Skype introduced consumer video chat in 2006. A few years later, Apple and Google incorporated this medium within their phones. Now, these mediums when combined with Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and other apps have made consumer-to-consumer video communication an everyday occurrence.
In this post, we explore why businesses incorporate this type of consumer communication into their technology ecosystem and the potential customer experience enhancements offered by video chat.
Many consumer experts once believed that social barriers would prevent video calls from being a successful form of peer-to-peer communication. On a voice call or text message, the participants don’t have to look presentable and can multitask.
However, in 2016, NPD Group reported that 52% of millennial smartphone owners use their device to make video calls representing an increase of 10 points year-over-year. That number has continued to grow. The social concerns have shown to have a minimal effect on usage.
Following these consumer communication preferences, businesses of all sizes started integrating video chat into their customer experience technology ecosystem. The early adopters have seen many of the desired results, and now the market is seeing a flood of business video chat providers.
Video chat is not necessarily right in every situation or for every business. However, forward-thinking enterprises are driving competitive advantages with this visual communication method. For that reason, video chat does matter and can provide the following benefits:
Video chat is more personal and engaging
While live chat and traditional calls might resolve most issues, many customers are interested in a more personal conversation particularly for topics that are private or complex. Video calls, remove any sense of distance and participants engagement levels are much higher.
Customers are less likely to “zone out” or multitask as they might in text or audio communication. Instead, they can maintain “virtual eye contact” with the agent assisting them, providing superior levels of closeness and engagement. This personal feeling translates into closer relationships with the brand and the agents.
Video chat allows businesses to be better connected and more collaborative with customers.
Face-to-face interaction is generally considered the most effective for collaboration and connectivity. With video chat, businesses can provide this option without having to dispatch agents to customers.
While significant attention has been given to self-service and AI-enabled customer service solutions, the majority of customers still prefer to talk with an agent. 75% of customers report, that they prefer service inquiries to be handled by a live agent as opposed to self-service options or chatbots.
Although today’s customers prefer live agent engagement, they are still more independent than customers of the past. They do not want someone hovering over them as they make a sales decision or attempt to fix minor issues. Instead, they opt for online research and peer advice before engaging a company representative. Video chat helps strike the right balance. It is simple, provides a high level of personalization, and can be engaged on demand.
Video chat creates efficiencies.
The added context provided by video chat allows agents to identify issues faster while building a rapport with customers. Furthermore, agents can guide customers through complicated and confusing steps and create a sense of presence that was lost when online engagements replaced in-person interactions.
Video chat also allows expert staff to participate in conversations with customers when it might not otherwise make sense. Team members can specialize in specific industries, issues, or products but still provide personalized assistance to consumers across the globe.
In addition to reducing travel expenses for sales staff, the efficiencies provided by video chat also serve as a cost-saving mechanism for customer service. When a customer does not get their issue addressed on the first call, he or she will call again. First Call Resolution helps reduce the costs of supporting customers. Video chat increases the chances that a customer will leave the engagement with their issues resolved due to the personal, visual communication with an agent.
Video chat sets businesses apart from the competition.
Customer experience is more important than ever. Offering video chat in both pre and post sales scenarios can help organizations make a name for themselves. While businesses of all sizes might be rolling out video chat, many still are not. Companies still have time to stand out and prove that the customer is at the center of their strategic plan.
Video chat speeds up interactions and brings a face to the sales and support processes. It provides agents the opportunity to see and understand body language and voice inflection and allows sales teams to gauge interest better and pick up on subtle sales cues. With screen-sharing and cobrowsing solutions, agents engage on the same screen as the customer, seeing what the customer sees and guiding them through any process during the interaction.
While video chat offers many customer experience advantages, it is essential to find the right provider and a solution that integrates with existing tools. The challenge does not mean you should avoid video chat, but it stresses the need for research when considering it as part of your customer experience technology roadmap.
Video chat is the future, and organizations that look ahead and incorporate it today will have a leg up on competitors.
For more information on technology that might be right for your business, download Choosing Customer Experience Technology: What Every Business Leader Must Know.