Virtual Reality — To bring you closer to what matters the most

Traditionally, when we think of Customer Experience we often focus on processes and technologies, overlooking human-centric “mushy” topics like empathy, emotions and culture, and the importance of these factors to provide an improved customer experience and the vast potential payoff they encompass.

VR — More than just a Marketing Gimmick

Virtual Reality (VR), even though still in its infancy, has the potential to transform the Customer Experience in a lot of industries. We have already seen creative use of VR in Coca Cola’s Santa’s VR Marketing Sleigh Ride and One-plus with the marketing of its new phone launch. But, rather than using VR only as a marketing gimmick, I think VR provides companies with a great opportunity to empathize with the customer and understand their emotions to create Lovemarks. This can vary from observing the VR user find out what kind of home makes him go Aha! to what kind of vacation he prefers or in general what puts a smile on his face. The possibilities are endless.

Can I miss you less?

I was talking to my parents on Skype on the weekend and wondered how amazing it would be if I could put my VR glasses on and boom! I had teleported (not really!) to my parents right across the dining table, back home in a small city in India.

Imagine that in a few years, thousands of miles away, the whole family could sit together and talk as if they were in the same room rather than fixing the camera or audio in the video chats today. Living in countries far away, people miss their families and friends, if the companies could empathize with millions and millions of people around the world who use video chats and phone calls to fill this gap, the potential for VR is immense and tapping this potential will help create those Lovemarks with the customers.

Think about it, companies like NextVR and Facebook have already started to explore the live streaming of sports events. With an abundance of 360-degree cameras — compatible with phones, tablets, and laptops and rapid innovations in technology, soon the companies would be able to integrate all these technologies and you would be able to chat with your friends and family as if you were sitting in a room with them. You may still not be able to hug your mother, but you could sit next to her chatting over breakfast.

The whole world in your eyes

Another great idea is tourism through VR. I am not saying VR can give you the same experience as physically traveling to a destination, but if you are too old to travel, or don’t have enough money, wouldn’t it be nice to go to a VR room with real-time temperature adjustment and experience the summer breeze in Toronto or winter snow in Switzerland from far away? Or just to experience a destination through VR before you spend a fortune to book your next big trip. Imagine the smile this could put on your grandfather’s face.

With Facebook announcing the new Oculus Quest VR headset a few months ago, it is clear that the next couple of generations of VR devices will focus primarily on improving the gaming experience for gamers. However, I believe that if these companies empathize with the potential users, they would be able to tap into numerous avenues to enhance emotional experiences and VR would be the next goldmine for Enhancing Customer Experience. Whatever the future holds, just make sure you call your mom tonight.

References:

Giesler, M. (2016), “Should You Invest in Empathetic Consumers”. Retrieved from https://www.ama.org/publications/MarketingNews/Pages/should-you-invest-in-empathetic-consumers.aspx

Roberts, K. (2015). “Brand loyalty reloaded: loyalty beyond reason.” Saatchi & Saatchi; Red Paper.

Matney, L. (2018, September 26). Facebook’s newest VR headset, Oculus Quest, ships in the spring for $399. Retrieved from https://techcrunch.com/2018/09/26/oculus-quest-ships-in-the-spring-for-399/