What are you talking about?
“Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?” Does anyone remember this Verizon commercial from the 2000s? While the intent of the video was to show that Verizon had wide cellular coverage across the United States, it makes me think about the painful experiences I’ve had when I had no idea what my friends or family were trying to tell me.
Now imagine they’re asking you for help with their computer, except they’re not tech-savvy and their computer won’t turn on. What do you do?
- Ask a bunch of questions until you figure out what they’re saying?
- Have them send you photos or videos of what they’re looking at?
- Start a video chat with you so you can see what they’re talking about?
- Meet somewhere at some other time, so you can take a look?
Most of the time, I have no clue what they’re talking about. And it’s painful to try to figure it out while on the phone and not being able to see what they’re looking at. If I can help them in person, that would be the least painful way for me, but it’s also very troublesome to arrange schedules and meeting locations, and basically impossible if they’re not even in my geographical location.
Doing a blind Q&A session over the phone can be tedious and annoying. So the easiest and most efficient way would be to use video chat, or at the very least a video recording or photo if I can’t deal with it at this very moment.
Knowing is half the battle
Now imagine if it was your job to help customers and you do this many times a day. And imagine your company only uses email, phone, or chat to provide support to customers. How easy do you consider it to be? Would you be able to help solve their problems quickly? How happy would your customers be if it takes a long time to figure out what they’re talking about?
The problem is that just figuring out what the problem is in the first place often takes more than half the time spent, and it’s exacerbated when customers don’t know what their problem actually is or don’t know how to describe the problem. But if you can quickly figure out what the problem is, then you would be able to offer the correct steps to resolve it.
Unfortunately, many companies are still solving customer problems the old-fashioned way, by asking a lot of questions and guessing what the problem is. They then tell customers to go through a series of pre-scripted steps to see if that solves their issue. If it doesn’t solve their issue, they pass them on to someone else who might be able to help them (aka “escalations”). This gets repeated over and over again until either the problem gets solved, or the customer gives up and stops responding. Either way, this issue eventually gets marked as “closed”, whether or not the problem ends up getting solved.
The time for video is now
The solution is to leverage video or visual-based tools, whether that’s real-time video, video recordings, photos, screen sharing, or other tools. Anything that can help the business see what their customers are seeing would help the overall customer experience. It’s the next best thing to be there in person.
Before the internet became mainstream, the primary way to get remote help was with the use of the telephone, or worse, by mailing letters. The internet started becoming mainstream with the launch of the Netscape web browser in 1994-1995. Hotmail launched in 1996 and consumer email started taking off. With more and more consumers using email, businesses soon had to find ways of managing support requests through email.
Zendesk finally launched in 2007, but initially had a tough time getting investors to believe that the help desk market was large enough (Zendesk’s 2021 revenue exceeded $1.3 billion). 2007 also saw the launch of the iPhone, with Android coming shortly behind. As touchscreen smartphones became more mainstream, consumers started to send text and chat messages in increasing volume, pushing chat-based support into the mainstream. The 2010s saw the rise of consumer live-streaming apps like Snapchat, Instagram Stories, Facebook Live, Tiktok, and Twitch, amongst others.
And then 2020 happened.
The global pandemic forced the general population to adopt video conferencing tools like never before. People who traditionally never used video tools started using them every day. The pandemic forever changed the expectations of regular consumers.
- Video usage on Twilio increased more than 350% in 2020.
- 79% of companies report they now use video communications with customers.
- Video chat is now the 2nd most added new channel for Enterprises.
Video is the future of customer experience
Video-based tools are here to stay. Businesses that want to keep up with the times and provide a great customer experience need to look into adopting video-based tools. Consumers have gotten used to using video tools and their expectations on how they get serviced will continue to increase into the new normal. There are a variety of tools available for businesses to try, including:
- Video conferencing (Zoom, Skype)
- Screenshare on desktop (Zoom, TeamViewer)
- Screen recording (Loom, Vidyard)
- Visual support tools like Viewabo
In the near future, customers won’t be asking “Can you hear me now?” Instead, they’ll be asking “Can you see it now?” And hopefully, most businesses will be able to answer “Yes, I can see it now.”