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How emerging technologies are redefining CX

10th Jun 2021
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It’s rare that a year goes by without the emergence of some fancy new piece of tech, claiming to be the newest saviour of the customer experience (CX), the silver bullet to all your CX challenges, the ultimate answer to all your long-term business aspirations and goals.

The reality is, with such a wealth of choice and noise, it can often be difficult for brands to decipher which pieces of technology actually provides value when it comes to building a first-class customer experience, and which fall short of their lofty promises.

The post-COVID 19 landscape

There’s no doubting the events of 2020-21 will result in a permanent step-change to how brands approach the customer experience. Much that was once physical has now migrated online, and ecommerce will reign supreme in the coming years.

For those brands who haven’t already, it’s imperative they bolster their existing digital/ecommerce presence as soon as possible, in order to match the rising expectations of an increasingly digital-first customer.

Augmented reality: Overhyped or underrated?

Of course, with much of the globe returning to some semblance of normality, focus on the face-to-face customer experience will begin to gather momentum once more.

One technology that’s currently living up to the hype as a physical CX game-changer is Augmented Reality (AR). AR is already a common fixture of the everyday consumer’s lifestyle, typically used on social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. For businesses though, its application is still in its infancy, which provides some exciting opportunities for brands looking to explore more innovative ways to connect with their customers.

Retail, in particular, looks set to benefit from more widespread use of AR in the near future. Already, we’re seeing use cases to improve the in-store experience, blending physical and digital together to create more premium and engaging customer interactions.

Take, for example, the ability for a customer to point their phone at a piece of furniture in-store, and see how it would look in a front room or kitchen. There’s even potential moving forwards for customers to cross-reference a piece of furniture with a picture of their lounge or bedroom, bringing to life exactly how the product would look in their own home.

AR also holds potential to benefit the post-purchase experience, by enhancing products through smart packaging. Instead of rifling through thick product manuals or fruitlessly searching for guidelines/instructions online, AR lets customers scan a code on a product’s packaging to be instantly presented with tutorial videos and detailed product information.

Achieving the perfect balance: Don’t get carried away with emerging technology

Of course, brands must also remain careful to balance the exciting draw of using new technology, and any detrimental effect to the customer experience. When using AR and other technologies such as AI and machine learning, brands need to take into account the wealth of personal data being collected, ensuring they follow the latest data privacy laws and regulation. 

It’s vital that brands take the time to map out how these technologies fit into their existing CX strategies (both long and short-term), ensuring they fit in with existing security and data compliance strategies, all while remaining grounded so they don’t get too carried away by the exciting opportunities these new technologies represent.

True, technology like AR can redefine how a brand approaches and engages with its customers, but there must be long-term strategic thought behind the application of such tech. After all, it may look good, but it still has to achieve something tangible that ultimately benefits the business.

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