Using video chat technology for customer service is becoming a popular practice. That’s because businesses have grasped the benefits of video chat technology — in large part thanks to increased working-from-home and the rise of digital purchasing. Rather than relying purely on live chat or chatbots, adding video chat will ensure you offer more personal experiences to online customers.
But, as is the case with all technology, choosing the right business tools and implementing them correctly is key to success. So, here’s everything you need to know about video chat technology in customer service.
What is video chat technology?
Video chat technology is any tool used to enable face-to-face interactions online. This includes popular video calling technology such as Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts, as well as tools built specifically for customer service.
Looking for video chat software that works for your business? See what Acquire can do: https://acquire.io/video-chat/
It’s already gained huge traction, but it’s set to get even more popular. The video conferencing market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15.5 percent from 2021 to 2028, and reach a whopping $24.4 billion by 2028, according to Meticulous Research. For comparison, the live chat market — which is one of the most popular customer support solutions — is expected to reach $1.28 billion by 2027.
How does video chat work?
Video chat solutions use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology and often Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) for browser-based applications. Through this tech, you can hold video conversations with customers online on any device or browser.
For example, imagine a customer calls from their mobile device to report an issue with an item they bought recently. They’re trying to explain that it’s defective but don’t know the right technical terms to use or what exactly is wrong with it.
That’s when your support team can ask them to jump to a video call (with the right customer service platform, this is only one click away). Then, the agent can actually see the item and customers can show the agent the specific issue they’re facing.
This is only possible when video chat solutions come as part of a larger customer service platform. For example, Acquire’s video chat tool is seamlessly integrated with an array of customer experience solutions, including live chat, chatbots, shared inbox, social media, cobrowsing tech, and more. Teams can access — and switch between — all these tools from the same dashboard.
Benefits of video chat
Video chat is important because it improves remote communication by adding a visual element. But what are the specific business benefits that you can expect? Here are the most important ones.
1. Quicker issue resolution
As we explained in the example above, some issues may take several minutes to solve using only chat or email, but can be instantly resolved with video. That’s why it’s so useful to have this option available. Your metrics will also feel the improvement, as video chat can have a positive impact on first contact resolution (FCR) and other important KPIs.
Consider the case of Canadian furniture retailer Dufresne. By implementing video chat, technicians were able to assess repair needs for furniture from afar instead of having to make an inspection visit in person. This not only saved on resources, it helped make the whole support process more efficient, too.
2. Better communication and experiences
While customers like self-service options and automation (e.g. chatbots), there are still some cases where they prefer talking to real people. For example, the more complex an issue is, the more likely it is for a customer to want to talk to an actual person. The human touch is important — it makes the whole experience more engaging.
Besides, humans are hardwired to respond to faces. When you can see the other person’s facial expressions or body language, communication becomes much smoother. For example, a support agent can’t always tell if a customer is angry over email or chat, but it’ll probably show during a video call. The agent can then manage the situation by adjusting their tone of voice accordingly.
3. Higher customer satisfaction
Higher satisfaction is a direct result of faster support and better communication. And this is an important business outcome — the evidence shows that customer satisfaction is linked to loyalty and long-term revenue.
For example, 92 percent of companies that improved customer experience saw increased customer loyalty and 84 percent saw an uplift in revenue. So, any action you take to improve customer service will have measurable benefits for your bottom line.
4. Recreating in-store experiences
Many customers still prefer to shop in physical stores. But how can you provide the same level of engagement when that’s not possible? Video chat is one answer — you can sell over video in much the same way you would in-store.
For example, Level 4.0, an international marketing consulting service, helped Audi create digital showrooms by implementing Acquire’s customer service platform. This way, agents were able to chat with their customers in real-time and display the showroom via the video chat tool without having to switch devices or software. This enabled Audi to engage with four times as many customers as they did before.
5. Meeting customer needs
It’s important to follow your customers’ preferences. And when it comes to video chat for customer support, it seems customers are engaging with it more than ever. The pandemic has increased digital engagement with companies in general — and preference for video chat specifically has risen by 300 percent.
Even in the new normal, it seems unlikely people will stop using digital channels to communicate with companies. In fact, in one study, when asked whether they would use video calls to contact businesses after the pandemic had subsided, 76 percent of consumers said they would use it the same, if not more.
So, now, it’s becoming a matter of necessity to offer video chat.
6. Workforce efficiency
Video chat gives giant businesses with global workforces and multiple locations the ability to improve efficiency by making effective use of employees' downtime. This enables companies to dissolve the traditional geographical barriers of local support.
Imagine, for example, that an airline check in is particularly busy at an airport in New York and all of their gate agents are rushed off their feet. In that case, a gate agent in Arkansas could jump in to assist a passenger in New York via video chat and help smoothen the process.
Best practices when using video chat for customer service
To make sure video chat works well as a customer service tool, consider the following best practices:
Aim for omnichannel
This is a big one. Video chat on its own isn’t enough to ensure customer satisfaction. What customers really want is to be able to jump from digital channel to digital channel without having to start their conversations from scratch.
So, video chat needs to be seamlessly integrated with live chat, phone, chatbots, email, SMS, and more. This way, if your team is talking to a customer on live chat, they can make the decision to move over to video chat if needed.
This is exactly what Acquire’s conversational customer support platform is built for — integrating multiple digital channels without losing context or data. You can just continue conversations by switching channels whenever necessary. This is the way to keep high data quality and avoid silos.
Choose the right vendor
Not all video chat software is created equal. So, it’s important you choose a solution that’s a good fit for your company and needs. Here are a few things to consider:
- Agent experience. It’s all too easy to focus solely on the customer experience and neglect the agent’s side. Yet, making things simpler for your team is a prerequisite for offering excellent CX. So, when choosing customer service solutions, make a point to evaluate how easy it is for your team to learn, use, and configure each tool.
- Stability and efficiency. Video often requires more bandwidth than other online communication methods, so it’s important that your tool is lightweight and remains stable over internet connections of varying quality. If the picture or audio of a video chat is cut off mid-conversation, this defeats the whole point.
- Integrations. The only way customer service video chat can succeed is to work in tandem with other systems. That’s why the best software solutions always have options for integrations with other tools. For example, you may need to integrate with your CRM, or ticketing software. Often, you’ll need integrations with AI-powered bots. Look for tools that already have integrations you need or learn how you can make them happen with their API.
- Security. You’re probably already looking into security for every software you buy. But, especially when it comes to video chat for customer service, you need to ensure the customer also knows that it’s safe. Choose tools that can provide end-to-end encryption and data protection in general, but also carry security badges and can explain how they ensure privacy.
Train your team
Train your customer service team in general, period. But, train them for video chat specifically, too. Face-to-face communication puts pressure on both sides. So, agents need to know how to control their body language and use non-verbal cues to move the conversation in the right direction.
Other useful guidelines you can provide have to do with knowing when not to use video. For example, if an agent sees a customer is uncomfortable, they can suggest turning off their camera for a while. Or try to reassure them and help them relax.
The same goes for when conditions aren’t right for video, like when the agent or the customer has too many distractions around them, for instance. In that case, it’s good to know how to tactfully postpone the conversation or move it to another channel.
It always pays to teach your agents to communicate properly over multiple channels. Just as you’d create guidelines on tone and voice for social media posts, you can do the same for video chat as well.
Ensure customers know they have a video option
Having a video chat solution available doesn’t necessarily mean customers know it’s there. Some may stumble on it by accident, but others may not.
Imagine if a customer went all the way down to your physical store or delivery warehouse to demonstrate a product issue, only to later find they could have stayed at home and done it over video chat. That’s going to have a big negative impact on the customer experience.
So, once you have video chat available, think about ways to tell your customers. Maybe it’s a pop-up on your site, an informational email, or even a social media announcement. Pick the method that most resonates with your particular audience.
The good news is, even if customers don’t end up using video chat, just knowing you’re innovative and care about experiences enough to have it in the first place is a great way to earn their trust.
Make the most out of video chat
While businesses most often use video chat for specific use cases, there might be several other uses depending on your operations. For example, video chat solutions can improve internal communications, instead of just customer relationships. You can use the tool to train remote agents, either in real-time or by recording video calls with customers.
Also, depending on your industry, video chat can be used beyond technical support. It can be a way to onboard new users, hold new product demonstrations, and more.
The bottomline is: there are lots of ways to get your money’s worth from a video chat platform. Evaluate your use cases and experiment when needed.
Get feedback and measure results
After you implement video chat, make sure you track the results. You can go into your platform and see how many video chats took place, how many were successful, and how many were not. It all helps build insight into whether it’s working for your business and your audience.
Another great practice is to gather feedback from customers directly. You could include questions in your regular surveys. Or, send dedicated surveys to those customers who used the tool.
Then, act on the feedback. If you have to change tools, re-train your agents, get better equipment, or more, it’ll all be better for your customer experience in the long run.
Looking for video chat software that works for your business? See what Acquire can do: https://acquire.io/video-chat/