Meet Your New Customer Service Hologram

This summer, the buzz was about bringing Tupac back via Hologram at Coachella. I heard about this, but honestly didn’t really want to look it up. Finally, curiosity got the best of me and I did. And it was weird. And cool. And creepy. And sort of awesome. (You can see it for yourself here. But please remember it’s Tupac, Snoop and Dre – not necessarily suitable for work.)

Anyhoo…this same technology is being used in a select group of airports to help customers. Holograms are here, and they’re helpful and cost-effective, albeit creepy and disconcerting.

You see, the holograms are projected onto angled glass silhouettes, so at first glance it could be seen as a real human. Then you pass by and realize the back is exactly the same as the front (face and all) and the “body” is mere inches deep.

Cool and creepy. Helpful and horror-inducing.

At this point, the technology only allows for helpful information in output only. So “Libby” or Ava can only tell you things. There is no way to answer questions, point to the appropriate section, or use body language.

What does this mean for customer experience? Well, like most innovations, I think it’s a step in the right direction. Humans are full of nuance, which is good and bad. I wouldn’t mind if a hologram informed me of something simple, like which aisle my rental car was in when I arrived at an airport. But I think most would not be helpful in those truly stressful situations which lead to a need for real human help.

There is also a comfort level we need to achieve. Customer experience is really about choice for customers. Some customers will jump right in and ask the hologram for whatever they need. Others will not get near them. Pay attention if you are considering these options. Like any technology, there is a build up to when they become commonplace. Helpful holograms could assist in other ways, too.

A European lingerie store is experimenting them with them to enhance the shopping experience. This is interesting because it might be just enough to get customers into the store, rather than shopping online.

What’s next? Once the technology is there to have the holograms respond to customers, I think they could be used in all sorts of clever ways. How would you want to see them used? Or not used!? Technology is part of the customer experience, but it should be used to actually do something for your customers – not just be cool.

Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the Chief Customer Experience Investigator™ and founder of 360Connext, a Chicago-based consulting firm specializing in the cornerstones of customer experience: customer engagement, employee engagement and connections like social media. 360Connext serves mid-market companies and larger by helping them evaluate their true customer experience. The evaluations always lead to improvements which then lead to results like increased online conversions or loyalty.

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