Disruptive CX technologies are common enough. New solutions are launched each year, and in this environment it is easy for executives to seek out the next big, shiny solution that’s hailed as vital to contact center success. This has been seen across the CX spectrum multiple times, ranging from innovations in analytics to the latest incarnation of automation through to the current buzz around AI. Lying just beneath the surface is the Metaverse, slowly but surely gaining interest in the CX community. While this is a channel that most enterprises still need to integrate into their respective CX strategies, its deep penetration into customer management is certain.
Conceptually, the Metaverse for most people is something out of a science fiction film, a bit like Tron (the classic with Jeff Bridges, of course – not the dreadful reboot attempt). But, the reality is that despite its space-age elements, this alternate digital reality is not very far from the mainstream. And there are mounting examples that validate this.
In popular culture, the producers of the popular UK soap drama Emmerdale are exploring how to extend the fictional nightly program into something experiential for viewers in the Metaverse. Earlier this year in Colombia, a two-hour court hearing was held in the Metaverse; all the attorneys donned virtual reality headsets. America’s most expensive home currently under construction, in Arizona, will feature a Metaverse room. And in the retail space, well-known global brands including Walmart and H&M have begun incorporating the Metaverse into their online promotional efforts.
More brands are creating a presence in the Metaverse. And globally, the active user base is now by some estimates, in the hundreds of millions. All this begs the question of how best to adopt this new (and alternate) reality as part of a robust CX strategy.
Captive CX managers face several challenges. The Metaverse is a new contact channel, one without a clear blueprint that can be used to navigate the formulation and implementation of a customer experience strategy. Getting it wrong with mediocre interactions could be costly, both in terms of customer loyalty and wasted resources.
And, resources are in tight supply for many enterprise contact center leaders. According to the latest Front Office CX Omnibus Survey from Ryan Strategic Advisory, roughly three in five believe that their budgets will stay flat or shrink in 2023. How best, in that case, to invest in recruiting the human talent needed to manage a Metaverse CX campaign, let alone the equipment required to ensure robust end-user interactions? And, the jury is still out on how to manage agents in a parallel universe, especially from a health and safety perspective.
These obstacles spell opportunity for CX outsourcing providers — and they should embrace the chance to work with enterprises across the spectrum as they come to grips with the Metaverse. Indirectly, there is a historic blueprint for how to make this happen for BPOs. Many will recall the panic around social media’s explosion in 2008 – 2009 and how these networks could be adapted into CX. During that period, enterprise contact center managers were under pressure to radically adapt their support offerings in order to accommodate a growing number of socially driven consumers. Logically, many turned to those in the BPO community that had mapped these emerging channels out in order to manage their social CX offerings.
Ultimately, outsourcing executives who want to plant their respective flags in the Metaverse need to be ready for what could either be a steady drip-feed of demand from enterprise clients—or a sudden tidal wave. Either way, any BPO wanting to be a leading contender for Meta-CX offerings must have the tools at the ready for agents to support a growing number of consumers. Processes and metrics for operational benchmarking also need to be in place. Granted, outsourcers eager to take on the Meta opportunity must make the needed investments. But, given the ongoing growth of this channel as a medium of choice for users across countries and verticals spectrum, the potential ROI should not be underestimated.