Most manufacturers will use customer-facing VR by 2020

The use of VR is growing in popularity, and many manufacturers are already using the technology for customer service purposes

Almost 85% of manufacturers hope to increase their use of virtual reality (VR) technology for customer service, according to research.

A study by Oracle has shown 38% of manufacturers are already using VR tech for customer service, but 84% of firms hope to increase this deployment over the next three years.

Mark de Groot, marketing director for digital customer experience at Oracle, said VR has been used in manufacturing prior to now, but using it for customer interaction is a recent development.

Almost half of manufacturers are already using VR and automation technology, with 89% wanting to increase the use of this tech by 2020.

“We’re seeing companies taking advantage of virtual reality to give buyers a first hand, immersive view of the products they eventually stand to receive,” he said. “Turning to post-sales service, automation technologies give customers the freedom to manage orders at their own discretion without having to wait on a company’s service team.”

Customers are becoming increasingly used to using their smartphones to interact with businesses, and many customers expect virtual reality to play a huge part in the future of retail.

Oracle’s research found 36% of manufacturing and engineering firms say their customers prefer to interact with their brand through applications rather than speak to a member of staff.

By 2020, 90% of manufacturers plan to offer purpose-built apps for their customers, and 89% hope to use automation for customer experience in the future.

Many manufacturers have been using customer data to understand their audience, with around half of manufacturers doing so.

This is more than in some other sectors, such as telecoms, where only 37% of firms look to customer data, and retail, where 44% of online retailers use data to understand their audience.

But 40% of manufacturing firms were found to struggle with customer data, and do not know how to use it to offer a better service.

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“It’s encouraging to see the manufacturing and high tech industries lead the way in their use of data to get closer to their audience, but without insight into how customers react to the service they receive, companies will largely be left guessing how they can improve customer experience,” said De Groot.

Offering a poor service can be detrimental to firms. With an increased choice of services offered through technology, customers are more likely to use another brand if they receive a poor customer experience.

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