12 steps to Video Chat success article by Matt Dyer, Practice Leader for AVAYA Contact Centre Solutions, Sabio
There’s increasing evidence that video chat – especially from mobiles and tablets – is set to change the dynamic between customer service agents and customers.
Whether it’s Amazon advertising its new Mayday live video service on Kindle Fire HDX tablets, or the BBC running stories on how the US Prison Service is now offering video chat as an alternative to prison visits, people are becoming more comfortable with the idea of video as a customer channel.
Video offers the potential for a kind of much richer, face-to-face engagement. And if it’s properly integrated as part of an optimised customer journey – for example as an easily accessible app option when the customer has exhausted other self-service options – then video chat can prove a powerful addition to the customer service mix.
Video chat also offers direct insights into current customer concerns, indeed some organisations are encouraging their designers, engineers and executives to take time out to video chat with customers – stepping into their agents’ shoes to find out what’s really going on.
However, while there are real benefits that can come from offering a video chat channel, organisations also need to understand that it can turn out to be a double-edged sword if they’re not properly prepared. I’m keen to make sure that doesn’t happen, and have produced a handy 12-point checklist of issues to consider for a successful video chat programme.
1. Picking the right video agents
Video agents need to be brand or product domain experts. On a voice call it’s relatively easy for agents to summon additional support when needed – with video it’s difficult to hide when the questions are getting tough. Before kicking off a video chat programme, organisations need to establish a clear escalation process for video chat sessions that require additional expertise
2. Dealing with IT issues
We’ve all experienced contact centres where the systems are ‘running slow today’. These are relatively easy to mask on a voice call, but much less so with video. Agents will need professional mechanisms for dealing with video performance issues
3. Video Agent shift patterns
Projected video channel volumes can place an increased burden on the agent to perform visually and always appear positive throughout every chat session. You should plan for video chat shift lengths to be shorter than for voice calls
4. Establishing a brand dress code
Video chat sessions need to function as a brand extension, so you’ll need a defined dress code and agents will need to be provided with the appropriate attire that matches your brand aspirations
5. Understanding impact on productivity
Professional video chats effectively prevent agents from blending activity with other channels and tasks. This means there’s likely to be an impact on AHT, with agents retaining customer focus throughout the call and having to leave wrap activities until afterwards
6. Professional office environment
It’s important that video chat backgrounds are also professional, communicating a brand-specific and clean workspace, that isn’t visibly crammed with other agents. You’ll need to provide your video agents with some space
7. Selecting video agents
Video agents will typically be existing agents trained to work on the video channel. However you’ll need to have some form of video compatibility assessment to ensure that agents that would like to handle video chats to actually have the aptitude for this challenging role
8. Getting HR involved
Video chat is by its nature a less private medium. Customers can see agents, learn their names, see where they work, and potentially find out where the contact centre is located. HR needs to understand the wider impact of running a video chat channel, and will need to have policies for agent security and privacy
9. Omnichannel awareness
It’s essential that video agents understand where exactly people are on their customer journey – where they’ve got to on a specific webpage, or whether the customer has already spoken about this issue using a different channel. Having access to a single view of all a customer’s multi-channel engagements will help video agents to deal with customers in the most appropriate manner
10. Multivariate testing
Video agents also need to be aware of exactly what’s going on with the website, particularly if there’s any multivariate testing taking place that might be impacting the customer journey. This requires a mechanism to ensure that web teams keep the contact centre informed of all current activity
11. Quality process
Customer service operations also need to establish specific video chat quality KPIs. These will most probably be a blend of current web chat and voice call quality metrics
12. Technology considerations
Not surprisingly, organisations will need a robust technology platform to support video chat activities. PCs will require extra processing power, memory and either internal or external web cams; bandwidth needs will be greater, particularly impacting video chat homeworkers; and organisations will need to ensure they have the right PCI compliance in place for handling payment card details – this may impact where video chat can be deployed.
Matt Dyer, Practice Leader for AVAYA Contact Centre Solutions, Sabio