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Six Questions to Ask When Considering Video Chat

Christine Friscic
Product Manager, Oracle Service Cloud

By David Fulton, Director Product Management, Oracle Service Cloud 

Video Chat has become an important topic of discussion recently with our customers, particularly given innovations in the service space, largely as a result of the ongoing consumerization of IT. Video chatting went mainstream in 2013 when Amazon launched a multimedia support experience – Mayday - on their Kindle Fire devices. Since then we’ve spoken with contact center leaders from companies all over the world who want to replicate the Mayday experience, and have had similar discussions with partners as they’ve anticipated demand and built offerings on top of our platform.

In these customer and partner conversations, we’ve explored the nuances of adopting video chat as a service channel, areas where it will be a good fit for a service organization, and some of the 'gotchas' that need to be navigated along the way. Here are six questions you’ll want to ask yourself if you’re thinking about implementing video chat:

  1. Is your contact center video-ready?
    Beyond the technology investments associated with adding video chat as a support channel, many companies find they have a great deal of work to do to make sure their contact center environment is also prepared to support video. Video agents need a quieter workspace with better lighting than some standard contact center set-ups. Additionally, these agents need a clean and uncluttered background, with careful consideration given to any internal materials or signage visible within the video frame. 
  2. Are your agents video-ready? 
    Video chatting is a fairly new skill-set in which agents can become proficient, and it may be hard to build a team of agents ready to support this channel out of the gate. Minimally, there will be significant training required to make sure these agents understand the techniques and procedures for effectively communicating through this medium. These agents will need to have the ability to properly visually represent the brand. 
  3. Are your customers ready? 
    Before deploying a video chat solution, it’s important for companies to research the technical capabilities of their customer base. Find out what percentage of customers have the equipment to support video chat, like a video camera on their PC or mobile device and the Internet bandwidth required to provide a good experience on that channel. Also, assess whether your customers have the technical aptitude to be comfortable using video to communicate with agents. Think about whether it makes sense to roll out video chat in a phased approach, starting with certain customer segments like VIPs or customers with tech-savvy attributes and behaviors. 
  4. What value will the video display add to your customer interactions?
    Back in 2013 when companies earnestly started investigating video chat as a new service channel, in many cases, we discovered the use case companies were envisioning would be better served by co-browsing with customers instead of video chatting. Both tools utilize visual collaboration in order to communicate better and solve issues faster, but in some scenarios the ability for agents and customers to look at the same screen – vs. looking at each other – is the more impactful part of the interaction. In cases where companies are looking to build a rapport, to show parts and components via the video screen, or to just add a layer of personalization to the interaction, video is the right channel, and co-browsing can be added to enhance the service experience further. For cases where companies need agents and customers to look at the same materials at the same time in order to collaborate and solve issues together, co-browsing may be a better solution. In this scenario, video can even be a distraction to reaching a resolution rather than a helpful tool. 
  5. Do your agents need to see your customers? 
    When Amazon Mayday first launched, social media channels were overrun by commentary from consumers about how horrified or amused they were at the thought of Amazon agents being able to see them while they used their device – even though Amazon’s video channel was only one-way, with just the agents being visible, not customers. If your use case includes a rationale for letting your agents see your customers – two-way video – you’ll need to do a great deal of work to properly communicate with your customers about what to expect in order to ensure they’re comfortable. In most cases, one-way video makes the most sense, is the lowest risk, and achieves the goals companies have for incorporating video into the support experience.
  6. What’s the adoption rate of video chat in your market?
    While most companies still have the luxury of further evaluating video chat’s value and planning for a strategic roll-out, some industries and regions are adopting this medium at a faster pace, and video chat has become an important competitive differentiator. For example, financial services organizations in Europe are quickly adopting video chat as a standard support channel, and it’s become a necessity to have this technology available just to compete in this market. Keep an eye on the opportunity in your market to either be a leader in bringing this service to your customers or to make sure you don’t get left behind as your competitors start rolling out video chat.

Today, Oracle partners like OpenMethods and VoltDelta deliver an integrated Video Chat solution, connecting Oracle Service Cloud with the advanced voice and video capabilities of the Oracle WebRTC Session Controller. No matter where you are in the process of evaluating video chat for your organization, consider setting up some time with your account team to learn how Oracle Service Cloud can support your goals for enhancing web customer service.

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