Third-Party Integrations vs. Native Video & Chat Solutions: Does it Make a Difference?
When looking for ways to support customers, you’ve probably thought to try some form of video and chat. Video chat provides an easy way to have representatives chat with customers and provide them with the support they need. But not all forms of video chat are equal. There are two very common forms of video chat to consider: third-party integrations (you pay a chat provider and they connect or “add on” a video solution) and native chat and video solutions (both live within the same software).
Read on to learn about these types of video chat providers, the benefits of using a native solution, and the drawbacks of using third-party integrations.
What Is Video Chat?
To start, let’s look at what video chat is. Video chat uses video technology to chat with a customer over a video transmission. It’s like FaceTime or Zoom where both parties can show video and converse simultaneously. It’s a great way to allow for a face-to-face conversation with a customer without worrying about things like geographic distance or time of day. Customer support agents can easily see what a customer wants to show them and provide the help needed.
Why Is It Essential to Include Video Chat in Your Customer Support?
Businesses at the forefront of customer service need more options than ever to provide customers with the experience they want. Ten years ago, it may have been suitable only to have phone services for your customers, but today, customers want to have options to work with a company’s representative—whether it’s through SMS messaging, chatbots, or video chat.
Video provides a channel for customers who want to speak face-to-face with a representative but can’t do so in a brick-and-mortar store. Some video chat use cases include if your company only has an online store or if customers live far away from your physical store. Whatever the reason, having video chat as an option means you can fully take care of your customers without having to be in the same room.
Third-Party Integrations vs. One Native Solution
There are two primary options when providing video chat: third-party integrations and native solutions.
The main reason large companies often choose one native solution for video and chat is that it’s more reliable and accountable. When two softwares integrate, it dramatically increases the odds of malfunction due to software syncs and updates over time. Additionally, when issues arise, you’ll often find the two software companies pointing fingers at each other.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of choosing a native solution offering both video and chat and why third-party video chat has some major drawbacks.
The Benefits of Native Video Within a Chat Solution
Providing native video within a chat solution has many benefits for both your company and your customers. Here are three key benefits:
- Reliability. When you rely on third-party integrations, you’re splitting where your voice and video support are housed. This often results in agents constantly changing tabs and losing contextual data while increasing the risk that your CX software solution is less reliable. When voice and video are in one place, customers can reliably escalate a chat conversation to video, and representatives can easily move chats and calls within their workspace while taking advantage of valuable contextual data.
- Switching to text is possible. Here’s the thing: customers love having SMS messaging options for customer support. It’s faster for them, and they don’t have to worry about talking on the phone. Providing text whenever possible is a great customer support strategy. Using a native chat and video solution keeps your video and text options housed together, so customers can switch to texting from a video chat.
- Reduced costs. Reducing solutions almost always equals fewer costs. Purchasing a solution that offers both video and chat natively will likely save your company money WHILE improving your customers' journey!
Let’s look at an example of why video chat is such a powerful customer support tool. Video can step in whenever a customer would benefit from being able to show the customer support agent what’s going wrong. For example, let's say a customer purchased a fridge two weeks ago, and the fridge is making a funny noise whenever it’s opened.
The customer could talk to an agent on the phone and explain the fridge is making a noise. However, if a customer can switch to video, they can open the fridge and let the agent hear the noise. Then the agent can provide better support because they know the problem and can alert a repair team to bring the right tools. Switching to video gives customers instant face-to-face help support that saves both time and money for everyone involved.
The Drawbacks of Third-Party Video Integrations
As illustrated with this example, there are some negative aspects when solely relying on third-party video chat to meet your video needs. These are some of the main drawbacks:
- Reliability and Accountability. Two separate voice and video systems mean that the odds that “at least one fails” go up dramatically. And when your system malfunctions, it’s not uncommon for both software companies to blame their counterpart. We all integrate software but selecting where and when is important. Many large companies would rather not rely on integrations where a malfunction can dramatically decrease customer experience.
- Can’t switch to text. Not being able to switch to text from a video chat limits your customer support. You’re not able to provide a key communication channel on the spot that customers want to be able to use.
- Less efficient support agents. If your agents are required to switch between solutions and tabs to communicate effectively, their productivity and morale will likely decrease, causing your customer experience to suffer as well.
Why a Fully Native Chat and Video Solution like Acquire Is the Best Option for Your Business
The best approach to video chat is a fully-integrated customer service platform, like Acquire. Fully native solutions put voice calls, chat, video chat, and text messaging in one place to empower your agents and fully support your customer’s needs. Acquire provides your customers with an omnichannel experience where they can choose the communication channel that meets their needs (often choosing less expensive options than voice if given the option!).
Relying on Acquire solves the drawbacks of third-party video integrations. Voice and video are together and require no third-party integrations or engineering work. Instead, you can immediately begin helping your customers via a seamless chat-to-video escalation. On the agent side of the video, it’s easy to launch video calls on both mobile and desktop, so agents are empowered to help customers however they need it, including switching to text messaging.
Acquire’s video and chat solution help recreate the in-person experience digitally from anywhere in the world. Get a demo to see how Acquire can provide your team with the optimal solution for video chat support.