone at a product, and have the app diagnose or troubleshoot the problem. After a diagnosis is found, the app will guide customers to the online help center for a step-by-step resolution. This saves the customer time from trying to explain what they see or what they are experiencing.

3D Hologram Displays

In 2017, 3D hologram displays are making their presence felt throughout retail stores. These 3D displays are designed to engage prospective buyers, giving them interactive tutorials on how to use the product and ultimately helping to sell more of it. In short, 3D hologram displays take consumers ‘into the experience of living the product’.

Future Outlook

Widespread implementation of AR and 3D hologram displays will still take time. The technology needs to be more accessible and affordable for adoption by consumers and companies on a mainstream level. Though AR and 3D holograms are not very common practices, they will in the future play a significant role in customer service strategies to reduce customer effort and lead them to the Right Answer Fast™.