Augmented reality remote assistance is an emerging technology that enables brand agents and product experts to visually guide and collaborate with customers and field technicians.
The original concept of remote assistance is based on a technician’s ability to use a remote connection to temporarily view or control a computer or a mobile device over a network or the Internet in order to help solve software issues.
Augmented reality remote assistance takes this concept further. It uses AR and streaming videos to link the contact center and headquarters to the customer’s home or the field where the work is being performed. This enables agents to remotely solve hardware issues – seamlessly bridging the physical and virtual worlds.
How does remote assistance AR work?
Augmented reality remote assistance combines live video streaming, where images and videos are broadcast in real time, with augmented reality, an interactive technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the physical environment.
The combination of these two technologies creates a powerful collaborative solution for remote guidance. More efficient than auditory communication, visually demonstrating the desired action enables the customer to comprehend and execute the instructions faster.
Instead of the agent explaining the steps to John, he can show him what to do.
What can remote assistance augmented reality be used for?
Augmented reality remote assistance has a wide range of business applications, including technical support, billing proofs and contracting issues. It is useful across a wide range of industries. Here are some augmented reality remote assistance examples from different industries:
Technical Support: Agents can use remote assistance AR to more quickly identify and resolve common technical issues from afar. They achieve this by visually guiding the customer through the steps.
Examples include guiding customers through cleaning their washing machine filters, helping buyers unbox and install a smart security camera, troubleshooting TV error messages or cable wiring issues, or fixing Internet connectivity, as in John’s experience. Using remote assistance AR results in a faster and more effective call resolution, and more satisfying customer experience. Watch this video to see AR remote assistance in action!
Field services: AR remote assistance puts all necessary data and instructions in technicians’ hands in real-time. AR can help technicians gain immediate access to remote experts when necessary, streamline the field service process, quickly execute field repairs, or even communicate with customers. For example, they can use AR to survey a location prior to a dispatch or follow up after a visit.
Billing proofs and contracting issues: Documents can get confusing, with so many details and fine print. With remote assistance augmented reality, agents can share a view of a physical document. This way, they can point at and address billing inquiries, invoice clarification or contract misalignment. The technology also allows agents to confirm, record and add data to CRM systems, gather proof of identity, validate coupons, or see evidence of damaged goods prior to authorizing returns.
Who benefits from using AR remote assistance?
AR remote assistance benefits any business providing technical customer service over the phone or in person. Here are some more details about the benefits various types of organizations will enjoy:
Customer service organizations: Contact center agents use AR to visually guide consumers in solving their technical problems. They provide real-time assistance and solutions as if they’re standing right next to the customer. This improves customer satisfaction, increases call center efficiency, reduces labor intensity, empowers call center agents to function as virtual technicians, and prevents unnecessary truck rolls
Field service organizations: Customer service agents can send field technicians visual data from customer service agents prior to being dispatched. This enables them to plan repairs before arriving on site. Technicians can transmit video and images of technical issues from the field while consulting with an expert or supervisor, located either in the field or at headquarters. This has several benefits:
- Boosts productivity in the field
- Increases first-time fix rate
- Shortens time to resolution
- Improves customer satisfaction through successful dispatches
- Cuts technician training time while increasing expert support capacity
It’s important to understand the components of a good platform. On the most basic level, the platform must efficiently connect customer service agents and the customer with minimal friction. Following that, there are four key areas to focus on when researching vendors: delivery method to the consumer, device types available, features and track record.
- Delivery method: Is the technology delivered via a browser or via an app? Apps must be downloaded and installed, presenting a barrier to customers and slowing down the resolution process. Does the browser solution work for both IoS and Android?
- Devices: Is the technology available over mobile devices? If so, which ones? IoS, Android, tablets? Smart glasses? Are you aiming to use the solution with consumers or with technicians? What are the most common devices they are using? You can read our in-depth comparison of mobile devices vs. smart glasses specifically in the context of field service organizations for help on how to decide.
- Robust platform with key features:
- A robust knowledge-base should feature CRM integration, customer history for recurring issues, a visual agent reference library for best-path resolutions, and embedded visual call script guidance.
- Clear AR annotation tools, file transfer capabilities, robust security and privacy protocols, digital signatures. Enterprise analytics and reporting tools should be available as well.
- The solution must be extremely simple and intuitive for both agent and consumer to use. It should integrate a hands-free option, and should not require downloads, app stores, logins or passwords.
- Lastly with AI and automation around the corner, computer vision and AI capabilities are important for enhancing future use of the solution. By leveraging the data accumulated during current sessions, the technology can help resolve and automate support with the help of smart visual tech assistants.
- Track record: As an emerging technology, there are many solutions on the market that differ greatly in maturity and reliability. The vendor should have a proven track record! Do your due diligence when checking for a relevant customer base, proven capabilities, and recent relevant success storiesץ
What does the future hold?
With Goldman Sachs predicting that AR will be an $80B market by 2025, the future seems promising for forward-thinking companies who implement remote assistance AR. In fact, the 2017 Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies names augmented reality as an emerging technology mega-trend, showing promise in delivering a high degree of competitive advantage over the next 5-10 years. It suggests that enterprises and technology innovation leaders explore AR to understand the future impacts to their business. As Apple CEO Tim Cook told analysts during a fourth-quarter earnings call, “AR is going to change everything.”