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Since Facebook announced its name change to Meta in October 2021, the term “Metaverse” has taken the internet by the storm. After the announcement, every business owner from every sector has been searching and chasing for opportunities that the Metaverse could possibly bring.

What Strategies Contact Centers Need to Deploy Right Now for The Metaverse.

 

It almost feels like you have been left behind if you don’t adapt quick enough. Just in February this year, JP Morgan launched its virtual lounge in the Decentraland Metaverse, followed by HSBC - another international baking giants – who just bought a virtual real estate property in the Sandbox Metaverse in March. Even Heineken, opened a virtual brewery, and is offering virtual…beer. No, you definitely can’t taste this beer.

Although it all seems fun, what implications does this have with contact centers? As of right now, it might be difficult to see any correlation, but if your company wanted to be ground-breaking with unparalleled customer service, maybe now is the time to start adopting these new technologies, exploring its potential and sketching out some strategies. Soon, it might even become the foundation for your business.

What is the Metaverse?

With the incoming arrival of Web 3.0, along with NFTs, Crypto Cloud, and the Metaverse, the future of Internet has never felt so close.

To clarify, the Metaverse does not mean Facebook. The Metaverse is a loosely defined 3D space where users can create a virtual version of themselves to interact and exchange. It aims to mimic the real world with a myriad of technologies, including Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), brain-computer interfaces (BCI), cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence (AI), and more.

How Does the Metaverse Affect Contact Center?

Isn’t it frustrating when you try calling customer services, and it turn out to be an AI chatbot that fails to answer your question? 

Contact center is the core of a company’s customer experience (CX), and the mobile or website interface determines user’s experience (UX). Both are primary in delivering superior value to best satisfy your customers. Despite how much one may dislike chatbots, it is now indispensable for many businesses. What started out as a differentiated, competitive asset, after years of being trained and comprehensively refined, has now become a business necessity.

During COVID time, traditional businesses were forced to move their operations online. While some are still struggling with the shifting landscape from offline to online, computing had put forward the emergence of another technological evolution. As the Metaverse is strictly user-centric, this transformation will set a completely new benchmarks for customer expectations. For business owners, this means managing an increasingly complex operation, physical and digital, and now virtual. It poses a pressure for brands to deliver transformative experience that is complemented by “non-physical” goods and services, AI chatbots, cryptocurrency payments, blockchain transaction ledgers, and maybe even an inventory of NFTs.

Seemingly overwhelming, it is your choice to take risks or to play it safe. According to the Accenture Technology Vision 2022 report, 93% of Australian executives anticipated that the metaverse will have a positive effect on their organizations. If you want to dip your toes in the water, here are some strategies we recommend you consider:

What Strategies Should I Deploy?

  1. Explore and Invest

Big companies will be developing their own technology and interface. At the minimum, cloud computing is foundational, combined with Blockchain technology, they will soon reconstruct their website and applications. Consequently, they would invest in Extended Reality (xR) to make the ‘Metaverse’ experience seems as real as possible. We’re at a turning point —market leaders like Google and Apple are changing their privacy doctrines that further gatekeep their data, which put brands under a lot of pressure to capitalize on existing data. Now is the time to collect and protect more data.

It is almost infeasible to compete head-on with these giants, however, call centers can start identifying and building the required technical skills and capabilities. First and foremost, business need to inform and educate their existing employees about the Metaverse and the potential benefits it possesses. Subsequently, they will need to recruit more 3D artists, web developers, and computer scientists, those who have expertise and hand-on knowledge in the field. Additionally, due to the Metaverse’s distributed nature, it is essential to start establishing business partnerships with technology companies and different Blockchain consortiums.

  1. Customer Experience is Core.

Consumers want control and they also want customization, automation, and data ownership. They want to have the ability to decide what they see and interact with. While designing the interface, think about why consumers will come and what types of activities they hope to perform there. You would want an interface that is new, but consistent with the real-world, making it a seamless transition from physical goods and services to virtual consumables.

Customers on the Metaverse always have very specific needs. As customers spend more time virtually, they would naturally form communities and spend more money to build social status across these communities. Therefore, call centers should focus not only on customizable, individual aspects, but also develop strong community-based approaches that can serve group needs.

  1. Channel Integration and Data Sharing.

 The primary expectation is to make the transition as seamless and effortless as possible. Previously with omnichannel, data and information must be sync and transferred continuously across platforms. With Web 3.0 and the Metaverse in place, extensive computing capacities are required. The new challenge for call centers is how to represent physical data into 3-D models, and how their virtual assets can be used in real-life. Not only do businesses have to master the process of data-sharing, but also how to set up security walls to prevent data loss. As customers’ information are communicated and exchanged across platforms, it poses a great technological risk that some pieces of information can get lost or stolen in between.

  1. Emphasize Human-Centered AI Interactions.

Realistic experience is at the core of virtual transformation. Although the interface appearance and functions might be designed differently for specific purposes, customers want interactions and relationships to be genuine. During the first step of development, it is important to always have human personnel to support the process. New AI technologies are unable to comprehend answers due to unclarity or complexity, it would require continuous inputs to learn over time. Another way to make computer-based interactions more realistic is to build various AI personas, where customers can choose which “person” they would like to talk with.

  1. Pay Attention to Industry Standards.

As the industry of virtual programming is still in its development stages, there is an extreme lack of regulations and standards. As early adopters, call centers can help contribute to the shaping of new industry benchmarks. Being transparent and ethical is always the most optimal way. Call centers need to first establish their Metaverse policies, actively influencing and transforming the industry when it is still possible. As customers are skeptical about these new technological improvements, they are likely to trust companies that openly disclose their operations.

Those are our recommendations to help you get started today with the Metaverse. All emerging technologies come with opportunities and threats. In its early stage, there will always be public scrutiny and skepticism, however, it is also the best time for companies that wish to make an impact and become market leaders. Is this consistent with your company’s vision? Do your research now, and let’s all dive in this transformative world of virtual experience and connections.

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