Customer Service through the Looking Glass

What’s the impact of wearable technology on the customer experience? We thought you’d never ask.

Imagine a typical day in the not-so-distant future. Your customer is walking to their office. They pass multiple electronic billboards that begin to display custom ads based on that customer’s preferences and past purchases. How? The billboards are picking up a signal distributed by the customer’s personal, wearable technology. The customer is also able to hear the narration to your ad, which has grabbed their attention. They stop, take a second look and give their wearable the voice command the ad was designed to elicit: “Call Company X.”

Sound a little like “Minority Report”? Some are hesitant for what this new future will bring; others can’t wait. One thing is clear: in the future, technology will be even more integrated into our lives than it is today. There are inklings of that technological integration now in the form of wearable technology, such as Google Glass.

Google Glass opens a new frontier. With users able to access information quickly and easily on a head-mounted screen right in front of their eyes, there are near-limitless possibilities…as well as challenges. Working on a complicated recipe? Call up a video showing the step-by-step directions. Need help perfecting your golf swing? Access the golf pro app to analyze and provide feedback to help you shift your stance. Have an issue with your new tablet? Call the manufacturer via voice command and walk the contact center agent through the problem by showing them the issue as you encounter it. Clearly not all of this is possible now. However, Google Glass has the potential to change our society and how we interact with both people and brands.

On April 15, Google Glass was made available for purchase to the U.S.-based general public (expanding beyond the “Explorers” who were Google’s initial users). The move brought the technology closer to general adoption. Does that mean Google Glass and other forms of wearable technology will soon be everywhere? We’d have to respond with a qualified “maybe.” It’s somewhat similar to when Facebook was introduced, in that technology “firsts” seem like novelties but quickly spread everywhere. How fast a technology catches on depends on things ranging from price point to users’ comfort level to societal acceptance/disapproval. That said, the widespread adoption of wearables has implications for a range of industries, from healthcare to hospitality to retail, especially in customer service…but what exactly are those implications?

For customer service, at least, some changes can be expected and are already being implemented by brands like Virgin Atlantic. Wearable technologies like Google Glass will change the way customers interact with brands. The changes could begin with sales and advertising, or could be something similar to the example above of co-browsing: a user walking a contact center agent through the problem they are experiencing. We think co-browsing is a time-saver—how much more efficient would technical help be if you could show exactly what’s happening from the user perspective without the agent being in the room?

The way contact center agents work could also change. Contact centers have already undergone an evolution, from old-school traditional contact centers (large cubicle farms with operators answering phones and accessing information from local databases) to cloud contact centers (with agents located nearly anywhere, accessing information from the cloud). The ways agents interact with customers has changed, too – expanding from being solely phone and email-based to include live chat, SMS and various social media platforms. What if contact center agents were equipped with Google Glass, to make it easier to interact with customers? Having a computer screen with access to customer information and Google Glass to view the demonstration of the issue a customer has called about – can you imagine the possibilities for personalizing the customer experience? And being able to interact with the customer through either tool, using Google Glass, WebRTC, chat and text?  Talk about powerful multichannel integration.

Will Google Glass and other wearable technology forever change the way consumers interact with brands? Or will their eyes simply be glued to a different screen rather than their smartphones? There are obviously still some issues to be addressed, as with all technologies as they rise in popularity and adoption. However, smart brands should start exploring ways to utilize wearable technology, such as Google Glass, to improve their customer experience later. You never know, the type of technology found in “Minority Report” could be just around the corner.

Image courtesy of franky242 at