Get Closer to Your Customer with Video

For the final installment of our series, “Contact Center—Time to Optimize,” we’ll take a bit of a different approach to “optimization”.  While the prior discussions have centered around contact center evolution and more specifically, cost savings, this discussion will focus more on client engagement.  We’ve covered AI/ML (artificial intelligence/machine learning), Agent Assist, Chatbots, and most recently Branded Calling.  All of these technologies can directly impact sales with a measurable result. For digital channels in particular, agent assist, and AI/ML allows the technology to offer suggestions based on the most successful interactions within an organization’s contact center.  We discussed increased agent adoption/ knowledge and decreased ramp/turnover, while getting clients answers to questions as fast as possible. 

So what technologies, one might ask, are driving the “human” interactions in the contact center?  Covid-19 presented some real challenges to how an organization engaged directly with their clients.  Those clients who preferred a human touch were often feeling abandoned during the initial phases of Covid.  It didn’t take long for some companies to begin offering direct consultations over video.  Those clients were looking for a “human” to work with them for things like buying a car, home repairs, doing landscaping, preparing taxes, having a confidential doctor’s appointment, etc.  According to a PWC survey, 59% of all consumers feel companies have lost touch with the human element of customer experience.  Only 38% of U.S. consumers say employees they interact with understand their needs.   Pew Research Center, in their study of how the Internet and Technology shaped Americans’ personal experience Amid COVID-19, found American consumers are ever more dependent on Internet and are using video in a major way.  As for the customer experience (CX) quotient, 71% with a college degree plus and 66% in the upper income replied Internet is essential.   In that same survey, a whopping 81% of Americans used video calling and conferencing during the pandemic, 22% of those college plus respondents reported using video “several times a day.”   One last item from this research worth mentioning is upper- and middle-income respondents felt closer with family members throughout COVID-19.  One might suggest the use of video and a concerted effort to stay in contact offered a reason to stay connected and was an enabler of “human contact.”

So, what does this have to do with anything?  Well, I would argue organizations need to enable video as a part of their CX strategy.  Don’t listen to me, listen to Apple, the most recognized, awarded, and revered brand in technology.  Starting last week, Apple rolled out a “Shop with a Specialist” service.

 Right off the Apple website, you can now find a link to launch a guided video session.  Quite a long way from the first Apple-1, wonder what Steve Wozniak thinks.

It is a one-way video session where a user keeps their camera off but can see the iPhone specialist.  Brilliant!  Personal, human touch to help you find the device that’s likely most personal to anyone and everyone who buys it.  You know what that means now—-EVERYONE will expect brands to live up to Apple and start offering this type of service.  The virtual dam has broken; with Internet availability, personal and business devices a plenty, and the leading technology company adopting personal video support, the expectations have begun.

So, who needs it?  EVERYONE!

  • Video allows a CX team to provide support with their best agents to their highest value customers to drive better margins and stickier clients.  Shopify reports an average ecommerce conversion rate for their stores is 1.4%, while the average conversion rate for brick-and-mortar stores is around 20-40%.  Imagine if video enabled an additional 1% or greater conversion rate for retailers.  For larger firms, those increase sales could be massive.  With video enabled in a 1-1 session, agents pick up on non-verbal cues like smiling, pursed lips or wandering eyes.  This technology allows for empathy, compassion for a missed delivery, a personal touch to suggest it will be done correctly, or to encourage a client to see possibilities. 

So far, there are five main industries where video commerce adoption has shown promising success.

  1. Retail—1-1 interactions are ideal for personalized, face-to-face interactions not possible with a call center, email, or chat.  Moreover, in a retail setting there are many times where it’s 1-4 or 1-6 depending on time, staffing and the type of store.  Video chat remains 1-1 throughout the session.
  2. Consumer Brands—1-1 video commerce follows some of the same advantages of standard retail but can include lifestyle specific activities, personal preference or other rapport needing interactions indicative of consumer brands.
  3. Distributors/Wholesalers—When making large purchases or ordering big ticket items (think patient room equipment, fleet vehicles, large IT purchases) customers need to be confident in their analysis and decisions.  The larger the transaction, the more impactful mistakes become.  This type of industry is generally a business client who may need a product demonstration, offer follow-up questions and answers, and overall needs a connection to provide assurance the decisions are the correct ones.
  4. Healthcare—Telehealth became a more common method during Covid-19.  Most of these consumers are used to video interaction in place of or in addition to office visits.  Micro-interactions, like signing HIPPA forms, quoting, reviewing charts, x-rays, or other health documents, are available in real-time with an encrypted secure connection.
  5. Financial Services—Financial services require a high level of trust and interaction.  While many advisors from tax to brokerage already use video services like Zoom or others, platforms can be customized to include secure communications.  Think receipts or items with a Social Security number.  Anything which requires a client signature in real-time can be completed without the use of a third-party software system.

Some of the best use cases in those vertical markets include Video Commerce, Lead generation, Video Clienteling, and Video Customer Service.

Video Commerce

  • This combines the convenience of online shopping with the personal touch of face-face conversation.  It allows a client to interact with the sales team as well as products and options in real-time.  This shopping experience becomes immersive and personalized.  These types of human interactions move the conversion rate into the brick-and-mortal realm.
  • Customer shopping experience can be customized to include branding, visual, messaging and options.

Video Lead Generation

  • Live peer-to-peer video commerce for lead generation allows an organization to engage in real-time.  Sales teams can provide ad hoc live demonstrations, qualify leads, and more effectively engage in the sales process.
  • Live video allows a team to qualify and quantify opportunities with potential clients by directly engaging and learning about their requirements, needs, and interests.  Organizations can focus resources on the most promising leads (like most productive clients outlined above).  Sales conversions undoubtedly increase when clients can directly provide feedback, offer non-negotiables and sales teams can engage in a true discussion, either overcoming objections or thanking the potential client and moving on.
  • Custom intent mapping exercises will allow the business to define their own criteria for serious inquiries and shoppers.

Video Clienteling

  • Video Clienteling (is that even a word?  It is now! 😊) is a client engagement and sales technique using personalized shopping or support using video chat.  This allows a personalized and immersive experience similar to how a customer would feel in a store, or better.
  • Face to face interaction is white glove.  At the core, this is not about the data or the technology, but rather providing an authentic experience tailored to that client in real-time.
  • The process of 1-1 human interaction drives trust.  88% of clients who highly trust a brand will buy again, according to a Deloitte retail tech report
  • Video Clienteling increases retention rates by as much as 200% according to Salesforce.  Additionally, selling to new customers is as much as five times the cost of selling to existing ones.

Video Customer Service

  • This is pretty self-explanatory but can include both pre- and post-purchase customer service needs. 
  • Demos and walk-throughs can be done over video in the pre-sale phase.
  • Post-purchase support can include troubleshooting, installation, setup, or other common issues arising shortly after purchasing.  Offering a true 1-1 support limits returns, churn and negative reviews.
  • In session panels are fully customizable to provide any features to enhance the video session experience.

Here is an example screen shot from Uptok of how an agent can engage directly with a client via video:

The possibilities are endless. 

These services can be customized for a particular client, use case, and vertical market.  They can include data presentation, security, and collaboration typically reserved for in person interactions.  With Apple’s announcement, it’s time to engage your clients before your competition.  Once a client is used to personal interaction, they’ll expect it from other brands in a similar manner.  While cost savings may not be the name of the game in Video CX, customer retention, conversion, and growth most certainly is.  Contact us at RISE for your 1-1 (😊) consultation on how to bring embedded video to your website and Customer Experience.

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