The metaverse is more than just a buzzword. The tech giants have already invested billions in its genesis and it will soon be a reality, or at least a virtual one. By 2024, the metaverse is projected to grow to a $783.3 billion market, and before you know it, you’ll be faced with a generation of consumers well-versed in metaversal ways (which may or may not be one word yet), presenting fantastic opportunities and thorny challenges for your organization’s customer engagement strategy.
The arrival of the metaverse opens up a world of possibilities, especially when it comes to reviewing customer experience (CX). Already today, the possession of an omnichannel capability is a requirement for any modern business, with web chat, email, social media, SMS, voice and video expected as tabletop communication options for consumers. Harnessing the power of the metaverse will allow companies to expand beyond omnichannel and into the world of immersive CX, cementing familiar face-to-face and online interactions with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).
Of course, Immersive CX is not a completely new concept; however, the hybrid world of virtual spaces that emerged from the Covid lockdowns gave it wings. And the journey doesn’t stop there: by 2026, an estimated quarter of the population will be in the metaverse for at least an hour a day. Integrating the controversial (i.e., unproven) concept of the metaverse into your CX strategy may well be what separates a good business from an outstanding one, as players in competitive industries struggle to keep up with the behaviors of fast-evolving consumers. Effectively leveraging immersive CX is highly likely to be extremely beneficial to your business; Paving the way for this means focusing on a new level of hyper-personalization, implementing AI, and mastering issues around the proper ethical use of advanced knowledge-based techniques.
Harness the power of immersive CX
Imagine a world where your 3D avatar can interact in virtual spaces and converse with avatars from organizations around the world. The products, images, music, and even exclusive live events on display are curated by AI algorithms that predict what you are most likely to be interested in, based on your history of interaction with a certain business. Allowing consumers to view and interact with products in AR and VR blurs the line between virtual and in-person shopping experiences, making those consumers less likely to return products that don’t match their description, a reason given by more 60% of buyers. when returning online purchases.
When it comes to traditional CX, brands risk losing almost 40% of their existing customers due to low levels of personalization. The metaverse is capable of changing that, with new avenues opening up to enhance customer experiences using next-generation hyper-personalization, personalization, and interactivity. Although on the surface it may seem difficult for a digital environment in the metaverse to compete with real in-person interactions, the immersive personalization capabilities offered by CX allow companies to gain a much deeper understanding of the wants and needs of each customer, which It allows them to automatically and economically create a digital space tailored to each consumer.
Deciding how personalized elements can be incorporated into customer interactions is one of the most important steps a business can take when thinking about how to expand into the immersive CX domain. When a customer journey is tailored to the specific needs of the consumer, the customer feels valued: 78 percent are more likely to recommend, buy, and buy again from companies that can efficiently personalize their CX. To take metaverse personalization a step further, organizations could use AI to make fully automated personalization decisions, allowing only certain people or groups to experience unique brand messages created especially for them.
As a business strategy, the metaverse seems like a worthwhile investment, as a new virtual space created to drive customer and employee engagement. As a result of the advancement in video calling capabilities over the past decade, nearly two-thirds of all business collaboration calls are now conducted via video. Interactions in the metaverse would follow a similar principle: “face-to-face” conversations with virtual avatars would enhance the depth of experience for organizations and consumers and bring a new perspective to global team meetings.
When looking to the future of immersive CX using the metaverse, there are some important considerations that need to be made. First, establishing data privacy for both consumers and businesses is crucial to the long-term success of the metaverse, especially as any virtual space presents a potential data security and liability risk. There are concerns around hackers and the collection and storage of identifying information, especially as uncharted territory is reached around the regulation of digital spaces.
Establishing ethical conduct in the metaverse and weighing the implications for “real life” society will be essential to prevent the rise of a Wild West that could destroy consumer confidence for years to come. A balance will need to be struck between the data needed to power hyper-personalized virtual interfaces and consumer privacy. When achieved, the result could be revolutionary. The metaverse should provide both value to businesses and more power to consumers, allowing them to grow and evolve in this new realm of reality.
Is your company ready for immersive CX?
While we’re still some distance away from interacting with customers exclusively in VR, it’s always important to stay one step ahead of the competition. It is impossible to predict with certainty the ways in which immersive CX in particular, and the metaverse in general, will shape how businesses and consumers interact with each other over the next decade. The new age of technology is in its infancy and will continue to grow and change, potentially exponentially, as consumers and businesses rush to fill the space. Now is the time to explore immersive CX, differentiate your business from the competition, and deliver innovative customer experiences that will deliver competitive advantage and market share for years to come.