The use of video chat for customer support has exploded over the past year.
In fact, amongst Talkative's customers, video chat usage has increased by 400%.
But whenever a customer is exploring Talkative’s video customer service solution, one question always pops up:
What are the benefits of on-demand video chat compared to scheduled video appointments?
Is one better than the other?
Does either have an impact on customer satisfaction or the customer experience overall?
In this article, we'll be answering these questions once and for all. We'll cover:
- The advantages of live video customer support.
- The advantages and disadvantages of scheduled video chat.
- The difference between a video chat customer service platform and a generic provider like Zoom.
Let's get started with some quick definitions.
Live video chat vs scheduled video chat
First things first, what’s the difference between on-demand video chat and scheduled video support?
Scheduled video chat usually refers to the video calling capabilities offered by the likes of Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams.
These are often known as video conferencing tools. They allow a video call to be set up for a determined time and date.
In the last few years, especially since Covid-19, we've seen the use of this technology boom in both professional and social contexts.
Families and friends use it to catch up, colleagues and businesses use it for meetings.
As a customer contact channel, organisations also use scheduled video calls to conduct virtual appointments, personal consultations, and demos.
For example, retailers use this kind of video support to provide virtual shopping experiences.
In essence, they're trying to bring the in-store experience online for their customers.
However, there’s two major disadvantages to using a consumer video platform like Zoom for this purpose.
Firstly, organisations that use this method are limiting their customers’ convenience by making them wait for an appointment.
Secondly, they are disturbing the online customer journey by using an additional application.
This is where on-demand video chat, or live video chat, comes in.
With live video support, customers no longer need to schedule video sessions ahead of time.
This creates a more convenient and seamless customer experience overall.
In essence, this kind of on-demand video chat works much the same as live chat.
Customers simply click the video button on your website, and they're immediately connected to a video call - all within their browser.
In turn, customers experience greater convenience and a greater personal connection with support agents.
Benefits of on-demand video chat support
Now that we've got a better understanding of the differences between on-demand video chat and scheduled video chat, let's take a look at the benefits of each in turn.
First up, the benefits offered by live video chat.
1) Instant communication
One of the main benefits of on-demand video chat is that it’s an instant method of conducting customer conversations.
In terms of providing a great customer experience, this kind of convenience is vital.
For instance, 82% of customers expect an immediate response to a sales or marketing question when they get in touch.
If a customer has to schedule a call to get an answer, they’re hardly getting an immediate response.
In turn, they’re much less likely to get in touch in the first place.
Live video customer support mitigates this issue by allowing you to have real-time conversations with your customers exactly when it suits them.
This instant connection also means you can catch customers when they’re in the buying frame of mind.
After all, these customers are on your website with questions at the ready.
Providing instant answers via an in-person conversation means you can answer customer queries fast.
2) No downloads for customers
A huge drawback of video conferencing tools is that everyone involved in a call needs to be using the same platform.
For instance, if you schedule a customer video appointment over Zoom, the customer also needs to use Zoom to attend.
In a lot of cases, this means the customer needs to download a tool or plugin in order to connect to the call.
While this might work for personal video calls with friends and family, a lack of software compatibility can become a huge pain in a video customer service scenario.
This is where on-demand video chat comes in once again.
Using WebRTC technology, on-demand video chat functions seamlessly within the customer’s browser.
This means you can offer instant video customer support across all devices - including tablets and mobiles.
You can even integrate the Talkative solution within your organisation’s mobile apps, providing greater flexibility and convenience overall.
Either way, with live video chat, the customer does not need to download or sign up for additional software in order to use the channel.
It means you can engage customers quickly and easily, ready to answer their queries.
3) Less technology issues
Video chat is a great asset, but a video interaction is only as good as the devices and internet connections of those involved.
If you’ve scheduled a video call with a customer, but their screen keeps freezing due to poor connectivity, it can feel like a huge waste of time.
The great thing about Talkative's video chat software is that it can solve these kinds of issues.
To do so, the software runs a quality check before enabling a video customer support interaction.
Here's how it works:
First, the software checks the customer’s device to see if it has a web camera and microphone.
From there, the software analyses the customer’s bandwidth to see if it’s fast enough to support a video exchange.
When the device and bandwidth pass these ‘quality checks’, a support agent can then offer a video customer support session.
It means that both organisations and customers can use video chat without facing any technical issues.
But what if the checks aren't passed?
In that case, the video chat widget will not show as an option for the customer.
Again, this means no pixelated images, broken speech, or freeze frames.
4) Less joining problems
One of the biggest problems customers face with scheduled video calls is an inability to join the call in the first place.
First up, there are the technical issues that we've already discussed: downloading software and poor internet connectivity.
These are particularly troublesome for new customers visiting your site.
But there are other joining issues that returning customers can face too.
For example, signing-in issues can be a huge barrier.
To use a video conferencing platform like Zoom, the customer needs to have an account. They need to sign in before they can use it.
If they don’t have an account, haven’t downloaded the software correctly, or have simply forgotten their log in details, it can massively delay and disrupt the video call experience.
Any runovers in time can affect your next video appointments too.
Another additional issue that your customers face is confusing joining instructions.
Scheduled video appointments always come with joining instructions. Though they might differ from brand to brand, they often bring up the same kinds of problems.
Maybe the customer didn’t receive the instructions. Maybe they’re misspelling the password or they’re using an old link.
Either way, if starting the exchange is proving problematic, it’s only going to disrupt the customer experience.
Thankfully, on-demand video customer support solves all these issueWith no need for joining instructions, sign-in details, or specific tool requirements, it’s quick and easy for customers to both initiate or join a video interaction.
It means organisations can offer video chat to their customers without having to solve any complex issues with advanced troubleshooting.
5) No no-shows
For organisations using video chat platforms like Zoom, customers who miss their scheduled video appointments can prove a huge waste of time.
The reasons why these customers skip out on calls obviously vary.
Some people see online meetings as less concrete than in-person meetings.
It’s a lot easier to forget about an online appointment than an in-person appointment, for instance.
It's also a lot easier for customers to quietly ignore any reminders if they've changed their mind about meeting too.
To tackle this issue, on-demand video chat enables human interaction in the here and now.
By offering video directly and in real-time, less time-wasting customers are likely to get in touch.
In turn, the risk of no-shows disappears.
This is particularly beneficial for B2B and SaaS companies that offer product demos and virtual appointments - no more prepping for a customer call only for them to not turn up.
6) No reminder emails
If you don’t have to schedule video chats, you also don’t need to fuss around with reminder emails.
How many reminder emails should you send? When should you send them - a day, an hour before?
With live video chat, you can forget about all that. Just connect and communicate with the customer immediately.
7) Boost customer satisfaction
Video customer support is a great way to make a more personal connection with your customers.
In turn, customer satisfaction is greatly increased.
In fact, 94% of customers rate the experience of using Talkative's video chat as positive.
There are a few key reasons why.
Seeing each other on-screen can help build and improve rapport between your customers and your support team.
This is because video interactions allow a better understanding through body language, facial expressions, and eye contact.
This improved understandin also speeds up interactions.
For example, the average handling time of a video chat is only six minutes long. With text-based chat, the average time is closer to ten.
It means that video chat can provide customers with convenience while you improve key metrics like first contact resolution and overall handling times.
Advantages of scheduled video chat
Now that we've seen the benefits of on-demand video customer support, let's take a look at scheduled video appointments.
While there are less benefits of scheduled video calling from a customer service standpoint, there are two key advantages worth mentioning.
1) Less internal resources needed
One advantage of scheduled video calling over on-demand video chat is the internal resources needed to manage and support it.
The easiest way to understand the issue is to treat live video customer support the same as inbound phone calls.
To manage on-demand video calls well, you need a system in place that is capable of queuing, routing, and dealing with the peaks and troughs in demand.
These systems are not necessarily expensive, but they do require an element of development and deployment.
Fortunately, with Talkative, you are guaranteed deployment assistance for no extra charge.
This includes both on-demand nd scheduled video calls.
What's more, Talkative can be added to your website with just a few lines of code.
Conversely, generic video conferencing tools aren't capable of the same kinds of functionality or integration.
2) More preparation time
When video calls are scheduled in advance, it gives the person taking the call more time to prepare.
This means they can make the call more personal to the customer. They can also better equip themselves to deal with any tough questions.
This is a particular benefit for companies that give product demos.
Granted, most demos will follow a similar format, but preparation time can give you the chance to look into the customer’s business and relate your product to their industry and niche.
The only drawback to this extra preparation time is that you’re largely relying on the amount of information your customers leave when scheduling their call.
With just the company name, for example, you don’t have much to work with.
In contrast, with advanced on-demand video chat software like Talkative, you are able to see the customer’s journey in real-time, which can give context to the call.
This is known as customer journey mapping. In most cases, this is enough information for agents to adequately deal with customer service queries instantly and efficiently.
Which video customer service software is better for your business?
In truth, there are advantages to both on-demand video and scheduled video calling.
Ultimately, the right system for your business depends on the use cases.
If you want to offer real-time video customer support, on-demand video is the clear winner.
It’s easy to use for both customers and agents as it requires no customer sign in, no downloads or plugins, and - most importantly - it allows you to provide instant, real-time support.
Live video chat can also be great for virtual shopping appointments.
Essentially, it allows you to recreate the experience customers have in store.
This is especially useful for retailers. In store, a customer service agent is always there to help with questions on size, colour and style.
With on-demand video, this level of service is easily replicated.
This is why we have seen many more retail businesses making use of our video chat software over the last year
On the other hand, if you’re mainly interested in using video for product demos, a schedulable video conferencing tool might be more beneficial.
After all, it’s important to have the time to prepare for your demos. It’s important to dedicate enough time for each demo too.
Scheduled video appointments give you this valuable preparation time. They also make sure you aren’t overbooked for any given day or week.
Depending on your industry, some customers might also benefit from scheduled calling. Take personal financial meetings, for instance.
In this circumstance, both the customer and the organisation would benefit from the additional preparation time.
It's clear that there are multiple benefits for both on-demand and scheduled video chat.
Which is best depends on your business, the specific situation, and your goals.
But there's nothing stopping you from utilising both on-demand and scheduled software.
For example, you could use on-demand video chat for customer support and scheduled video chat for demos or virtual appointments.
That's why Talkative's video chat solution includes a scheduled video option as well as live video chat, providing convenience to all kinds of businesses, whatever their needs.
Want to learn more? Book a demo with Talkative today.