The era of flat content seems to be over now because of the emergence of immersive technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and 3D visuals. We have already entered a new technological era where content increasingly tends to be dynamic. Just like the dynamic content created through these immersive visuals, customer communication also tends to be dynamic.
Augmented Reality (AR) is particularly paving the way for most dynamic communication whether for professionals in corporate environments or for customers as part of customer service and support systems. Apps developed in Augmented Reality technology for customer service and business communication are increasingly getting popular.
More than 1 Billion people now all over the globe use AR. With the launch of AR development tools by mobile platforms such as Apple and Google, thousands of AR-based apps are being launched for diverse niches and purposes. A significant portion of these apps uses AR technology for meaningful customer communication and business collaboration.
Here, we are going to explain how AR is going to transform customer communication. But, before that, let us shed some light on the basics of Augmented Reality (AR) technology.
What is Augmented Reality?
For understanding the real impact of AR on customer communication and business collaboration, you need to have a detailed understanding of how AR technology works. AR-based apps add to our everyday reality a lot of digital elements, and AR technology allows a more meaningful and deeper representation of the reality on our device screens.
If you have a look at some real-world examples of AR implementation, you can easily understand how AR technology works and enriches our sense of reality. Let’s have a look at some real-world examples of AR implementation.
- A sports commentator on TV while analysing a game often uses AR-based information overlays or graphics on the live-streaming or recorded sports video.
- When shopping in a physical store, you can just scan the barcode of a product, and by using your camera, try the products virtually on your screen. The same can be done while making purchases online.
- When buying furniture and furnishings online, you can just upload your room images and see the furniture placed in order to evaluate the final look and feel.
- Mobile games like Pokemon Go, which make the game players find virtual characters in different real-world locations by using GPS maps, is a great example of AR gaming.
- When a travel app guides the users navigating through new locations and furnishes all the important information on the screen by tracking real-time location, it is a great way to use AR for navigation and as a travel guide.
- The real-time conferencing and chat messaging apps that allow incorporating physical objects and persons with digital overlays can also serve as great examples of AR apps.
Now that we have furnished several examples of AR implementation, let us now explain the way AR can make an impact on different levels of communication, including customer communication, customer support, corporate communication and business collaboration. These will also give us a clear idea about the business benefits of Augmented Reality.
AR-based Customer Self Service
AR technology brought a great value addition to customers to help them with self-service mechanisms that provide relief from unnecessary dependencies while allowing them access to the knowledge base of a company, along with FAQs, user manuals and hands-on training materials. While treated with an AR-powered experience, these resources help customers find solutions to a lot of issues with ease.
Sending emails to customers to guide them about new solutions has already taken a back seat because of security concerns. Email security is frequently affected by spam bots. There are measures that say shortening your email address can prevent spam bots from taking control, but still, exposure to security vulnerabilities is still there. This is where AR-powered self-guidance and support tools can be more effective.
According to a recent survey on self-installation, 40% of customers prefer following setup instructions right on their mobile screens instead of relying on installation experts. According to the same survey, a whopping 71% of customers prefer AR-based visual guidance for self-installation. These data clearly show that AR-based self-service is likely to grow in popularity among customers.
One of the crucial business benefits of Augmented Reality for customer self-service is the reduced cost and fewer instances of return because of faulty installations.
AR for Corporate Communication
AR-based applications are increasingly getting popular for corporate communication and collaboration. A wide variety of AR-based applications make business communication and collaboration easier than ever before.
- Visual Data: Data is more visual in character, thanks to graphic data visualization tools and immersive technologies that can add overlays of relevant data on visuals. In corporate communication, this data visualisation is increasingly playing an important role to facilitate quick and easy understanding and bringing employees of all levels on the same page. AR technology can be highly useful when a business needs to focus on performance management.
- Holographic in-person communication: AR-based holographic applications are increasingly becoming popular, and already, brands like Microsoft came up with its “holoportation” technology. This has already revolutionised the way strategic business communication with in-person experience can be broadcasted across locations.
- Immersive emotional storytelling: AR technology is also being leveraged to evoke emotion, empathy, user understanding and engagement. The AR-based immersive visuals can motivate the employees to give their best efforts and establish better bonding between the brand and the workforce.
AR messaging or messages optimised with AR technology can easily establish meaningful communication with the target audience. A visual message with overlaid information and interactive elements can quickly engage the audience and establish understanding faster.
The way some apps allow you to transform your image into a meaningful emoji is a great example of how Augmented Reality works.
There are many more ways to incorporate AR messaging in business environments. An employee can scan a report with their phone and instantly see more details of the report on the screen. An AR message revealing more engaging and interactive details on the screen can broaden the scope of communication. The key qualities of effective AR messaging include the following:
- Visual: AR messages are primarily visual and can be utilised for effective storytelling. For instance, a data chart can be replaced by an engaging presentation of the information on graphic visuals.
- Emotional: Immersive technologies like AR also help in establishing in-depth emotional connections. Engaging visuals can meaningfully address the emotional impact with the use of images, words and moving images as per the context.
- Personal: By allowing users to use their images or real-life events, AR helps them to engage more personally. For example, when a user twists his image and creates a custom emoji, it establishes a personal connection.
AR to enhance Customer Satisfaction
Augmented Reality (AR) plays a highly effective role in ensuring customer satisfaction. Let us have a look at the five key factors required for customer satisfaction, and how AR technology establishes them.
- Adaptability: It is all about making tailored offerings to customers to satisfy their needs and wants. With tailored visual and immersive communication, and immersive shopping experience involving both real products and their digital representations, AR can offer a satisfactory customer experience.
- Establishing Connection: For optimum satisfaction, it is important to allow customers to provide feedback, make interactions and get engaged with the brand. AR-based immersive shopping and branding experiences easily help customers to establish a connection with the brand.
- Right product choices: A business needs to showcase the right product line with a proper assortment to ensure ease of making choices. AR-based product catalogues and displays can easily help to reach the right balance between too many and too few choices.
- Smooth transaction: For optimum customer satisfaction, it is also important to reduce friction as much as possible and establish a smooth and seamless customer journey. The AR-based online shopping experience can easily engage customers and do away with the frictions in the buying process.
- Feel-good environment: A brand must create a feel-good environment to motivate customer engagement with the brand. The fun-filled immersive experience offered by Augmented Reality can easily give customers a good feeling about the business brand and business interactions.
From ensuring customer satisfaction to establishing seamless brand communication, from allowing everyday business communication to paving a smooth way for rigorous business collaboration, an Augmented Reality (AR) app can make a huge impact on the customer journey and the journey of business brands. In the years to come, AR-based customer communication will be an established norm for most brands.