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Video is at the forefront of the modern customer service strategy - here's how to take advantage of it.

A happy customer is a valuable customer and unless you slept through your freshman-level business courses, you should be well aware that it costs far more to acquire customers than it does to retain them.  Your customer service strategy plays a huge part in keeping clients happy, so why are so many companies using the same strategy as they were 10 years ago?

I’ll make it simple - not only are customers more informed than ever, they also expect everything about the shopping process to be easier.  This doesn’t just mean competitive prices and a responsive website, it means they expect a smarter shopping experience that matches their interconnected lifestyle.

This is probably where you expect me to rush in and tell you video is the solution to all of this, but it’s really only part of the equation when it comes to modernizing your customer service strategy.  On top of that, it won’t work in every industry (even 4K video and 360 audio isn’t going to make me want to buy a car online), but when it does work it’s been proven to knock the socks off of more traditional strategies.

 

Why It Matters

It’s far too early to suggest that companies must incorporate video into their customer service strategy if they want to survive, but you know how we feel about competitive advantages...  Everyone can agree that video is already replacing audio in many aspects of business, and it is my humble opinion that customer service is next in line to fully reap the benefits.  

Here’s how:

Technical Support

Modern customer support is like putting a puzzle together over the phone - it’s a lot easier if both parties can see what they’re doing.  However, despite it being 2016, the default support is almost always phone, email, or maybe live chat, leading to a lot of wasted time and frustration depending on the issue.

Video not only helps to eliminate confusion and wasted back and forth, it also allows the customer to better observe and learn as they go, helping to further familiarize them with your product.  The truth is that it doesn’t matter if you’re trying to configure a new device or build something from IKEA (though I think we can all agree that IKEA is way harder), video adds a much-appreciated option to those giving and receiving support.

Want proof?  Amazon introduced Mayday for Fire tablets in 2015, a feature that allows users to connect with a service rep via video at the touch of a button and receive help with a task or issue related to their Kindle.  Within months of introducing Mayday, Amazon reported that nearly 75% of issues now come through the service.

Now we all know it’s much easier to be jealous of Amazon than it is to emulate them, but there are ways to incorporate video into your customer service strategy without full product integration.

 

  • Add it to your support page - You know where you list your outdated support options like your phone number and email?  Add a button that says “Schedule video support” and let your users connect with traditional video conferencing technologies.

 

  • Include it in product unboarding - We love onboarding emails, not only are they consistently the most opened, but they help set the tone for any future interactions between you and your users.  If you make a point of mentioning that you offer video support, don’t be surprised when that becomes your most active support channel.

 

Personal Shopping

Once reserved for the wealthy and chronically indecisive, personal shopping has now made its way to the masses thanks to video. More and more companies are starting to offer the ability to connect directly with sales representatives in a move that provides significant benefits for both the company and consumer.

As a consumer, I cannot wait to see how products look, behave, and fit without ever having to set foot in a store.  Even more significant (at least to me), is the fact that returns are going to be few and far between and I can stop feeling guilty about every box I throw away lest it be needed for a future return.

However, online stores and shops are the real winners here as they gain the ability to cross and upsell customers in person, two tactics that are yielding huge results.

Want proof?  Online jewelry store Baublebar reports that their online video chat results in orders that are 300% higher than average.  According to BaubleBar’s VP of Customer Experience,  Nina Alexander-Hurst, the technology allows representatives to not only show off jewelry, but also recommend things that would go well with it.   

Think video chat might work with your store’s customer service strategy?  Here’s how to roll it out to your users:

 

  • Email newsletter - Your newsletter should already be going out to your most devoted customers so it makes sense to let them know first.  Maybe even consider offering a ‘soft opening’ to reinforce their importance.

 

  • Homepage - Adding a button or banner is an easy first step.  Take it to the next level by adding an online scheduling tool that will keep things organized while also creating a sense of scarcity.

 

  • Popup - Popups get a bad rap but you can’t argue with their effectiveness.  People can delete emails or skip over banners, but nobody can miss a popup.

 

Account Management

I haven’t set foot inside a bank in years.  I deposit my checks through my phone, transfer money with an app, and manage my 401k by email.  While I definitely don’t miss trying to find a parking spot only to wait behind 10 people inside, I do miss the relationship I used to have with my local branch.

Bank of America is one company that is trying to cater to customers like myself by offering the ability to video chat with experts regarding certain products like mortgages and investment accounts.  With local branches disappearing by the dozens, this strategy allows BOA to continue to offer personal service without their customers ever having to leave their homes.

American Express has also embraced video as an aid its customer service strategy and now allows users of its iPad app to connect with representatives via one or two-way video.  The credit card company has instructed their reps to inject a lot of personality into each interaction, something certainly intended to help weary users adjust to the new service.

If account management and customer relations are big parts of your business, then it definitely makes sense to offer video as an option.  The best case is you appeal more users while the worst case is that nothing changes and users continue to rely on phone or email.  If you’re going to go this route, I suggest promoting the option in two places:

 

  • The user dashboard or contact page - make it big and bold to ensure your users know it’s an option.  

 

  • Onboarding emails - similar to technical support, if your product or service requires onboarding, make sure to mention that users can get help via video.  And if you don’t offer onboarding it’s still a good idea to publicize it in the welcome email.

 

Wrapping Up

Bob Dylan summed it up best when he said “the times they are a changin’”.  Customers have more tools than ever at their disposal, are more informed than ever, and expect more from companies.  It doesn’t matter if you are a bank, SaaS provider, or just an ecommerce store, your customer service strategy needs to reflect the times and video is the logical next step.  For most industries, simply offering video connectivity will put you ahead of most of your competitors and allow you to better serve the needs of your customers, whatever they may be.