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The widespread adoption of consumer video communication services such as Microsoft Skype, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger or Apple FaceTime has democratized video calling. Together with the development of WebRTC, it created the expectation that video chat can be easily added as an interaction channel for customer engagement and support.

At Vidyo we learned with our customers that video is not yet another channel. Furthermore, treating it like voice or text chat carries the risk of creating an interaction silo, failing to accommodate essential consumer expectations and enterprise cost-effectiveness targets.

Time raises the bar for video engagement

Time has become the currency for many consumers looking for help or trying to buy something conveniently online. Consumers hate being on hold. They often choose their initial channel to communicate based on convenience and immediacy. Video becomes a channel added either to enable a trusted in-person conversation or for showing something live while on a call. This prevalent use case comes with limited tolerance for having to wait or for not being easily and immediately connected to a competent person.

Video interactions tend to be longer. They use video to make the most of pivotal “moments” in a customer’s journey and focus on high-value customers and/or high-value transactions.

The sourcing of associates handling video interactions is an important consideration. When using resources already helping customers, existing service levels must be preserved. Enterprises are often leveraging the option of scheduling video meetings. For high-value interactions, it is possible to connect to remote expert resources of other departments, beyond customer service.

Video needs to be embedded into, not added to, omnichannel

All these considerations mandate the integration of video into the overall enterprise omnichannel strategy. In particular, it requires

  1. Offering video communications in the broader context of all existing touchpoints, including in-person,
  2. Making video an option that can be added to customer interactions taking place on other channels, and
  3. Sourcing associates for video conversations in a way that addresses consumer expectations for immediacy and competency while preserving service levels

It becomes paramount to make a video setup as seamless and as repeatable as possible, ideally as simple as a single click of a button. Video has to be woven in customer processes and workflows and let enterprises brand the experience as well.

Communication Platform as a Service

Today, a platform with a rich set of APIs better enables businesses to customize how video is offered from an engagement standpoint and how it is integrated with existing applications and information systems.

Video is evolving rapidly from being a nice addition to becoming an essential element of an omnichannel customer engagement strategy. Embedding video into customer communications requires video communication Platform as a Service (PaaS) and integrations with the customer service application ecosystem.

Here’s a quick checklist to ensure you’re customers are receiving the highest quality customer engagement possible:

Offer universal access – Regardless of the device used to communicate, and the network used to connect, video services need to always be accessible. Moreover, video usage by consumers is highly correlated with smartphones. It is thus critical the video channel accommodates consumers on the go and let them choose when and where they want to engage.

Ensure it is uneventful – For many new technologies, consumers are willing to accept “good enough” solutions, but video communication is measured using a different yardstick. Derailed attempts to make a video call or the inability to consistently rely on it working have a devastating impact on video usage and adoption. There is a table stake expectation of a predictable and reliable connection.

Make it effortless – Like any customer experience, a video interaction must be effortless. It means that a video connection needs to be as simple as pressing a button. In addition, it needs to be immediate and on the customer’s terms. Many video services are designed to offer zero-wait time.

Brand the experience – In today’s customer’s economy, a brand is defined by the experience it offers. It is critical that all customer interaction channels offer the same branded experience. Two things make video unique though. As an emerging channel, the experience should be customized in the context of what the customer is trying to accomplish. In addition, video interactions are most often offered as part of a broader experience and need to be woven into their workflows.

Provide a seamless engagement – The purpose of a video interaction is to have a quality conversation with a person. Be they knowledge workers or contact center agents, employees have other duties. So the video experience has to be integrated into their workplace. Furthermore, it needs to manage potential employee interruption and maximize access to the broadest pool of talents.

Guarantee a secure and private connection – Adoption of video hinges on a zero-compromise on both security and privacy. Consumers should be put in control and decide if and how they can activate their video channel.

Video brings a unique, personal touch to customer communications. It adds the necessary face-to-face element to omnichannel interactions that is of critical importance in today’s customer centric world.