Yes, it’s hype. Virtual and augmented reality remain crude. AI and chatbots are underpowered. But… that’s all changing fast.
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) platforms are about to become ubiquitous as prices and processing needs fall. Machine learning means artificial intelligences (AI) are getting exponentially smarter – from an admittedly low base – as they start to follow our every word at home and work. Chatbots are becoming common even in healthcare.
Millennials see possibilities in these technologies – but the boomers are excited too. And that, according to our survey of more than 7,000 consumers in seven counties, is shifting the way brands need to manage customer experience (CX).
Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa are changing customer perceptions of automated response systems. As they get smarter – and more trusted by consumers – ensuring they can deliver information and execute actions will be critical for businesses.
Crude automation increasingly starts to look dated. Younger people have high expectations for innovation; older consumers don’t mind automation or on-screen interactions, if it’s a more “human” experience. What matters is that customers feel they’re getting an instant interaction, one where they feel in control – and that adapts to their needs.
Businesses need to build out a digital infrastructure that allows ever-smarter AIs to execute increasingly complex functions on these platforms. Without redesigned digital foundations – around customer data, fulfillment and even product design – brands risk over-promising and dashing expectations.
VR: youth in the vanguard
“How important do you think it will be for companies to offer VR interactions in the near future?”
A simple question, with a clear answer: 54% of Millennials told us it will be, with only 9% rating it unimportant. Yet only 20% of the over-55s also rated VR “unimportant”.
To be seen as innovative and adaptable, these technologies are increasingly a must-have. But all that’s stopping older customers from engaging on these platforms is familiarity. A little education and some decent user experience design, and all the benefits in CX terms from these approaches will apply across the board.