The Metaverse and Generative AI: Where Does CRM Fit into the Picture?

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For me, the unique selling point of the metaverse has always been a user’s ability to see and share digital renderings in three dimensions. And here’s just a small sampling of the kinds of information and activities that can be so rendered:

  • Stock prices or financial portfolio movements, which are easily displayed in the metaverse.
  • Digital twin factories or supply chains that get optimized in the metaverse.
  • The latest research-and-development prototype (for example, the new Gillette razor) that gets developed collaboratively there.
  • The resolution of a customer service issue (e.g., a Boeing airplane engine problem anywhere in the world) in the metaverse by leveraging subject matter experts using remote assist technology.
  • And, of course, simply playing games with friends, represented by avatars.

We can envision that within the next five or so years, sales, marketing, and customer service users will be able to realize these use cases by putting on metaverse goggles/headsets and access apps that can display relevant data spewing from generative AI technologies, including ChatGPT, Bing, and Bard.

Once Apple announces its expansion into extended reality (XR) or the virtual world—for competitive reasons, Apple is unlikely to use the term “metaverse”—interest in the metaverse/virtual world will soar. Apple is likely not only to expand its XR software toolset but also offer new XR goggles, which are receiving rave reviews. Apple’s move to bring XR technology to the market will be a game changer for the metaverse or virtual world or whatever term one uses for this exciting new digital realm.

My prediction: Apple’s new XR goggles will take 3-D experiences to amazing new heights. This in turn will propel millions of global consumers and businesses to purchase the new Apple XR goggles, which consequently will drive a surge in metaverse growth. Think of your 3-D goggles/headsets as the front-end device you will use to do business in the future. Your 3-D goggles/headsets will connect you to valuable sales, marketing, and customer service apps (e.g., dynamic sales forecasting, enhanced customer service issue resolution, targeted marketing campaigns) available in the metaverse that are seamlessly connected to generative AI engines, which will become the back end of doing business in the future. Why will generative AI technologies become the new back end of the metaverse? Because generative AI technologies are a game changer, able to access an infinite amount of data sources and quickly assimilate an overwhelming amount of new and relevant data needed to raise the bar on sales, marketing, and customer service decision making.

Are you ready to participate in the future of commerce? Are you ready to wear goggles/head­sets to access apps that seamlessly connect with back-end generative AI technologies? For skeptics questioning the role and viability of the metaverse in the future of commerce, I encourage you to read the article “Is the Death of the Metaverse Exaggerated?” found in the award-winning Metaverse Resource Center, which currently contains 180 metaverse use cases, 160 articles, and dozens of videos.

I also encourage you to listen to the Business Success in a Virtual World podcast, which I produce in collaboration with my business partner, Silicon Valley guru Tim Bajarin. Each podcast details a successful metaverse case study. The last four podcasts have highlighted the fascinating success stories of JPMorgan, Walmart, Siemens, and Gillette.

Here is the question I have been pondering for months: Where does CRM fit into this future-of-commerce scenario? CRM is not and will not be the front-end technology since 3-D goggles/headsets do this best. Nor can or should CRM be the back-end technology since generative AI technology is well suited for the role.

Rather, I see CRM becoming the tool that diligent companies and developers will use to build customer-focused metaverse apps that seamlessly connect to generative AI tools and data outputs—sales apps like dynamic sales forecasting built for 3-D goggles/headsets that leverage company, market, and even competitive sales data from back-end generative AI sources; marketing apps that harness generative AI data to help companies create effective, individualized marketing campaigns; and customer service apps that put to use generative AI data to proactively drive customer and field service.

There have been several paradigms in the CRM industry over the past 30 years. This includes the arrival of easy-to-use business process engines; enhanced CRM software integration with other enterprise technologies; and no-code CRM software programming. The CRM industry has assimilated each paradigm, leading impressive year-over-year growth, which helps explain why Statista forecasts that the CRM software market will generate $80 billion in 2023. The ability of the CRM industry to adjust to the metaverse and generative AI is the next paradigm. We are in for exciting times as we prepare for the future of commerce. I hope you are ready to put on your goggles/headsets to access metaverse apps that seamlessly connect with back-end generative AI technologies. 

Barton Goldenberg (bgoldenberg@ismguide.com) is president of ISM. Since 1985, ISM has established itself as a premier strategic adviser leveraging leading-edge technologies—technologies like CRM, digital communities, and the Metaverse—to create and implement customer strategy with a focus on sales, marketing, and customer service. His thought leadership includes the Business Success in a Virtual World podcast, the award winning Metaverse Resource Center, and three business books, including The Definitive Guide to Social CRM. He is also in high demand as a keynote speaker (www.bartongoldenberg.com).

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