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Why Virtual Reality Is the Next Frontier for Customer Engagement

Virtual reality offers new opportunities for customer engagement. PHOTO: SpaceX

As technology advances, brands are finding new ways to engage with their customers. But what channels are driving this engagement?

Let’s take a look back in time when the soon-to-be No. 1 social media platform was launched. Fast forward 13 years, and Facebook has grown from a student-based online community to a global community with billions of users. It has become much more than a social media channel: it has become a place for companies to engage with their customers through marketing and customer service.

Leveraging Social Media

Now that social media is engrained in everyday life, it’s critical for brands to leverage these channels to connect with their customers. Digital technologies have transformed customer experiences to interactive adventures — and changed the way businesses approach.

Virtual reality (VR) is a key option for customer engagement, especially among millennials. What does this mean for brands?

Here are three pointers to keep in mind if you are considering virtual reality as a customer engagement tool in the future:

1. Educate Yourself About VR

Facebook launched in 2004 and three years later the platform expanded to include company pages, which lead to one of the most used customer engagement channels available today. So start by educating yourself on virtual reality, including specific ways you can use it to advance customer engagement.

2. Understand Your Customers’ Preferences

Focus on how your customers prefer to engage with your brand. Even if all of your customers own a VR set, that does not mean they want to interact with you that way. Don’t assume. Ask!

Once you identify your customers’ communication preferences, develop an engagement strategy with the goal of building or strengthening the customer relationship, cultivating brand advocates and reaching new audiences.

3. Be a VR Leader

Virtual reality technology continues to advance and will be available soon for shopping experiences, travel and exploration, education and more. If your customers are positive about VR experiences with your brand, then don’t wait. Take a risk and dive in headfirst.

The reality is clear: if consumers are using VR sets to shop for a new piece of furniture or pick out their honeymoon spot, the technology is gaining mass appeal.

Anticipate Customer Expectations

Before long, customers will start expecting to be able to have VR interactions with businesses. Picture this: communicating with one of your customers through an avatar. Sound like a movie?

Maybe, but it will happen sooner than you think. Once the technology becomes available, test it out with your customers as soon as possible, learn from their feedback and refine a virtual reality customer engagement strategy that will help you succeed as a leader.

Customers Hold the Power

Today’s consumers hold the power.

If consumers decide they want to be able to talk to brands through social media, it happens.

If they decide they want to be able to message brands like they message their friends, chatbots are created.

If consumers demand it, companies supply it. This can make it extremely challenging for brands to stand out when access to these engagement platforms are far and wide.

For brands to successfully engage with their customers, they need to understand all the channels available: communicate on channels that your customers use and embrace new technology to engage with your customers.

Brands that take a risk will be rewarded, while brands that continue to do execute the same old strategy will be left behind.

Courtney Simpson is the director of marketing at Greenwood Village, Colo.-based STARTEK, a global customer engagement business process outsourcer. She brings 10 years of experience as a marketing and customer engagement expert.


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