Creating a Metaverse Contact Center

metaverse

If you think that the metaverse is nothing more than a fad, you might be right. For now… 

But, like the first iteration of email, computers and of mobile phones, technology can rapidly improve and evolve into something that becomes a ubiquitous part of every day life.

That’s why the likes of Facebook and Microsoft have invested billions into the technology and why some of the world´s largest enterprises are developing customer engagement strategies with the metaverse in mind. In a few years, it may be just as normal for you to have an Instagram page, as it is for a business to have a metaverse destination. And that is something worth preparing for. 

For enterprise telecommunication operators that support global contact centers, the metaverse may represent a new frontier for customer service, support and user experience. For example, instead of directing customers to wait on hold on the phone, a business could direct people towards its metaverse space, where they could ´walk´ towards the most appropriate customer service agent based on their enquiry and have an open and free discussion with an AI-driven avatar that can speak in any language and is available 24/7.  

Human agents could also help to solve the most complex of issues and work with a range of AI avatars to support a single customer. Furthermore, wouldn’t you prefer to be able to explore a virtual world and check out something a little more interesting than ‘on-hold’ music? Even with a little imagination, the prospect is tantalizing for businesses and consumers alike. 

But how will such a future arrive? And how exactly could a contact center be redeployed to the metaverse? This guide will explain how Conversational AI, and systems already used by telco businesses, could be used to make the move into the metaverse… 

How Does the Metaverse Affect Contact Centers? 

Artificial Solutions´ CEO, Per Ottosson, explained in a recent Forbes feature that any iteration of the metaverse, whether built by Facebook, Microsoft or Amazon, will not function without the implementation and wide deployment of of Conversational AI. 

And, considering that CAI deployments already leave a lot to be desired for many contact centers it seems that a lot of work will be required for a high level of service to be achieved when dealing with customers visiting virtual spaces. 

However, this is an issue that the biggest metaverse players are acutely aware of and billions are being poured into the development of next-generation conversational solutions.  

However, without any pre-existing conversational AI strategy that takes a holistic approach to customer service, telecommunication providers will face an insurmountable task when creating AI-driven avatars that interact with customers.  

For example, if your contact center already has an IVR in place and customers provide you with data that can be used to optimize your solution, you will already have a system to build an avatar upon.  

The conversational flows that are specific to your customers will be critical for developing your metaverse agents. They will need to be able to handle an extremely wide variety of questions and provide accurate and helpful guidance.  

Furthermore, A virtual agent that appears visible in a virtual space is likely to require a vastly improved level of communication than a conversational AI solution over the phone as customers will be likely to engage in a higher volume of small talk and are likely to try to figure out if the agent is a human or not.  

If your contact center has already been equipped with conversational AI and the correct technology and strategy has been prioritized, you will have a significant advantage of deploying into the metaverse as the backend systems that will power virtual agents will already be built.  

However, if your contact center has not taken a customer-first approach to CAI and if you are filing to get a return on investment on your solution, then your contact center will not be meta-ready.  

According to the Accenture Technology Vision 2022 report, 93% of Australian executives anticipated that the metaverse will have a positive effect on their organizations, so the subject is certainly being looked at closely. 

Explore and Invest in the Metaverse early

As highlighted above, the most important step for preparing a contact center for deployment to the metaverse is taking a proactive approach to conversational AI and ensuring your organization is adhering to best practices.  

The industry-leaders that operate in the European telecommunication sector are Swisscom and Telefonica Germany, two companies that have made significant investment in technology and teams to develop highly complex CAI solutions. The results are already astounding, with AI-powered voice agents helping to increase NPS scores and radically reducing wait times.  

From a metaverse perspective, these two companies may already be ready to make the leap. Pushing them even further ahead of the competition.  

Learn more about the CAI strategy that each company has executed, below. 

Telefónica’s Journey into building effective Conversational IVR Solutions 

How Swisscom is achieving major growth with Teneo 

Being able to offer an omnichannel approach to customer service will soon represent the bare minimum for contact centers, as industry leaders are launching solutions that can combine engagements across a multitude of channels. It´s only a matter of time before the metaverse becomes one of the key channels to engage customers in, the challenge is that it may be the most difficult to build and connect your business with.  

Map the customer journey in the metaverse 

Just like any other channel, it is critical consider the user journey when they interact with a customer support space in the metaverse.  

Gartner predicts that 25% of the population will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse for different reasons: work, shopping, education, socializing or simply entertainment by 2026. So, it´s likely that users will spend a significant portion of that time interacting with customer support services, especially as the metaverse will have teething problems in the early years. 

So, do we know how we can link it with Customer Experience in the context of a contact center operator from the telco sector? 

Ensure that your metaverse contact center is a space that is calming and free adverts or somewhere used pushed to sell new products and services. There will be a temptation to utilize a range of new sales tools to encourage customers to buy buy buy. That will not provide people with internet problems or phone issues with a good experience. Ensure that you maintain the core principle of helping people with their every day problems. Don´t see the metaverse as another sales channel. 

Security will remain key in the metaverse. In this “new world” the importance of keeping user data safe must not be forgotten. It is critical that customers are made to feel their information is safe and secure when shared in the metaverse and that the audio input they provide via voice is only recorded by your company for the purposes of support.  

Once more, nobody really knows what kind of tools will be used to track users in the metaverse, but it is sure to be an incredibly hot topic. That is why you should place a strong emphasis on your messaging around data security when you introduce your metaverse contact center to the world. 

Diversity and equality

Examples of AI powered solutions displaying bias have already been recorded, with a number of minority groups being targeted for discrimination. 

Who could have guessed that Tay, Microsoft’s unsupervised Twitter bot, would develop an extremely offensive personality after only 16 hours of exposure to real Tweets? 

Admittedly, this was way back in 2016 and bots were still in their relatively early phase of development. However, the point is that early versions of technology carry a risk when exposed to public domains. 

And if a team developing any kind of AI based solution lacks diversity of any kind, there is a risk of creating bots that carry their own biases. Designers, developers and copywriters all influence their systems’ voices. Because of this, it is crucial that creators get access to the tools and resources that will help them build their applications in an inclusive manner. 

This can be done by allowing developers to take control over areas at high risk of inequality, which may surface in human-machine conversations, like the approval of training data, or leveraging resources for offensive language detection. 

This is a critical approach for a contact center based in the metaverse. Deciding upon how a virtual agent talks, how they appear, the clothes they wear and the language they speak will be critical for making customers feel comfortable.  

Gaby K Slezák is the Founder of UNYTED, a business that offers ´metaverse as a service´ to organizations looking to deploy into the metaverse. She highlights diversity as a critical issue for successful transitions into the virtual world. 

“In the AI sector, there is an alarming lack of diversity. We need to be able to reflect the global population when it comes to building the metaverse. In a lot of systems, machine learning training data does not contain enough information to provide AI systems with the correct responses to a number of minority groups.” 

“Conversational AI will be critical for the metaverse, but a lot more work needs to be done to ensure that the right amount of education is provided to companies that launch into the metaverse.” 

“That’s what we´re doing at UNYTED, we´re providing the right level of guidance and expertise for businesses to successfully launch into the metaverse.”