Virtual reality has hit our society with a bang, starting with the gaming world and progressing to medicine and business. In 2014, game makers debuted Oculus Rift at Comic-Con to the thrill of the geek community. This same technology is being used to treat returning soldiers diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and to bring medical expertise to understaffed rural areas. It should be no surprise that VR tech is finding its way into the business world, especially in customer care.
Internet technology, in combination with VR and social media, has created a community of business consumers that share likes, dislikes and general purchasing experiences in an intimate way. At the less technical end of the spectrum, social media offers businesses the opportunity to create virtual conversations that go beyond simple reviews and expand the discourse to general life with your company involved. At the other end are high-tech virtual systems that let consumers, often in the scientific or government industries, have 3-D experiences that are almost as good as being there in person. As the engineering becomes more affordable, these CAVE systems may become increasingly common for consumers, creating opportunities for live action virtual malls.
Living in the Cloud
Offsite computer storage and program systems, commonly called cloud technology, allow businesses to maintain virtual customer care offices anywhere in the world without breaking the budget. These cloud contact centers are designed for omnichannel marketing, blending incoming predictive dialing with robust customer capability options that make the consumer’s experience as positive as possible. The cloud system is integrated with social media, so it places the company in the center of the virtual community. Since the cloud business systems are multidirectional in their marketing aspect, they can blend outgoing messages with incoming calls, offering the consumer a single integrated marketing message. Most of these functions are automated, funneling the tasks down to human interaction only when the programmed system cannot handle it.
As a sort of hybrid between real life and virtual reality, augmented reality gives the consumer a dynamic experience that can be shed as they move from product to product. These augmented reality systems are used extensively in educational institutions and museums. Augmented reality enhances the senses of the consumer, making for an excellent experience. For products that have an educational component, augmented reality gives the business the ability to expand its marketing presence across all five senses. After the consumer is appropriately impressed, they can strip off the virtual reality and return to their real life.
A Lot of Math
Consumer care as a marketing tool is more about statistics than most anything else. At its core, marketing is hypothesis testing, giving a predictive representation of your advertising campaign. Since virtual reality moves the campaign from the written and visual to a fully integrated, five-sense experience, it can be expected that the mathematical operations will become increasingly complex. Newer marketing methodologies use structural equation modelling (SEM) to predict the campaign behavior with the added twist of including directionality. SEM can be very complex math at the level used by quantum physicists, but it can yield telling results for multidimensional arrays of consumer data.