On the day of a match, football clubs usually sell tickets to around 40,000 people, and these fans usually visit the stadium for a few hours and possibly buy a shirt in the souvenir shop. INow imagine 800,000 other people watching the same game, but in 3D in the virtual world. What experience could and should the club offer these people? How should he interact with them? And not just during the game, but continuously if they want to spend more time there?
The arrival of the metaverse has begun to raise these kinds of questions in corporate boardrooms around the world. The concept of the metaverse has dominated the technology and business landscape this year – Computing devices can now connect people, via virtual reality headsets or even just via their browser, to a digital space of real-time virtual experiences that users actually want to interact with. Although still in the experimental stage, use cases from brands and professionals are now being added to use cases from the gaming and entertainment industry. Brands such as H&M, Heineken and BMW have each recently launched projects in this area.
Commerce will soon take hold, bringing with it a whole new and exciting world of brand experiences and ways of buying and selling, as businesses seek to connect with consumers in a whole new paradigm. Thanks to the creation of 3D models, travel agencies can present hotels, tourist spots and means of transport in high digital quality. This can make the vacation planning and shopping experience much easier, saving you from spending hours reading endless reviews on the internet to find out if places are worth visiting before you book. Similarly, the real estate industry may soon offer 3D guided tours of real estate, eliminating the need to travel for endless personal tours.
For these new customer experiences to be more than just a passing fad, it will be equally important for brands to think about the customer service strategy that will support them. But where to start? Here are some areas you might think about.
How do you best integrate your customer service representatives into the metaverse?
The metaverse is about immersion – once you’re there, you don’t want to have to leave the platform and go back to traditional support channels like email if you run into a problem. As more and more of us converge in the metaverse, customer support will become more and more crucial to delivering a positive experience. We’ve seen this before in games, where chat devices allow you to get help from the platform. Conversational service – with agents in the form of avatars – will be the key to effectively solving problems without having to leave the experience room. Brands should think about how they view the metaverse as a new support channel where agents or even help items could “pop up” in our opinion. If done right, early adopters who are already exploring virtual worlds will soon be transformed into brand ambassadors.
How does integrating the metaverse into customer service change the buying process? Virtually trying a product before buying it could create experiences freed from inventory constraints and give consumers more power, especially by comparing prices. For example, for a car purchase, it could allow customers to visit a single dealership to view multiple brands and virtually explore, shortlist and pre-configure the cars they are interested in.
But what should a company’s customer service look like when the products are sold by a third-party distributor? How do you make sure you set up your service at the right time if a buyer needs more information? It is by thinking about these issues, as well as the potential impact on how goods are purchased in the real world, that we can ensure that the service in the metaverse is set up in the right way from the start.
How do we find the brands we don’t yet know?
Virtual worlds will create a new way for consumers to research goods and understand how products work — much like the arrival of Amazon’s Alexa did several years ago. It will change the way we connect with brands, but it will also allow us to bypass a brand through a third party – just like we can do with Amazon on the web. Retailers should therefore study the digital revolutions that have already taken place to think intelligently about the next one.
Businesses must prioritize customer service as if their growth depends on it. Sooner or later this will also include customer service in the metaverse. We need to start planning for this development now, especially as less than a third (30%) of European companies currently include chat customer service in their toolbox, and only 40% are able to integrate customer service with other business channels.
In many ways, the arrival of the metaverse represents the next phase of digital transformation : it is a new version of the Internet. And as brands begin to take notice of this new virtual world, the worst thing they can do is do nothing, ignore it and not start thinking about a strategy, even if they are not yet ready to take the plunge. After all, we’ve seen what happened to brands like Kodak and Blockbuster that neglected earlier digital leaps. Whether the metaverse will embody the same level of subversion remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt that it opens up a whole new world of possibilities that would be hard to ignore.