28/05/2015

By Phil Adams, Client Success Director at Vee24


Video is everywhere these days but it is not just a medium to entertain us in our personal lives – it has fast become an essential business tool for marketers and will form part of any effective communications strategy. It is also becoming a great tool for customer service, with a growing number of companies seeing its potential as an effective way to add personality to their websites. Retail is just one sector where live video assistance is being used as a standard part of a company’s customer communications strategy.

People are increasingly shopping online and retailers are faced with the challenge of providing their customers with a consistent multichannel shopping experience across stores and website. One challenge is to find a way to offer the personal experience you come across in-store, but from a company’s website, and video is a perfect way to bring personality to this previously faceless channel.

Live video assistance is a growing area. If you haven’t seen it yet on a website, it’s only a matter of time before you do – DFS is using it to help customers making purchasing decisions on sofas and shoe retailer Schuh is using video assistance to co-browse its product range and answer queries from the website. It brings a whole new level of customer service to the online channel, where the shopper is invited to talk to an assistant via live video. The shopper can see the assistant, ask questions, co-browse the website, seek help with form filling and ask for support throughout the checkout process.

Live video assistance also gives advisors the capability to share screens with customers when they need help browsing the website or completing the checkout process. And to address any concerns about privacy and safety, the shopper is reassured that the advisor has no access to the customer’s desktop or computer and hence the customer’s personal data.

It is a major step forward from the customer service we receive via text chat. Here, the advisor may be dealing with multiple customers at one time which can be frustratingly slow, and less of a personal experience than being able to see the advisor.

Business benefits

In some cases, online video assistance can exceed the in-store experience. For example, a customer looking for advice on what type of furniture to buy could use their webcam to give the advisor a virtual tour of a room. The advisor could then offer advice based on the room layout and existing décor – a level of engagement only possible with video functionality.

But live video assistance isn’t simply a nice-to-have new gimmick for a website. There are some sound business benefits to providing customer service in this way. Fewer shopping baskets are abandoned; customer service scores increase significantly; average order value increases and there’s a 4-fold increase in conversion rates.

Conclusion

The swift escalation of retail businesses employing live video assistance shows that real-time face to face assistance can be what makes you stand out. This type of technology has already moved from ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have’ for every retailer who is serious about their customers’ online experience – and who want to retain those customers.

The video revolution is well underway and video is certainly here to stay. The question is, whether your business is ready to embrace its potential?