4 Things to Watch Out For When Rolling Out Video in Your Contact Center

Video-based customer engagement has continued to gain traction in the market each quarter since mid-2013, when Avaya Client Services President Mike Runda named it a top trend to watch in the “Communication Services Challenging the Status Quo” whitepaper:

“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.”

Offering video as an option in the contact center has proven to be a powerful way to provide better customer service. Elevating to a “wow” experience means going beyond just text chat. Where most contact center chats end, Ava the virtual agent searches continue, with customers being given the option to talk or video conference with a live agent. The customer has total flexibility of choice – voice over IP (Web talk), one-way video, or two-way video.

While Web talk is a great way to replace the phone for customers who want to talk rather than type, video changes everything. This transformative technology offers human empathy and the experience of seeing the other person while reaffirming that old but true cliché made famous in 1911 by newspaper editor and editorial columnist Arthur Brisbane, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

In a late October 2014 blog, “6 Developing Communications Services Trends to Watch in 2015,” we stated that video support will reach an inflection point—“if you snooze, you lose.” The blog added,

“At the end of 2013, Amazon.com became the first company to offer one-way video customer support. In 2014, Avaya became the first company to offer both one-way and two-way video support options for customer engagement. Now companies in many industry verticals are adopting—or at least piloting—some form of video. Businesses that haven’t begun to make the move to video will be challenged to catch up with their competitors.”

Improved Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) scores have confirmed the initial premise that video adds value to support. Customers are much happier when they engage in video conversations with agents/engineers in the contact center. Since September 20, 2014, we have seen average CSAT scores of 5%+ better on video interactions versus the overall average for contact center interactions (4.5 vs. 4.25). Why is video driving higher CSAT scores? It comes down to four key drivers:

  • Video communication is becoming mainstream, thanks to the advent of video Skype and Apple FaceTime.
  • With every blink of the eye, smile or gesture, video enables the agent to react instantly to non-verbal cues, based on the customer’s current satisfaction level.
  • Seeing the problem makes troubleshooting easier and faster, by removing inaccurate verbal descriptions. Resolution times become noticeably faster with video.
  • Video puts a face with a name, adding a personal touch to communications that enable customer and agent to truly engage and build rapport on a human level.

Here are a few quotes from our agents that provide insight as to where they have seen value… “I offered video and was able to view the actual telephone [the customer] was programming and guide him based on what I could see through the video.”

“I love using video, it seems to cut down on outside distractions and keep everyone engaged.”

Deploying video well takes a strong infrastructure and a holistic cultural commitment by customers and agents. Much of the credit for the success we have seen in video goes to our agents who are pioneers leading the way into the new video frontier. Before deploying video in your contact center, here are four key considerations:

  1. Environment: Where and what kind of worker matters. Workers in an office or working remotely matter when you are considering backgrounds, branding and lighting.
  2. Appearance: Just as backgrounds are important, so are the foregrounds where the agent sits. Do they appear to be professional and appropriate for your particular industry or company culture? Is the workplace formal or business casual? Is uniformity necessary? And after everything else, watch for video etiquette.
  3. Acceptance: Expect resistance and questions from your contact center agents. Commitment from the top of the business organization is imperative. Agents may resist or feel uncomfortable. Training or role-playing is essential. Customers may not see the benefit until they are educated and the benefits are shown.
  4. HR/local regulations: Fundamentally, after all else is solved, it comes down to the company and its employees behind the agents. Given today’s global business environment, key considerations are any in-country regulations and work council rules for customers and employees that relate to audio/video recordings and business operations.

Mastering these four key considerations can simplify the process of rolling out a successful video-based support program. Happier agents able to solve problems faster lead to happier customers. Happier customers mean more business.

How could video transform your support experience with the contact center and increase engagement with your customers? What is holding your contact center back from exceeding its customer’s needs? Share your experiences in the comments section below!

Follow me on Twitter at @Pat_Patterson_V.

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