Empathetic CX should be a key consideration for companies contributing to the metaverse from day one. Computer-generated avatars will need to mimic their human counterparts in ways that feel natural. They need to understand the context of what someone is saying and respond appropriately. They need to smile when you smile, to blush when they’re embarrassed, and talk faster when they’re excited because you are showing the same emotion. Whether a digital person is indistinguishable from a real person isn’t really the point. The important thing is that the interaction feels real. Brands, like Nestlé Toll House, have discovered that using digital customer service personnel that react and respond in a human-like way doubles the amount of time people spend interacting with them online. Nestlé saw engagement times of 7-13 minutes; typical digital interactions top out at less than 1 minute. Authenticity becomes especially important as sports stars, celebrities, and other notable public figures begin to generate their own intelligent avatars. The other essential element here is honesty. With all the controversy surrounding deep fakes, the worst thing brands can do is pretend that a computer-generated entity is a real human being. As brands grapple with how to operate within the metaverse, their ultimate goal remains unchanged — to build sustainable, long-term relationships with their customers. That’s not something that can be done using chatbots or animated characters spouting prerecorded answers. It should be done in an intelligent, scalable, and empathetic way.