The use of video chat for customer support has exploded over the past year. Amongst our customers, video chat usage has increased by a whopping 400% between December 2019 and December 2020!
With the increasing demand for our video chat software, there is one question that keeps popping up: what are the benefits of on demand video chat compared to scheduled video appointments?
Let’s answer that question once and for all. In this blog, we’ll discuss the advantages of live video customer support compared to scheduled video chat.
First things first, what’s the difference between on demand video chat and scheduled video chat?
Scheduled video chat 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 date and time.
We have seen the use of this technology boom across both the professional and social space. Families and friends use it to catch up, and colleagues and businesses use it for meetings. From a customer service standpoint, organisations use scheduled video calls to conduct virtual appointments, personal consultations, and demos.
On demand video chat, or live video chat, simply takes out the need for a call to be scheduled ahead of time. WhatsApp, for example, offers on demand video chat - you click the video button and are immediately connected to a video call.
In a business setting, on demand video works the same as live chat. Customers can initiate a video chat from a company’s website with the click of a button. Organisations are increasingly offering this contact channel to offer real-time customer support.
First, let’s look at all the benefits offered by live video chat.
One of the main benefits of on demand video chat is that it’s instant. To offer good customer support, this is vital.
82% of customers expect an immediate response to a sales or marketing question. If they have to schedule a call to get an answer, chances are they just won’t bother.
Live video customer support lets you have real-time conversations with your customers exactly when they need it, ensuring increased customer satisfaction.
This instant connection also means you catch customers when they’re in the buying frame of mind. They’re on your website with their questions fresh and ready.
Waiting for a scheduled chat could result in a change in attitude from the customer. It also gives them time to turn to your competitors!
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 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.
This isn’t the case with live video chat. Using WebRTC technology, on-demand video chat functions through the customer’s browser.
This means you can offer instant video customer support across devices, including tablets and mobiles. Most significantly, the customer does not need to download or sign up to anything in order to use the channel.
Video chat is a great asset, but it’s only ever as good as the devices and internet connection of those involved.
If you’ve scheduled a video call with a customer, but they keep freezing due to poor connectivity, it can feel like a big waste of time.
The great thing about the video chat software offered by Talkative is that it can run a quality check before offering customers video customer support.
It checks the customer’s device to see if it has a web camera and microphone. Then it checks 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’, an agent can offer video customer support.
If the checks are not passed, video chat will not show as an option for the customer, meaning no more pixelated images, broken speech or freeze frames!
For customers, one of the biggest barriers of scheduled video calls is managing to join the call in the first place.
First there’s signing in issues. To use a video conferencing platform, the customer needs to have an account and needs 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 delay and disrupt scheduled video appointments.
Next there’s joining instructions. Scheduled video appointments always come with joining instructions, and these often come with problems of their own.
Maybe the customer didn’t receive the instructions. Maybe they’re misspelling the password. Either way, simply starting the exchange can prove problematic.
On demand video customer support solves all these issues. With no need for joining instructions, sign in details, or specific tool requirements, it’s quick and easy for customers to both initiate and join a video chat.
A constant risk of scheduled video chats is the customer not showing up. For some reason, online meetings feel less concrete than in person ones.
It’s a lot easier to forget about an online appointment than an in person appointment. It’s also a lot easier for a customer to simply not connect if they have changed their mind.
With on demand video chat happening in the here and now, it takes out the risks of no-shows.
This is particularly beneficial for B2B and SaaS companies that offer demos and virtual appointments. No more prepping for a customer call only for them to not turn up!
On a similar thread, 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.
While there are less benefits of scheduled video calling from a customer service standpoint, there are still two advantages worth mentioning.
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 it is to treat live video customer support the same as inbound phone calls. To manage it 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 a company like Talkative, you are guaranteed deployment assistance for no extra charge. The system can be added to your website with just a few lines of code. It can also be synced up with any existing contact centre tools, such as telephony systems and CRMs.
Conversely, scheduled video conferencing tools do not require the same level of system capabilities or integration.
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 and be better equipped to deal with tough questions.
This is a particular benefit for companies that give demos. Although most demos will follow a similar format, preparation time can give you the chance to look into the customer’s business and relate your product to their industry and niche.
The drawback of this is that the quality of preparation relies largely on the amount of information the customer leaves when scheduling the call. With just the company name, for example, you don’t have much to work with.
With advanced on demand video chat software, 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.
There are advantages to both on demand video chat and scheduled video calling. Ultimately, the right system for your business depends on the use cases.
If you want to offer 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 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 your main use case for video is demos, a video conferencing tool that allows a customer to book a date and time slot might be more beneficial.
It’s important to have the time to prepare for demos. It’s also important to have enough time for each demo. With scheduled video you have that preparation time and can make sure you aren’t over booked for any given day or week.
Some virtual appointments with a customer, such as personal financial meetings, might also benefit from scheduled calling. Much like a customer would book an in-person appointment, they would most likely prefer to schedule an online appointment in these cases.
Overall, as the different software benefits different circumstances, there is nothing stopping you utilising both! Use on demand video chat for customer support and scheduled video chat for demos and some virtual appointments.
Either way, if you’re just looking to improve the digital customer journey and customer experience, on-demand video customer support is the way to go.
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