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Live video support: is it right for your contact centre? - Valur Svansson - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog

Live video support: is it right for your contact centre?

Technology is continuously evolving, and keeping abreast of the latest tech solutions for your contact centre is key to keeping both customers and agents happy. Some solutions, however, are informed by tech outside of the contact centre. Live video chat is one such result.

Whilst live video support has been in the contact centre sphere for several years, its adoption has remained relatively low. Why? It just wasn’t the right time. Now, however, the market is more ready than ever to take on a new branch of customer service as more and more consumers grow accustomed to using video calling on their smart phones.

Video-calling apps such as FaceTime and Skype have normalised the experience of communicating via video, so much so that 2017 saw WhatsApp carry 55 million video calls a day, equating to roughly 2 billion minutes. With the increased availability of 4G and the introduction of 5G, and with so many smartphones on the market which can accommodate the proliferation of video-calling apps, consumers now have more options than ever to make a call via video.

Meeting millennial expectations

With the prevalence of mobile phones, you would be hard pushed to find someone without a phone, especially millennials who have grown up surrounded by more technology than any generation before them, and are – for the most part – particularly adept at navigating the digital world through their mobile devices.

It is this saturation of mobile phones and expectation for video-calling to be available that makes video support all the more viable. Since so many customers are already carrying around a mobile device with them, they are likely to be using it to seek customer support in way or another, whether over the phone, email or via in-app support. Many of these devices will be video-call-enabled and many customers would be open to having the option to speak to a customer support agent via video, especially if it makes their journey more efficient.

Whilst live video support could seem gimmicky, not only are younger customers adept at using it, but they may also be expecting it as part of their experience.

Brands are getting on board

As a result of growth in video use, contact centres are being encouraged to take up live video support in order to meet these evolving consumer expectations and improve the customer experience. Furthermore, if a contact centre can show they are keeping up with the times, this will engender stronger customer loyalty and encourage a good reputation, especially amongst younger consumers who will want and expect to see to see the person they are speaking with, especially on a more complex call.

Live-video support is already being used by some brands. Amazon, for example, has embedded a video support service in its Kindle devices so that consumers can use the Mayday feature to get live help on any issue with their tablets and e-reader, and footwear retailer Schuh offers video support as an option on their website. Whilst it’s not a novelty, video-chat is on the rise and it’s up to contact centres to decide whether it’s the right choice for them.

Important considerations

There are several steps to consider when contemplating introducing live video chat to a contact centre. The most important thing to remember though, is that implementing video support doesn’t have to mean a massive overhaul of existing solutions with camera-ready agents and a production team on retainer. Starting small with webcams and some agents who are up for giving it a go are all you need to get started.

Here are a few other steps to consider when introducing live video support to your customers:

Check in with the team: Whilst some agents might want to dive straight in and will be eager to embrace the opportunity to shine in front of the camera, learn a new skill and chat to customers that way, others would rather not and prefer to stick to the phones. It’s important to communicate with your team and seek their opinion on whether it would be right for them. Afterall, happy agents mean happy customers.

It won’t just happen: Introducing video support will require a whole new skillset for agents. Training on body language and facial expressions is crucial, as agents will now be interacting with a customer face-to-face as if they are sitting down opposite one another in an office. Agents must learn how to conduct themselves in a way that best represents the business and will help the customer feel most at ease. The introduction of video chat may also mean an update of policy documents and manuals, so there will be some leg work involved before the video chat option is even up-and-running for your customers.

Being screen-ready: If your contact centre is not looking its best, you may feel it wouldn’t give the best impression to show it off in the background of a video. Whilst the customer isn’t expecting a full-scale production when they are using video chat, putting up some plain backdrops or making use of a conference room may make all the difference and also make the agent feel more comfortable if they have a set area and some rules of how to conduct the call.

Change of pace: If agents are usually completing other tasks whilst they’re on the phone with a customer, like updating forms on their computer screens, they may no longer be able to do so. The customer will be expecting to have the agent’s full attention and if the agent is constantly looking away to their computer screen, this won’t necessarily be possible. Whilst the agent will need to consult their screen now and then, streamlining the process and introducing the likes of Robotic Process Automation to the system to help them with simple, repetitive tasks will mean they’ll have more time to interface with the customer.

Do a test run: There’s little point in rushing head first into full-scale video chat mode. Instead, test the solution out with a few agents on a specific type of call. This will allow them to test the waters and also get immediate feedback on the way they conduct the video call to see where changes need to be made. Testing also allows the opportunity to get customers feedback to see if they are happy with the change.

There are many benefits to introducing live video-support to a contact centre – more personalised interaction with customers, an opportunity for agents to learn a new skill, strengthening a brand’s reputation as one who is keeping pace with evolving customer expectations – but there are also the hurdles to consider. It may not be right for your contact centre, and that’s alright. After all, the most important factor to consider when introducing new technology is whether it will enhance and improve the customer experience. If you think video chat will do this for your brand, it is a step well worth taking.

Publish Date: July 22, 2019 4:45 PM

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