Why Video is the Untapped Jewel to Greatly Enhance Your Customers’ Experience
We created this newsletter in partnership with Streem.
Have you ever used the word “doohickey” or “thingymajig” in a call with a contact center? I have. I didn’t know what the whatchamacallit was, but I knew it wasn’t working. Unfortunately, the expert at the contact center didn’t know what the doodad I described was either, so we were at an impasse. We needed a better way to communicate.
We recently had a guest on the podcast who has a solution for situations like these. Jóhann Hannesson, Lead Product Manager and the head of Web Development at Streem, says that video could be the missing link between your customer and the expert in the contact center. Seeing the whatsit on screen might mean the expert can help the customer faster. (And seeing us on screen might make this topic more fun. Watch The Intuitive Customer YouTube Channel here.)
I could have used this in a recent exchange with Delta. I had a flight canceled, and my replacement routed me through Boston, which I wasn’t excited about. Online I found a flight with the same fare that routed through Atlanta. However, I couldn’t book it myself and had to call an agent. They didn’t find the flight for the same fare as I did. They wanted an additional $500 for the fare difference. I told them the online fare was different, but they sounded skeptical. I thought, wouldn’t it be great if I could show them on my screen so they would know I was an honest bloke?
If we had a video option to communicate, the entire experience would have been better for both sides of the call—and I would have the flight I wanted on an upcoming trip. Video can be the untapped jewel of your experience design.
The video is excellent for these situations because it allows the customers and contact center teams to work together on the problem. If the contact center or tech support relies on a customer, who is not an expert, to relay the details of the problem, there could be communication failures (I’ll refer you to the nonsense words above). The video takes this imbalance out of the equation. Also, it facilitates communication by allowing two people to look at each other and the problem together and collaborate on a solution.
Hannesson says contact centers can have what feels a bit adversarial to their setup. For example, in support experiences, the employee questions the customer about the problem, gently challenging the facts. Why? The employee wants to understand the real problem, which may or may not be what the customer is saying it is.
For example, have you ever called tech support for IT and had them ask you if you turned on the technology in question? The question can feel insulting if that isn’t the problem. However, tech support starts there because it is ruling out some of the more straightforward solutions to determine if the problem is real or not.
Hannesson says Streem allows contact centers to bypass that authentication experience and quickly gets to the real problem. Instead, a link goes to the customer to hop on a video call with support. Then, the two can look at the situation and work together on a solution.
Some support situations where this works exceptionally well are with an outdoor grill or an eBike. With the video call, the customer can show the tech the “real” problem with the thingamabob down by the whatnot.
As a result, organizations no longer rely on customers’ technical understanding, which can be challenging for non-expert customers. In addition, customers are no longer negotiating facts—and getting frustrated—with the company.
I have another example where this could have helped me. I wanted to install a rear-facing camera on my car, but I didn’t want the cable to interfere with the liftgate. In my phone conversation, I had a hard time communicating my concerns. With a video call, I could have shown the company what I meant.
Video feels like a natural next step for contact centers. Not only does it smooth out these friction-ridden experiences on the phone, but it could also save organizations a lot of money.
For example, expenses related to sending an engineer to a customer site at British Telecom would have decreased. When I worked there, the cost of a phone call into a call center was £3 to £5 (or about $3 to $5). The cost of sending an engineer to a customer site was about £40 ($40). If the engineers brought the wrong part and went to see the customer, that’s a lot of money wasted. A video call that confirms the part needed could have prevented expenses like this one.
Hannesson says most of Streem’s customers realize these cost savings through first-time resolution or avoiding a truck call altogether. However, it saves customers money, too.
Hannesson says video enhances the quality of life for folks involved here and streamlines the process while saving customers and the organization money. For example, he says that often the technician has common parts on the truck when they go out for a service call, but not everything. Suppose the problem involves one of those parts, then great. However, if the technician comes out and spends $100 of their time, which is $100 of the customers’ money, to find out the problem, then returns to fix it, they rack up more charges.
Streem allows the employee to have the customer move the phone up to where the part is and tap a button. Streem’s product then takes a screenshot from the phone with the Part ID number or barcode they can look up. The employee might be able to mail the part to the customer or send it to the technician on the first trip. As a result, the company saves money, the customer saves money, and everyone enjoys a shortened repair or service cycle.
The Psychology of Video
In addition to providing a higher level of information, there are other reasons we humans like video. Video facilitates communication. We like looking at another person when we talk to them.
It creates an interpersonal rapport that isn’t possible over the phone. Plus, it facilitates all the nonverbal communication we use in our daily interactions.
Hannesson agrees that video enhances the communication between people, adding that it also elevates the employee experience at the contact center. For example, Streem’s eBike client noticed that call times in the contact center went up significantly once they employed Streem’s product. This increase triggered an inquiry.
The eBike company learned that the expert on the call was using that time to have a showroom-style bike session with the folks calling in. The experts loved it because it felt like the customers were with them, and they could share experiences and anecdotes, making a personal connection. Before, they might have received the call, run through the script, hit the checkbox, and moved on to the next call.
So, employee satisfaction was high because the employees felt they could provide excellent customer service and build relationships with customers. Their employee for the contact center Net Promoter Score® was in the 90s.
Other Streem clients have also found benefits of video. For example, responding to in-person service calls with available technicians has been challenging with the post-pandemic labor crunch. So, streamlining that process and eliminating the need for some in-person calls has been helpful for response times for these companies. A boiler company in the UK could increase their sales quotes for boiler installs by 200 percent because they didn’t have to go on site. Instead, they could see the video, do an assessment, and create the quote. It was a colossal cycle time improvement. In addition, fewer people can do more work, which is helpful for companies fighting for talent in a thin talent market.
Video also enables direct feedback from customers. Hannesson says that after using video for a while, it was clear that some common problems existed. This data allows organizations to build a strategy for handling these situations efficiently and effectively.
For example, American Home Shield had this experience. They use Streem for the majority of their warranty claim support cases. Using video for their assessments, Hannesson says American Home Shield eliminated repeat home visits on 70 percent of their calls, a massive reduction. Also, they resolve ten percent of their calls without an on-site visit. These calls required cleaning something, making a minor adjustment, or doing a hard reset, which contact center agents could handle on the video call.
So, What Should You Do with This Information?
There are a few practical things an organization can do with this advice. First, start small. Hannesson says that many companies have a good idea of what (expensive) problems lend themselves to video resolution based on the escalation in the contact center because more information is needed. Next, look for employees in the contact center who can help identify times when seeing the customer’s problem would enable swift resolution and the questions necessary for triage. This approach gives you a starting point and makes it easier to train with the new video solution. Finally, once people gain comfort and experience some wins with the contact center video technology, the employees can expand the use cases for the video calls.
This technology is the kind that I like to see. It isn’t technology just for technology’s sake or a new toy. It’s a practical solution to a real business problem. If a video can solve challenges that improve efficiency and customer and employee experience, it is worth a look.
There’s never a time when building a relationship with customers will be a bad thing for an organization. Video can be that facilitator. By seeing your customers, solving their problems, and providing excellent service that you couldn’t over the phone, you are bound to have great things happen.
If you have a business problem that you would like some help with, contact me on LinkedIn or submit your pickle here. We would be glad to hear from you and help you with your challenges.