Got Video? Customer Service Hits the Small Screen
Let’s be honest – video, as a servicing channel, has been an underachiever. Even with the rise of the Millennial consumer and the growing necessity to embrace alternative servicing channels like email, text, web chat, mobile, and even social media, somehow video took a detour along the omni-channel customer journey. But thanks to benefits like improved efficiency and oversight, reduced customer effort, improved customer and agent engagement, not to mention cost savings, video may finally be back on the map.
Increasing Customer Acceptance
Video has become ubiquitous in our digital world. There is growing familiarity with video, and customers accept it as a business, entertainment, education and communication channel. Thanks to WebEx, GoToMeeting, YouTube, Blackboard, FaceTime, and Skype, among others, video is a routine, if not daily mode of communication. Using video as a servicing channel in the contact center is a natural extension of its inherent ability to establish a virtual “connection,” bridging time and distance to bring people together. Video puts a face to a voice, be it the face of a contact center agent, banker, doctor, sales rep, technician, etc., and by extension the organization or brand itself. Video interactions are a more dynamic, enriched and personalized communication forum that promotes higher levels of agent and customer engagement and satisfaction.
Video Benefits Many Verticals
As companies increasingly appreciate the essential role of customer service, they are looking to use video as a communication channel, due to its broad appeal and applicability across multiple verticals and industries. Video is an ideal mode for eliminating the cost, time and effort associated with activities that have traditionally required physical presence. At the same time, video improves the customer experience by extending service beyond the geographical reach and hours of brick-and-mortar locations. Video improves the co-browsing experience by facilitating joint document review, technical configuration, product assembly or troubleshooting. “Window shopping” takes on a new meaning, as video shopping replicates the in-store retail experience for anything from basic accessories to automobiles. Insurance, utilities and field services organizations can leverage video for on-scene damage assessment, remote collaboration and visual communication with field services or emergency personnel, reducing cost and effort, and providing improved oversight of operations. Video enhances doctor-patient engagement and improves compliance with protocol, enabling doctors to make virtual “house calls” to regularly assess elderly or immobile patients or virtually collaborate with specialists or other doctors. For patients without local family/friends, video chat can provide much-needed encouragement and emotional support to promote recovery. Video visitation can also be applied in the legal realm, enabling attorneys to virtually interview witnesses or meet with incarcerated clients.
Impact of Video for Contact Centers
There are many practical issues to consider before hitting the “go-live” switch on video. Foremost, video is a visual channel; relaxed dress codes that are acceptable for contact centers are not appropriate for video agents, who need to dress in a manner that reflects the brand image. Since video mimics face-to-face interactions, agents must have excellent presentation skills and feel at ease in front of the camera; non-verbal cues can make or break a positive customer experience. As the workplace becomes increasingly virtual, video is playing a major role in the recruitment and hiring process, including video resumes, virtual interviewing, and the oversight and engagement of new employees, particularly for at-home agents and geographically dispersed contact centers. Use of video technologies may mean that quality evaluation criteria will also need to be revised; this may affect compensation, as well, as it’s possible that video-enabled agents should receive a higher pay rate for their somewhat specialized skill set. Another consideration is that contact centers are densely populated and noisy, so agents who support video channels may need to be physically segregated from the rest of the department.
Although pervasive elsewhere, video is still an emerging channel in contact centers, and it is viewed as a service differentiator. Video offers a wide range of benefits, including the cost savings associated with doing face-to-face interactions without travel, improved efficiencies from demonstration (“show me”) versus articulation (“tell me”), improved first contact resolution due to the ability to collaborate, corroborate, and confirm, and the ability to generate incremental revenue with fewer returns. DMG expects that the use of video for service and support inside and outside of contact centers will pick up momentum as public and private organizations appreciate the many contributions it can make to their business and their customers or constituents.
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Ask the Experts
Given that customers freely share their thoughts on social media, and that speech and text analytics can identify what customers are sharing in conversations, is it still necessary to perform customer satisfaction surveys?
Yes, enterprise feedback management (EFM), previously known as surveying or Voice of the Customer (VoC), is an essential activity that all organizations should perform, regardless of their function or purpose. While there are many applications, such as speech and text analytics, that can provide an understanding of customer needs and wants, the simplest way and often most effective method of determining what your customers and prospects are thinking is to ask them. Today there are innovative solutions that are dedicated to engaging customers and prospects on a continuous basis through many steps of their lifecycle. Some of these solutions are less interested in analyzing customer feedback – the primary purpose of EFM in the past – than in holding a customer or prospect’s attention as they go through an experience. The adoption of social and mobile technologies is facilitating this revolution, making it easier for organizations to interact with their target audience on a timely basis, an essential element of any effective surveying program. As importantly, asking customers for their feedback should be the first step in an iterative process that includes feedback collection, analysis, action and change. This cycle can be achieved when a VoC strategy is supported by processes and systems that convert feedback into action items on a timely basis.The current generation of EFM solutions is re-defining the concept of customer feedback. These analytics-enabled solutions actively and passively capture and pull in direct customer feedback to discern content, context and sentiment. When data from all channels is combined and analyzed on a holistic basis, end users have a rich source of information to gain insights into what their customers (and prospects) are doing, how they feel, and what they think about the company’s products and service. This customer-centric data is finally starting to be valued as an enterprise asset instead of just information to improve contact center productivity and performance or to make customers think an organization cares about them. The new real-time EFM solutions are attracting attention because they can influence customers at pivotal moments in their journey. These emerging solutions are shifting the focus from the organization back to the customer, and, by doing so, they are empowering consumers.
DMG Consulting LLC is a leading independent research, advisory and consulting firm specializing in unified communications, contact centers, back-office and real-time analytics. Learn more at www.dmgconsult.com.