Smile! You just Video called a Contact Center for Support

In the past, we have discussed the best of both clouds, how to select a managed service provider and Ava the avatar. Another fast growing trend is the incorporation of video in almost all facets of our life. What about calling a vendor for support on a product and talking to the contact center agent via video conference?

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what are moving images and audio commentary worth to day-to-day communications or to the resolution of a technical support issue? Psychologist Albert Mehrabian demonstrated that 93% of communication is nonverbal while 3M Corporation concluded that people process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.

While Alexander Graham Bell quickly transformed the world of communications with the phrase “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you” as part of the first phone test on March 10, 1876, the video revolution is just starting to radically transform how we communicate. In 2012, more than 697 million smartphones with video cameras and more than 150 million laptops with Webcams were shipped. Just recently, Skype announced that its users are spending more than 2 billion minutes connecting with each other!

The proliferation of video and the “FaceTime effect” are impacting the way we do business. A 2012 Harris survey, sponsored by RadVision, showed that:

  • 21% respondents have used video calling for a customer/client meeting or to close a deal
  • 16% have personally used video calls for a job interview or employment termination
  • > 20% would dress more casually for a work-related video call than an in-person meeting

The video revolution continues to build on a trend identified in the white paper 2013 Top Communications Trends, prepared by an elite panel of 5 Avaya experts and is also called out in Communications services: Challenging the status quo, where author and Avaya Client Services President Mike Runda, wrote, “Video can also play a key role in service quality and client relationships. It can strengthen customer ties by helping clients and the service provider get to know one another better. And it can be used to resolve issues, an especially valuable capability for small or midsized business facing support issues. For example, on-site cameras can be used to diagnose physical hardware issues without a technician needing to be dispatched to the site.”

To take what Mike stated a little further, the 93% of communication that is nonverbal, but available via a video conversation, can result in huge customer satisfaction benefits and the reduction in issue resolution times. Examples of video’s benefits could be:

  • Empathy conveyed to a customer when interacting with their support engineer that may never have translated through voice or chat alone
  • Enable a support agent to see the rats nest of wires that is in a customer’s wiring closet when a verbal description would never be able to convey enough information for the agent to diagnose a loose connector
  • Help the support agent to see the beads of sweat on a customer’s brow indicating the urgency of an issue even when the customer’s voice is calm and cool

But with the many advantages of video in the support arena, including the ability of contact center agents to see problems in real-time, will come many unforeseen challenges such as increased professionalism risks like inappropriate dress, privacy concerns, etc.

How do you feel about the use of video in the support context?

Do you want to speak to and see your customer service representative or have them see you?

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