An increasing number of businesses are utilising video chat for their customer service needs. In fact, Hubspot believes that face-to-face video calls will soon change the future of customer service as we know it. So how can you best take advantage of video chat for customer service success?
In this article, we’ll be breaking down how to do just that, helping you to keep your video chats and your customer service on point - whatever industry you’re in.
Since March 2020, the use of video chat for customer service in Europe surged by an astounding 70%. In turn, businesses offering video chat saw an incredible advantage over their competitors: they could bring the in-store experience online.
For many organisations, adopting this new contact channel proved to be a lifeline during a difficult year. For retailers like Bravissimo, offering video customer service even proved efficiency boosting. Since implementing video chat, their chat abandonment rates have dropped to just 6%, leading to an increase in sales.
The reason for the above statistics is simple. Unlike other contact channels, live video chat provides a much needed personal touch for online customers. By building rapport through face-to-face contact, video chat agents are able to build brand trust and showcase their customer service by giving the customer their full attention.
The use of video customer service software also reduces costs; while diminishing the need for physical locations, organisations can still provide customers with a personalised and dedicated experience, wherever they might live.
Implementing video chat for customer service purposes is far easier than you might think. There are a range of ways you can integrate video customer service software with your website quickly and easily - whatever the size of your business.
Standalone deployment is a convenient type of video chat integration that can be implemented straight into your website’s code, which enables you to conduct video chats without the use of any additional systems. This type of deployment is incredibly quick too - its code can be embedded into your website in just three lines, meaning you can offer video chat for customer service within days. The only other equipment you need is a headset and a webcam.
Standalone deployment is a fantastic option to get up and running fast, but if you already have an existing contact centre environment, integrating video chat with your current systems could prove the best bet.
For example, Talkative offers users of Mitel Web Ignite or Salesforce personalised video customer service software, ensuring your video interfaces look professional and remain on-brand for your customers.
Contact centre agents also benefit from this kind of deep integration. Instead of switching between different software packages, agents will be able to maintain a single view across all contact channels, allowing them to seamlessly assist the customer in their native contact centre application. If a customer gets in touch via live chat, agents can then choose to escalate the interaction to video chat, assisting the customer in a more personable and interactive manner.
To ensure you successfully implement video chat for your customer service goals, take a look at the following six tips. What steps could you take to improve your video chat customer service?
Imagine you are a retailer that specialises in musical instruments, and you want to offer video chat for customer service queries. In this scenario, two customers request a video chat. Customer one has just received a drum kit she bought online, and she doesn’t understand the instructions for setting it up. Customer two wants to know if you’ve got his favourite guitar strings in stock. Which customer do you think would benefit most from speaking to you via video chat?
As the above example shows, it’s best not to offer video chat for every customer straightaway. Instead, utilising other contact channels like live web chat can help contact centre agents deal with simple enquiries quickly and efficiently. When more complex queries arise, agents can then escalate to video chat for a more direct discussion. This method allows contact centre agents to manage their workload more effectively. In turn, this also lowers waiting times for other customers.
You might want to offer pre-scheduled appointments too. This is a fantastic option for sectors like healthcare, where some patients are unable to attend in person. In this instance, customers would fill out an initial form that states why they’re getting in touch, allowing agents to schedule consultations for a convenient time.
When it comes to providing a successful video chat, your customer service skills are only as effective as your technical capabilities: your agents must be experts in your video customer service software! Even if your agents are able to offer the best information and advice on your product or service, you don’t want any technical issues to disrupt your customers’ experience.
By taking the time to train your agents, you’re ensuring that video chat users get the best customer service possible. After all, if your agents are confident in their work, they can quickly resolve queries and create a customer service experience that your competitors will envy.
Another key tip for improving your video chat for customer service is teaching your agents the best way to present themselves on screen. We all know how important body language is when communicating, but with studies also highlighting the importance of gestures and facial expressions, it makes sense for agents to learn how to appear approachable and affable on screen.
Firstly, eye contact from video chat agents is paramount. To achieve this, agents should look into their camera, not at the customer on screen. While this may feel a little unnatural at first, it’ll help ease the customer into the interaction by recreating the experience of an in-person conversation.
Sitting up straight is another important consideration. Not only will this allow agents to speak clearly and remain in full view of the customer, it will also indicate the agents’ attentiveness. When using video chat for a customer service query, no customers want to see an agent slouched back in their chair!
An engaging approach and an awareness of social cues like eye contact may sound obvious, but first impressions mean a lot. It’s why you should also consider your agents’ appearance too.
By taking into account their clothing and their grooming, as well as their body language, your video chat agents will be able to represent your company in a manner. This is especially important if your agents are working from home. If they look like they’ve just rolled out of bed, your customers will notice.
Another useful tool for both office and home workers is a backdrop screen. Not only will this provide a clean and professional look, it will also keep their workspace concealed. Offices and homes are busy places, and even a leftover mug can prove an eyesore to your video chat customers.
Make sure agents also keep their personal possessions well out of sight, for their own sake as well as the customers’. This will not only maintain the agents’ privacy and present a more professional image, but it’ll also help agents remain more confident too. Agents who know that their privacy is protected will feel more focussed on giving the customer the best experience possible.
Audio/visual presentation can make or break a video chat. Even if your agents are trained to expert standards and well groomed and presented, muffled sound quality and a shadowy appearance can seem incredibly unprofessional. To solve these issues, develop a list of equipment you will need and test them for clarity and reliability.
For example, a video chat agent needs a good headset with a built in microphone to communicate clearly. When possible, they should stick to this setup over speakers too. A headset’s built in earphones will allow them to hear the customer much more easily, whereas external speakers could lead to audio feedback.
Another useful tip is maintaining the same setup from one video chat to the next. Using a headphone microphone on one chat and a standalone microphone on another will mean that your audio levels will vary greatly. A mistake like this could prove embarrassing, especially if you forget to adjust your audio levels for your next call. You don’t want your customers to think you are mumbling, let alone yelling!
In terms of webcams, you don’t need any state-of-the-art technology to provide excellent customer service via video chat. Most standard webcams will easily do the job, and it’s actually often internet connections that let the side down when it comes to maintaining a good image.
You should always make sure your agent is facing a good source of lighting too. By ensuring your agents are well-lit and easily visible, video chat customers will feel far more at ease during the interaction. The worst mistake you can make here is placing a light source behind your agents. It’s very hard to build trust with customers if your agent is draped in shadow.
With other contact channels, if a customer is unhappy and feels disconnected from an agent as a person, tension is more likely to rise. Video chat solves this problem with an opportunity to foster a human connection.
By helping your agents and customers to build empathy towards one another, video customer service software helps maintain a personal connection in all customer service queries. This in turn leads to quicker resolutions. In fact, you might even want to escalate any negative queries to video chat as soon as possible. This will not only show off your company’s attitude to efficient problem-solving, but it’ll also provide your chat agents with a fast way to gain respect and understanding.
Now that we’ve developed an understanding of how to get the most out of video chat as a customer service channel, let’s take a look at its specific uses in a variety of sectors and settings. What sector best describes your organisation, and where could you benefit from using video chat for customer service?
For Public Sector Organisations, using video chat for customer service allows increased accessibility for those unable to leave their homes. This is a huge benefit for housebound customers, as well as customers unable to schedule an appointment due to working hours. By offering all of their customers an equal level of dedication and convenience, Public Sector Organisations can build their brand’s reputation and trust, as well as improve their customer satisfaction.
Much like Public Sector Organisations, housing associations also benefit from using video chat by mitigating the need for in-person appointments. House calls are an extremely common practice within this sector, and unnecessary call-outs can prove very expensive in the long run.
By offering video chat to their customers, housing associations can help tenants diagnose any problems before sending a professional to the site. This means that, if a call out is needed, professionals arrive already prepared. They can then solve the customer’s problem quickly, once again reducing costs.
Healthcare organisations have also benefited from adopting video chat for customer service. The ability to offer face-to-face appointments for the remotest of locations means a decrease in costs and increased efficiency. Customers are able to request clinical consultations around their availability, and healthcare professionals can then provide advice and care to patients at home. This also limits the strain on physical locations, reducing waiting times and customer tension.
For some housebound customers, video chat could prove the most convenient and common form of consulting with their healthcare professional - a huge boon for both the customer and the organisation alike.
With an increasing number of customers now banking online, financial services offering security-compliant video chat are enabling their customers to receive all the guidance they need without leaving their home.
For full-time workers, arranging an appointment with their bank can prove tough to schedule. Video customer service software mitigates this issue, offering the customer convenience, flexibility, and most importantly security, building further confidence with their chosen financial service.
Using video chat for customer service allows retail businesses to bring the in-store experience online. Rather than leaving their customers to explore their website alone, video chat enables agents to allow face-to-face demonstrations, building customer loyalty and a professional brand image in turn.
As we’ve seen from retailers like Bravissimo, providing your site’s visitors with video customer service also diminishes live chat abandonment rates and increases remote sales. Bravissimo have even made an inventive use of video chat by implementing an expert fitting service, which has maximised their customer service success. What could you offer your customers that your online competitors don’t?
The benefits retailers can see from using video chat for customer service also transfer over to real estate agencies and automotive companies. By offering remote viewings for their customers, both of these sectors can provide excellent customer service by limiting the amount of travel a customer might undertake.
When searching for a new home or considering a new vehicle, customers often travel long distances to view several options before making any decisions. With video customer service, agents can provide property tours and vehicle demonstrations from their website. This means agents can answer any customer questions up front. Perks like these help to build customer confidence and portray a brand’s professionalism, while also boosting sales.
While recent global events may have boosted the popularity of using video chat for customer service, the impact of video chat will be lasting. Technology always changes customer habits, and with video chat now proving a viable customer contact channel, a highly valuable human element has been added to the customers’ online journey.
Video chat allows your customers to connect instantly and meaningfully with your business, but the customer service rewards don’t stop there. From improved accessibility and resolution rates, to increased remote sales and contact centre efficiency, video chat marks a profound step to building more real customer relationships.
Do you already use video chat for your customer service needs? Let us know how you go the extra mile in the comments section.
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