When you put on a VR headset or AR handset to access the metaverse, you unlock a rich, immersive virtual environment where you can interact, shop, game, learn, create and work.
But there’s a trade-off.
These virtual worlds soak up a huge amount of information about users, including their habits, persona, voice, surroundings and even physiological characteristics. This naturally raises several questions about trust and safety in the metaverse.
Customer Trust: The Most Valuable Asset in the Metaverse
Trust has always been a cornerstone of customer relationships. When you visit a physical store or shop online with a well-known merchant, you trust and feel safe in that environment. As users explore new virtual worlds, businesses will need to earn that trust again. But how?
They will need to rely on technology. From building a robust data collection and usage framework, to developing trust management policies, through to new, personalized ways of engaging customers that adhere to privacy concerns. In other words, it will be up to tech innovators and forward-thinking companies to create a safe, welcoming virtual environment for everyone.
To help identify what this should look like, let’s look at some of the trust and safety challenges of the metaverse for business.
You can get a lot out of spending just 20 minutes in a VR simulation. But in that time, you will also have given away around two million unique recordings of your body language.
This data capture is both involuntary and continuous. And it will likely create trust barriers when it comes to companies using this to personalize products or introduce targeted selling strategies.
- Business Credibility
The metaverse unlocks new ways for businesses to blur the line between virtual and reality. Naturally, questions of credibility arise.
Imagine you’re attending an event in a virtual store as a customer. How can you be sure that the avatars you’re interacting with are real, verified identities, rather than artificial bots created to make the store look busy?
- Identity Security
The metaverse unlocks new customer experience opportunities – like speaking “face-to-face” using avatars to answer questions and deliver support.
However, this will also create opportunities for bad actors to impersonate or steal an identity by hijacking your avatar – one that literally looks and feels like the real thing.
- Financial Security
Many of us are already buying and trading cryptocurrencies, and there is an assumed safety and security in the blockchain’s design. But crypto wallets no longer seem to be watertight. In fact, they are susceptible to hacking.
- Safety in the Metaverse
It’s not just fraud that businesses will need to watch out for.
Regular online occurrences – such as abuse and harassment – are already making their way into the metaverse. Greater layers of content moderation will be needed to protect users, especially children and teenagers.
Earning Customer Trust From the Get-go
Many users will understandably be suspicious of this new environment – about how their data will be handled, how products will be sold and how regulated it will be. Yet, they will still expect the personalized, omnichannel experience they have grown accustomed to elsewhere.
This creates opportunities for forward-thinking companies to shape the evolution of the metaverse in a way that serves and protects users, earning their trust and their business.
Managing Customer Data
Sources such as VR will offer the data needed to understand how your customers are interacting with your products so that you can optimize and personalize their experience.
But you must first and foremost earn your customers’ trust by demonstrating good data stewardship. Since metaverse data leaks or breaches could reveal information about a user’s appearance, location and more, it’s easy to see how dangerous this could be in the wrong hands.
Managing this risk relies on having transparent standards backed up by next-level compliance systems and processes.
Maintaining Identity Security
Customer trust relies on businesses working hard to detect and prevent fraud. From two-factor authentication to hardware support, companies that sell products or services in the metaverse will need innovative solutions to tackle identity verification. This is critical to minimizing evolving fraud attempts and demonstrating safety to users.
As different virtual platforms emerge, establishing robust identity verification without harming the user experience will be tricky. Innovative solutions will be needed to help deliver a consistent experience while remaining compliant and secure.
Enhancing Content Moderation
Content moderation efforts must increase multi-fold to keep pace with the sheer scale of information exchanged in the metaverse. With new ways for online abuse or misinformation to spread, a powerful combination of AI and human content moderation will be required to fight it.
Organizations, government, industry, academia, civil society – everyone must have a seat at the table when it comes to managing and protecting digital identities. And this will rely on advanced digital transformation expertise from teams who can facilitate this groundbreaking transition.
More Opportunities, More Challenges
Metaverse spaces offer unprecedented opportunity and risk. Navigating this successfully will require rigorous investigation and research. Organizations must be willing to invest in and engage with these virtual spaces to establish expertise. At the same time, they must commit to embedding trust and safety into the foundations.
The actions taken today will set the stage for the future. As more investment is made in the metaverse, it will create new avenues for forward-thinking companies to stand out. See how a digital transformation specialist can help you turn metaverse challenges into business opportunities.