In case you’ve missed the memo, here’s a sobering reality check that highlights the importance of video in today’s mobile first, customer-centric economy:
Roughly 100 of the top 500 corporations worldwide will be using video chat for customer-facing interactions by 2018, according to Gartner research.
Now this doesn’t mean that you have to use video chat for each and everything you do. It also doesn’t mean that all businesses are right for video chat. However, it does mean that forward-thinking businesses are driving competitive advantage through video chat use today.
So why is video chat right for your business? Let’s take a look:
1. Face-to-face video chat dramatically improves customer service
As the above stat highlights, video chat plays a huge role in customer service. Though many people have made a big fuss out of self-serve support options, and there’s some truth to the fact that customers would rather handle their own support questions if they can, Gartner predicts that a third of all customer service interactions will still require live agent support in 2017.
Video chat works well for this interaction because it helps you identify issues faster through show-and-tell methods while building rapport with agents. Agents can guide customers through complex or confusing instructions and create the sense of presence that was lost when in-store staff began replacing online shopping carts.
Consumers want it, too: roughly 36% of consumers said they would like to use video chat with customer support, according call center solutions provider Talkdesk.
2. Video chat will increase your sales
Consumers don’t want sales reps hovering over them as they consider a purchase, but they do want help when needed. Video chat can help you strike the right balance between buyers just browsing your products and having their questions answered before purchasing something.
The value of chat is proven, with roughly 90% of customers saying live chat is helpful, according to an ATG Global Consumer Trends study. What’s more, an emarketer.com survey found that 63% of consumers were more likely to return to a website that offered live chat.
Video is the next evolution of live chat. It speeds up interaction with your company and brings a face to the sales process, and it allows agents to gauge interest and pick up subtle sales cues through body language and voice inflection. With screen-sharing, agents also can see exactly what your consumers are browsing during the interaction.
3. Video chat can greatly cut down on expenses
There are two sides to the cost savings that you can reap from using video chat: customer-facing cost reductions and internal cost savings from reduced travel expenses.
In the contact center, there is a lot of emphasis placed on first call resolution. With good reason, too: Customers who don’t get their issues addressed will call again, raising support costs. Failed customer service opportunities also cost sales and lose customers, which hit the bottom line of a business.
Video chat increases the chance that a customer will leave an interaction successfully due in part to the visual information and communication from the agents answering their questions. This means that you will have lower contact center costs.
At the same time, video chat cuts costs internally through the reduction of travel expenses. Costly sales meetings can be reduced by replacing some of these meetings with video calls, and internal meetings conducted over group video chat can greatly reduce the need for bringing together remote teams.
4. Employee training and collaboration make a huge leap forward
Video chat not only cuts your costs by requiring less internal face-to-face meetings, it also lowers the bar for these meetings. Instead of using costly in-person meetings, video chat opens up lines of communication by making it easy for quick, pointed “virtual” meetings.
An internal video chat system helps employees collaborate better by making it easy to visually share information and virtually stick their heads into some else’s cubicle for a quick question. Once established in a work culture, video chat can substantially boost collaboration and information sharing for your company.
Furthermore, video chat can help with training. Imagine a new employee still learning the ropes. Traditionally, this employee will discover business processes and best practices through trial and error. Instead, with video chat, seasoned employees can more easily serve as mentors and provide guidance when new employees have a question or need direction.
5. Incorporating video chat sets your business apart from your competition
While a fifth of top global businesses might be rolling out video chat by 2018, right now most are not. This gives you the time to stand out among the crowd and differentiate your customer service like Amazon did with its Kindle e-readers and its in-app video chat support, Mayday.
Customer support is more important than ever, and offering easy video chat both pre- and post-sales can definitely turn heads.
It also can help customers remember your brand. Only three percent of online shoppers remember text three days later, according to an extensive survey conducted by the Customer Care Institute. Video chat is dramatically more memorable, however, since it engages customers on the human level; the Customer Care Institute found that over this same three-day period, those who chatted with a company by video remembered the interaction 95% of the time.
Looking to stand out in the crowd? Use video chat.
These benefits won’t matter if your video isn’t reliable
That’s assuming your video chat works reliably, however. As with any new technology, the devil is in the details.
Choose wisely when rolling out video chat functionality, because many unified communications (UC) solutions don’t come with encryption or quality-of-service guarantees. For example, if a remote employee or a customer has a poor Internet connection, the video chat will fail in most cases. This will nullify almost all of the benefits from video chat and drive customers away.
According to Tony Zhao, CEO of Agora.io, “The big problem for easy, hassle-free embedding of real-time communications within Internet-based applications is the lack of quality of experience (QoE). If connections are unreliable, voices keep cutting out, and video images break up, then people will not use these embedded real-time capabilities.”
This challenge does not mean that you should avoid video chat, but it does stress the need for you to do some research and choose wisely when considering a software development kit (SDK) to integrate into your businesses communication strategies.
Video chat is in the future for most businesses. And for those firms that are looking ahead and planning wisely, it also is a competitive advantage today.