Video calling is the future right? Well that’s what we’ve been told. Since the turn of the millennium (yes... that's two decades ago now!), the changes in the way in which we as a society use, watch, create and share video has been mind-blowing.
One of the more recent changes is the way in which contact centres, businesses, and customers are choosing to communicate with each other through the medium of live video chat. Woooooaaahhhhhhh. It’s crazy! For decades call centres did calls. Yeah, that’s all they did. Then the first revolution happened. Email changed the way in which call centres operated, then things calmed down . . . for quite a while. Everything was pretty stable, until the last few years happened. All of a sudden customers wanted to web chat with companies, they wanted to call businesses through a website, they wanted call centre agents to show them around websites like personal shoppers, and they wanted to see who they were talking to. Cue the arrival of video calling. We haven’t even mentioned the likes of chatbots, AI or machine learning yet either.
In essence, everything you thought you knew about contact centres is changing. The variety of communication channels they will need to handle is extensive. At present the industry is a bit behind the curve and a bit lethargic with only 1–2% of contact centres currently operating with video. However, it is a technology in demand, and when the customers demand it ultimately businesses have to adopt it or get left behind.
With that in mind businesses shouldn’t just plough straight into something because it’s what the customers want. They need to make sure that its adoption will actually bring the benefits expected. That is why we put together this handy pros and cons guide. Here goes . . .
Personal/ build rapport
Video is pretty much as close as you can currently get to a face to face interaction between people over the internet. Video is so much more personal than a standard voice call, and this personal touch is something that businesses can really use to enhance their customer experience. It’s important to remember that people do business with people, so build a rapport with your customers and they will keep coming back.
Video displays professionalism. If you are a fantastic contact centre, show it. Show how good your staff are, and show how professional your organisation is. For potential and current customers professionalism is important. They want to know that they are dealing with a contact centre that knows what they are doing, and take pride in the service that they offer. Live video chats will be able to showcase your professionalism like no other medium to date.
Can help diffuse tension
Unfortunately, as we all know, contact centres aren’t always the happiest of places in terms of customer communications. There are situations where tensions rise. Video can be used as a way of helping diffuse that tension. How? When customers are faced with an unknown voice it’s easy to feel disconnected, and therefore it’s easier for tension to rise. By introducing video, some of this tension can be negated as the customer will be able to see the agent in question, understand that they are talking with a real person and not a disconnected voice. This helps reduce the likelihood of negative escalations.
When agents are on video with a customer, they have to be fully focussed on the customer and resolving their issues or answering their questions. This gives reassurance to customers that the agents are fully focussed on helping them. Also, from a business’s perspective you can be confident that your agents are intent on delivering exceptional customer service. The lack of distractions is a massive benefit for both customers and the business alike.
Able to record for compliance
For many contact centres, compliance is of utmost importance. Video calling is compliant. This means that you are able to record and monitor conversations that occur through video conversations, as you are already be able to do with voice. Being able to record, monitor and train agents using real world examples of calls is imperative, and with video this is entirely possible.
Not as expensive as you think
The idea of integrating video into your contact centre can seem daunting and sound expensive. This doesn’t have to be the case though. Video calling can be set-up for quickly, with the purchase of a webcam. A decent quality webcam, and a headset are pretty much the only extra physical assets you require. Yes, you can go the whole hog and kit all your agents out with high spec kit, but that isn’t essential.
Reduce requirement on Brick & Mortar locations or travel
Face-to-Face is important. It can also be a huge expense. Depending on the nature of your business/organisation, you can save either travel costs or physical location costs. This is because these face-to-face conversations can still happen, but they can occur from your desk.
Can show negative atmosphere/surroundings
If your contact centre is a bit run-down and doesn’t give a professional image, you may want to consider holding off using video until this has been sorted. This isn’t a big issue, it just depends on the image and perception you want your customers to see. The important thing is the service that you offer.
You need the right staff
Just like you would choose staff who have a good telephone manner or good people skills to operate the phones, you will need to make sure you have the right people with the right skills for video. For some people it’s tough to get used to, for others it’s far easier. You need to make sure you have the right people for the task.
Linked to the above point. Adding live video chat into the contact centre will mean more training is required. This is time intensive for business and would mean time spent away from the phones. However, as with all training that is balanced out by having a more efficient and higher qualified workforce.
Some of the training that may be required for staff would include but not limited to body language training, visual cues training, even sign language (if you work with many deaf/hard of hearing customers).
Lack of multi-tasking
This was mentioned as a positive earlier, but it could also be viewed as a negative depending upon the type of interactions you have in your contact centre. If you require all of your agents to be multi-tasking then video may not be right for them all, or may only be right for a small section of your contact centre.
Could be pretty expensive
As mentioned earlier in the positives, this form of communication can be relatively inexpensive, however, it can also be very expensive. It would depend on a few factors such as; whether existing systems needs a wholesale upgrade, the types of camera you wish to use, the number of agents you want to use the software and any potential upgrades of the surroundings to make them more ‘video friendly’.
Ultimately, live video is becoming more and more of a thing as time goes on, and we see no signs of that changing. The choice for you as contact centre managers is, do you embrace that change earlier and make the most of time? Or do you sit back wait, and adopt later on?