By Kelsey Jones

If you're looking for a way to provide a higher level of customer service without having to provide in-person support, customer service video chat may be a great option for your business. In addition to being more secure than many text or email support options, online users are getting used to video being part of their experience with a company. This makes it the perfect time for customer support teams to start leveraging video to create a better customer support experience.

Video customer service has a lot of benefits. Using video chat customer service helps you stand out because you can provide a customer service solution that many of your competitors likely aren’t using. What’s more, this level of service is perfect for many of your high-value customers whose long-term relationships you want to continue to strengthen. Video instantly creates a more personal connection, which personifies your company and can increase the trust value of your support team.

Here are some ways you can use video chat customer service more effectively.

One of the best ways to use video chat is when a customer is trying to navigate the company website, use software, or access an online product or service. With video chat, your customer support team can see the customer’s screen and know exactly what the customer is looking at. This saves time and allows the support team member to understand the customer better, explain a solution more fully, and improve the customer experience in the process. Some support teams, such as GoDaddy’s, also have the option to control the user’s screen, which allows them to instantly solve the problem without having to blindly walk the customer through it.

Video chat technology has evolved, so many solutions are available directly in the customer's browser. This means they there’s no additional software to download in order to get video support, which makes the estimated adoption rate of video customer support chat higher. Gartner estimates that “more than 100 of the 500 largest global businesses will introduce video-based chat by 2018 for customer-facing interactions.”

This is perfect for technical or high-level issues that may take someone without the right experience hours to fix. Not only is this easier from a communication standpoint, but it also saves the customer and your support team time and energy. A shorter and more reliable customer support experience leads to happier customers and more available time for support teams to focus on other matters.

One aspect of video chat that could make or break this technology for your company is ease of use. The right video chat solution won’t require customers to download large or bulky chat applications on their computers or phones before being able to talk to or interact with a customer support person.

Many video chat solutions work right in a user's browser. This is important, as it eliminates the time it would take customers to download software they likely won't use again before they can get an answer from a real person. Making video chat connections one click and easy to use is the key to getting this new type of support used—and appreciated—by your customers.

An instant connection is key to a great customer support video experience. But in order to make that work, option buttons need to be intuitive and easy to understand. For many customers, this is a brand new way to get support from companies, so having video chat work instantly is key.

Options should also be kept to a minimum so they don't lead to choice paralysis, and therefore confusion. Ideally, customers can use visual technology, such as sharing their screen, being able to drop links into a chat, or sharing screenshots with the support member they’re talking to. These tools help both your customer service agents and customers get the most out of their video chat experience.

In order to ensure the video chat itself is easy to use, it should also be accessible across all the platforms your customers use to experience your product. These may include your app, mobile website, and the desktop version of your website. Amazon’s suite of Kindle tablets famously familiarized this in 2013 by offering a “mayday” support button on new Kindles that customers could push to instantly connect to a live support person via video. The support person could see the user’s screen, which was the most effective way to help the customer resolve the issue.

Amazon figured out that their customers needed instant support directly on their device, instead of being forced to use the tablet’s internet browser or a separate device (such as a computer or smartphone) to access support archives or a contact form. This gave customers peace of mind and provided incentive for purchasing a Kindle tablet instead of a competitor’s reading tablet. Customers knew if they had any problems a real person would instantly help them.

In addition to being a faster, more streamlined experience for the customer, using video chat for customer support requests, and recording select sessions, provides valuable training videos for future customer service team members. According to a study done by the University of Hawai’i and Michigan State University, seeing problems worked out on video has been shown to be more impactful and have a higher information retention rate than audio or written content.

 

As long as you have your customers’ permission, try to use real video recordings for customer support training. Video can often be more engaging to watch, instead of just reading content. It also lets trainees and supervisors pay attention to the tone and facial expressions of the recorded support team member, which provides inspiration and insight for new trainees on future calls.

Your customers may appreciate the ability to instantly talk to a real person they can see, instead of waiting for an answer via email or connecting to a support person through live website chat. This instant connection means problems are often solved faster and in a more personal manner, which helps customers feel like your company cares about them. Furthermore, being able to go through support tickets faster also helps your customer support team see higher close numbers and handle a larger volume of problems during each business day.

Video chat customer support can also go beyond just web-based requests. The Los Angeles Times reports that an ATM provider uses video chat on their machines to instantly help customers. This ingenious approach not only helps customers with their ATM request and questions faster, but also provides the company with valuable insight into the confusing points of using their machines and how they can improve the process. Customers appreciate being able to connect with a support member immediately, without having to use their phone or other device.

As we move toward more self-serving store locations and check-out processes, using video chat will help customers increase self-sufficiency. In the long run, it will cut down on the number of employees required at physical locations and will let more workers log in from home as remote customer service team members. For instance, Amazon Go’s automated convenience stores, which rely on computerized vision to help the customer check out, could use video chat for instances in which the customer needs to talk to someone instead of interacting with a computer kiosk. “By 2018, five percent of customer service cases will be initiated by internet-connected devices, up from 0.02 percent in 2014,” reports Gartner. Brands, including GoDaddy, Amazon, Target, and Audi, are all making video chat for customer service a part of their service offerings in order to keep up.

More and more companies are using video chat to solve customer problems quickly and in a more humanized way. It may be beneficial to consider video chat for more personalized support, better training recordings for new team members, and a faster customer service solution. As we move toward technology that can do more for us, seeing a real person on your screen, one who is committed to helping you solve your problem, is a refreshing way for companies to stay connected to their customers.

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