Augmented Reality: Next Generation Technical Support

by Patrice Samuels | Aug. 27, 2018

The market for consumer electronics products and services is increasingly competitive. As brands seek to achieve and maintain competitive advantage, many recognize the importance of intuitive user interfaces and ample support.

This need is born out of the desire to reduce consumer effort as brands recognize the connection between low customer effort and low brand loyalty. The use of augmented reality (AR) is one of the latest attempts to leverage new technologies towards this end.

TechSee, a technology company based in Israel, is enhancing support with AR. Its solution is particularly helpful for hardware-related support. The solution allows consumers to show agents devices in their homes using the back camera of their cell phone. The solution automatically identifies the type of device that the agent is being shown and makes suggestions for fixes, based on problems commonly associated with the device. The agent is able to guide consumers through hardware fixes using annotations on the screen, rather than verbal descriptions. Ultimately, with more developed Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities, the solution will use AR to autonomously guide consumers and agents through fixes.

Hyundai’s AR user manual represents another innovative use of AR to provide better customer support. Hyundai released an app for later models of the Sonata that allows owners to find out more about different parts of a vehicle by simply pointing their phone or table to the specific area. The app will then overlay a picture index with labels for the different parts of the vehicle shown on the screen. The customer then clicks on various labels for details on what the part does, how to use it, and how to repair/maintain it—if applicable. The app provides details in text, video, and step-by-step demonstrations.

Microsoft recently introduced Microsoft Remote Assist. And, while this technology is not targeted to consumers, it allows support personnel to collaborate using AR to resolve problems more quickly, ultimately improving the support experience. Only 60% of consumers report satisfaction with the speed at which technical problems are resolved. With the HoloLens headgear from Microsoft, support personnel can perform video calling and share images from devices. Experts can then make problem-solving suggestions, which include on-screen annotations for clarity.

  

Benefits of using AR in customer support include the following:

Provides more efficient support– Customers and support personnel can quickly receive expert advice for complex technical situations.

Reduces truck rolls – Truck rolls are one of the most costly elements of support and can cost a company between $100 and $400 per support visit.

Minimizes how-to calls – AR is making discovery of information simpler, and easier, reducing the need for customers to contact the support agents.

Increases convenience – AR solutions are often available on mobile devices, which provides convenience for today’s consumers as consumers’ mobile devices are typically within arm’s reach.

Parks Associates Tech Support Landscape: Trends and Outlook report examines technology trends impacting support services, along with other industry trends.



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