Bringing (Video) Context to Customer Support

In the first two parts of our three-part series, we have explored the many sides of video in the contact center, a trend that was identified in the 2013 Top Communications Trends white paper. We have tried to prove that collaboration by video for enterprise, remote, Internet-based and mobile users can enhance the support experience, solving problems faster and building long-lasting relationships with clients.

In this challenging marketing environment, contact center experiences are essential to maintaining a customer service relationship. A 2011 Harris Interactive survey showed that 86% of consumers will pay 25% more for a good customer experience. But when customer experiences go wrong, 89% will go with a competitive brand. And how do you get a customer to love a brand? Harris Interactive found that customers fall in love with brands three ways: friendly customer service and employees (73%), easy access to information (55%), and personalized experiences that prove that they really know the customer (36%), a trend also recognized by Avaya Client Services president Mike Runda in his white paper, 5 Traits of Great Communications Services Providers.

Thanks to the proliferation of Web cams and mobile devices, it has never been easier to build a relationship with a customer through the deployment of video technologies. Video can now enhance the customer support experience and offer another dimension never before attainable – visual context.

Context improves knowledge of the customer, creates higher loyalty and reduces the time it takes to assist the customer. Context is invaluable in saving time and avoiding the frustration of retracing recent steps. It also improves staff productivity and provides insight for cross-selling or upselling opportunities to further satisfy customer needs.

With technology creating greater opportunities for collaboration, the possibilities to improve efficiency, on-demand face-to-face meetings and remote customer service are transcending a broad range of industries. In the recent brochure titled Avaya One Touch Video Solution: A video and collaboration solution for enterprise, remote, Internet-based and mobile users, five video benefits which apply to customer support and video collaboration in general are clearly defined:

  • Cost savings while collaborating – The time and money spent traveling to a meeting or customer site can be quickly eliminated. In many instances, the customer should only need to select a link from contact center Web site, or open one sent directly to them in an e-mail, and a video session is established. This convenience can speed decision-making solving customer issues (increasing customer satisfaction) or closing a sale (increasing revenue).
  • Create powerful customer interactions – Video-rich collaboration capabilities paired with application sharing and chat, can lead to enhanced conversations and can result in improved customer and brand loyalty.
  • Increase productivity and resolve calls faster – Video enables agents to receive contextual information about customers. With this valuable context, agents are prepared to answer customer inquiries more accurately and faster. Best of all, if an agent needs to bring in an expert, all the video, document sharing, and text chat controls can be passed on to that agent, eliminating the need for the customer to repeat information.
  • Improve quality while lowering your cost of investment – Leverage existing skills and routing infrastructure by routing Web-based customer support engagements, including video, through the contact center. Use existing resources for routing, workforce management, and quality assurance to provide a consistent customer experience.
  • Interact one-on-one from your Web site – Your agents can be available for one or two-way voice and/or video conversation, text chat, or to share desktop content, still images, videos and other applications right from your web site with no additional application installation. It can be as simple as providing a separate content sharing window and/or a text chat pop up window to enhance the collaboration session.

In the context of customer support, Video means that enterprise customers, vendors, and suppliers can collaborate outside of their traditional network. Doctors and nurses can conduct remote patient consultations. Retailers can provide specialized in-store service from expert staff or directly from a partner or product manufacturer. Banks can offer personalized consultations involving sensitive issues. Pharmaceutical companies can provide on-demand live support from drug representatives to doctors. IT help desk personnel can see a problem and enable a customer to see exactly what is being described as a solution with relevant video demonstrations. The agent can use visual cues to tell if the customer gets the request instead of waiting until the customers becomes frustrated and verbalizes their concern.

Just as the context of video will transform enterprises and industries, it can also cause plenty of challenges and questions. So what is the IT manager to do when deciding on the best path forward to introduce Video in the customer support equation? Choose the best partner that can help your company add video to the enterprise.

Here are several key questions to ponder:

  1. What is your current primary customer support interface? Is it phone, e-mail, Web site, Webcam, FaceTime, the kiosk using a browser-based Flash connection?
  2. What part of your enterprise customer engagement will benefit most from a video deployment?
  3. How do you train your staff to work with video (Visual etiquette for the agent and the customer)?
  4. Which of these contact center inquiries will most benefit from video?

a) Is it the remote consultation or sales support from a branch office or store kiosk?

b) Technical support with visual demonstrations?

c) Assistance for the hearing impaired using sign language?

What is your next step?

When will you be deploying video in your enterprise and adding more context to your communications?

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