The way brands build their relationships with customers are set to undergo a significant change over the next couple of years thanks to the normalization of technologies such as VR and AI.
Research from Oracle has claimed human-to-human interactions will significantly decrease over the coming years, as technology evolves the day-to-day lives of the end consumer. In a survey focused on responses from marketing professionals from across the EMEA region, 78% of brands anticipate customer experience will take place through virtual reality and 80% see chat-bots playing a greater role. It all sounds very futuristic, however these numbers are related to the next four years; that’s right, by 2020 the idea of having a conversation with a real person will be on its way to the memory banks.
“While virtual reality may be seen as a passing craze by some, the commitment of some of the world’s biggest companies to develop VR products for consumers suggests otherwise. Brands will always look to experiment with new technologies as they try to find ways of delivering innovative and memorable experiences for their customers,” said Daryn Mason, Senior Director of CX Applications at Oracle.
“Brands are at a crossroads. There’s an early-mover advantage to experimenting and launching innovative services while others wait and see, but they need to walk before they can run. The reality is that many brands are still unable to get a complete view of each individual customer so the immediate priority needs to be to organise and get value from the data they already have. Customers will value a quick, helpful, personalised interaction regardless of how it’s delivered so there’s hope for us humans yet.”
The progress is promising for the potential of big data, which has threatened but largely undelivered to date, as 48% of brands have implemented automation technologies in sales, marketing and customer service, with another 40% planning to do so by 2020.
That said, 60% of brands don’t currently include social or CRM data in their customer analytics. Considering the role which data can play in identifying new opportunities or up-sells, this is a slightly worry statistics. 42% already collect a great deal of data from multiple sources, but are unable to extract customer insights from it.
Collecting data doesn’t seem to be a problem, but what to do with it is causing headaches. With the promise of IoT becoming stronger every day it would be fair to assume a tsunami of data is building, but what about the data scientists? Where is the talent to provide insight going to come from?
It’s not a problem the industry is unfamiliar with. Early adopters master the arts of new technology and innovative business models, and when it reaches the mass market, its expensive to implement purely because there aren’t enough smart people to go around. Companies with the big wallets will win out here, but will they be too far behind the early adopters at this point?