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Should your contact centre offer video chat?

Guillaume Schwoerer Lead Product Manager at Odigo

Video conveys more information than any other medium. It isn’t ideal for every request, but for contact centres that want to provide detailed instruction or strengthen relationships with customers, video chat provides unparalleled capabilities.


Although video chat has been available for years, until recently it found little traction in contact centres, in large part due to the prohibitive connectivity problems which early video services faced. Now video chat is back, thanks to increased bandwidth and targeted application. When incorporated into an omnichannel solution, video chat empowers contact centre managers with an information-rich form of communication that transforms difficult situations into opportunities to connect with customers. Read on to learn whether adding video chat could help your contact centre provide a better customer experience.

The importance of an omnichannel customer experience

Arthur and Monika are having trouble assembling a new bed for their child. They call the department store contact centre through their video chat channel and show an expert exactly where they got stuck. The expert gives precise instructions, and the couple finishes the bed with ease and with a conviction that the manufacturer is committed to their satisfaction.

When a product breaks (or isn’t working as a customer expects), describing the problem may be difficult, especially for non-experts. Arthur and Monika are unlikely to know the names of the components of the bed they’re assembling, but video chat enables the contact centre agent to see what Monika is pointing to. Agents can also notice details which a caller hasn’t thought to share. (If Arthur attached a piece backwards by mistake, it wouldn’t occur to him to report that.) Agents can also demonstrate on a model what actions a caller should take, and observe whether customers are having trouble with the instructions. Effective use of video chat can save companies and customers time and solve problems which in the past may have caused frustration, and possibly necessitated a costly visit by a technician.

Video chat not only helps contact centres fix problems – it enables new types of customer experience. After finishing the bed, Monika calls the department store again and speaks with their interior designer. The two of them look at her child’s room together and place an order for more furniture. Then they look at her bedroom and order paint, wallpaper, and select a date for a home improvement team to come to their house. Monika and Arthur are benefitting from in-person levels of care without leaving their home, and the department store has achieved additional sales and earned long-term customer loyalty.

How contact centres with video chat build trust

The same video-enabled proximity which bolsters collaboration also increases trust – something of particular importance for sectors such as banking, healthcare and insurance. Alice’s friend was the victim of an online banking hack and is furious at her bank’s poor response. Concerned, Alice contacts her own bank to inquire about their security features. The agent she reaches schedules a video chat, giving Alice the chance to speak face-to-face with one of the bank’s security experts. Alice leaves the chat with the conviction that her bank takes her security – and her peace of mind – seriously. She conveys her experience to her friend, and Alice’s bank gains a new customer.

In 2020, 58% of UK shoppers said they were making more online purchases than before COVID-19. In part, the safety concerns presented by COVID-19 deter people from physically entering shops and public spaces but an insight into shifting shopping preferences suggest, longer-term, there is also the emerging persona of the convenience seeker. Online shopping certainly offers convenience but could the lack of face-to-face interactions be eroding the connections between customers and brands, with negative long-term results. McKinsey looked at the effect of trust on customer experience in banking, and found that “for bank customers, ‘a brand I feel close to’ and ‘a brand that I can trust’ were the top drivers for bank differentiation on customer experience.” With video chat, contact centres provide customers with the best of both worlds: a relationship of convenience and trust.

How contact centres with video chat gain reach

Jonathan is the contact centre manager for a niche insurance company which specialises in insuring hard-to-appraise items such as art, antiques and collectors items. A personal relationship is crucial for their clients. Jonathan knows that certain insurance companies already offer some services, like claim assessment, by video chat. By incorporating video chat into his contact centre he can extend a more personal service to high-value customers from across the globe and keep up with emerging market standards. 

Conducting business over video chat comes with advantages, too. Even if a local business is closer geographically, it’s still further away than a smartphone. Video chat can also be linked to co-browsing capabilities, enabling agents and customers to view and interact with an organisation’s website together. Video chat helps organisations maintain the personal relationships fostered by local branches while growing at the speed of digital. 

Looking around the corner

Video chat is especially appealing to younger generations, who are coming of age in an environment of TikTok, YouTube and other video-based social media. 76% of Generation Z prioritise convenience over brand. UK companies are already using this to connect with customers via the same channels that this demographic chooses to interact with each other. For brands with a large base of younger customers, video chat reaches customers where they are, via a channel that is natural to them, which can set them apart from more conventional competitors with limited capabilities. 

Video chat is a growth area for contact centres. An increasing number of organisations offer video calls, and new possibilities are around the corner. The ability to switch seamlessly between audio and video calls will reduce friction and lead to increased adoption, and for any organisation that provides complex instructions, or benefits from building trust with customers, video chat already provides a decisive edge.

Would you like to find out how Odigo’s Contact Centre as a Service solution can deliver advanced video chat options?

Guillaume Schwoerer
Lead Product Manager at Odigo

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