Face-to-Face: Should Contact Centers Consider Video Chat?


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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Video chat has seen a boom in popularity in recent months. Are you missing out by not having it as an option in your contact center?

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Face-to-Face: Should Contact Centers Consider Video Chat?
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When it comes to delivering a strong customer experience, your contact center should be a top priority, as this is often the first point of contact for customers if they have an issue.

To get this part of your business right, you need to be offering a wide range of channels by which you can be contacted. Where consumers are more demanding than ever, a simple voice or email choice isn't enough in today's environment. And one increasingly popular option is live video chat.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a big driver for these options, as restrictions around the world meant many consumers couldn't go into physical stores to seek advice, but still wanted a personal, face-to-face interaction. What's more, as many people have turned to tools like Zoom and Skype to stay connected with family and friends, they'll be more familiar with this when it comes to interacting with businesses as well.

Figures from Vonage show that two-thirds of people increased their use of video chat during the pandemic, with 55% of consumers using video to connect with businesses and service providers.

As a result, many organizations may be tempted to add video options to their contact center mix to respond to these growing trends. But before you go down this route, you should take a moment to consider the potential video contact center pros and cons.

The benefits of embracing video chats

There are a range of advantages companies can expect to see as a result of adding video chats to their contact center environment.

A more personal interaction

A major advantage of video chats is the more personal experience that face-to-face interactions can deliver. Humans are hardwired to respond positively to faces, so there's an immediate connection when using video that voice calls can't replicate.

Agents can better gauge the customer’s mood and see their reactions to any suggestions, allowing them to build rapport and make adjustments when necessary to make sure they're offering the most useful advice. This is why electronics retailers like Currys have had great success with video chats to offer personal buying advice - especially for helping non-tech savvy customers.

Faster issue resolution

Being able to showcase a problem directly and allow the agent to see exactly how their instructions are being followed increases the likelihood that issues will be resolved on the first interaction. This can be especially useful when dealing with issues with physical products, as the customer doesn't have to try and explain a problem or worry about misunderstanding verbal directions.

Improved trust

Being able to see an agent face-to-face also reassures customers and helps build trust with the agent. This can be especially important when dealing with complex or sensitive matters such as finances, which is why banking is another sector that's enjoyed success with video chats.

The potential downsides to be aware of

While video technology can deliver significant benefits, you do also need to be aware of the potential downsides, and what you can do to mitigate any issues.

The risk of distractions

One potential drawback is that participants become easily distracted. At the contact center, you can help customers stay focused by keeping the background simple, such as by putting up screens that hide the rest of the location. This also helps you look professional and means you don't have to spend as much upgrading your facilities to look impressive. However, there's always a risk that whatever's going on in the background can also distract agents, so they'll need to work to tune these out.

Ensuring strong connections

A video call requires more bandwidth than a web chat or voice call, so this needs to be factored into your planning, and could increase the cost of deployment. However, this applies at both ends of the call, and you can't control the quality of your customer's connection. This may result in buffering, audio-visual sync issues or pixelation that affects the quality of the customer experience.

The need for additional training

When your staff are appearing in person to customers, you need to factor in more considerations than for voice or live chat. For example, it's natural when using videoconferencing to look at the screen itself - but of course, this isn’t where the camera is. This can mean you aren't making direct eye contact with the customer and as a result, you may lose trust.

Agents also need to be more aware of their body language, as this can give off unintended impressions. To counter this, it's important your agents are well-trained on the specifics of video - you can't expect them to jump straight over from voice-only contact centers and provide the same experience.

Adding video to your omnichannel contact center solutions

If you’re going to adopt video, make sure it's just one of many options for getting in touch. While many people will appreciate the more personal experience, others may be put off. For instance, they may feel it lacks privacy by giving agents a window into their home, or worry they'll have to spend time on their appearance to look professional.

Video chats aren’t for everyone, but by adding it as an option for those who would prefer it, contact centers can increase their effectiveness, deliver better results and offer improved user experiences. In an age where customers expect to be able to reach businesses on the platform of their choosing and receive the same high-quality experience regardless of channel, video can help meet these expectations.

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