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Think about how many times you have bought something you had to assemble—furniture, a BBQ grill and kids’ toys—and the frustration of using the provided printed instructions. Think about the times you decided to go the DIY route to fix your dryer, build that shed, install your own thermostat, do some landscaping, etc., and needed real-time help.  After some time spent with written instructions and users manuals—and even maybe a phone call to an 800 number, we fire up our laptops and more often use our mobile devices as we turn to online videos for help. A bit better than the written instructions, but not fully or always helpful.

According to a TechSee survey about self-installation, complexity is a real barrier to DIY-ers. 31% of consumers reported having to give up mid-process and contact a customer service agent for assistance after failing to self-install successfully. Baby Boomers are even more challenged by self-installation, with a telling 87% reporting that they did not find the process easy.

Enter Augmented Reality (AR)—the ability to present the real-world, overlayed with digital information. While some people think of AR as a technology for games and enhanced shopping experiences, its practical applications go well beyond these, and a variety of companies are using AR to enhance their customers’ experiences (CX) along the full customer journey—including to how to put something together or install a product. Assembly with AR is an application that can use a virtual 3D model (a mathematical representation of something three dimensional) and combines it with AR for use in a real live environment using smartphones to help many of us who are challenged with the provided assembly instructions.

By turning to an AR assembly or instructions solution—an AR guide can provide superimposed instructions on mobile phones. This video representation of the physical product (in 3D) can be shown with step-by-step assembly instructions and helpful tips. It can overlay the product—or pieces of the product—with animation that simulates and clarifies the self-assembly process.

AR provides an effective digital interface that displays the content visually during initial setup, configuration, troubleshooting, regular maintenance or for demonstration of proper usage. It delivers an immersive experience, enabling the user to feel self-reliant, empowered and in control, translating directly into a positive CX.

AR is poised to serve as a key technology to improve consumer-product engagement, and forward-thinking companies that are looking to go to the next level of customer service and engagement and customer loyalty are exploring and starting to use AR to enhance their full CX. If you are using AR for your CX, we invite you to share your story.