Aurus Blog

This blog is to share our expertise in Cisco UCM, UCCX/UCCE and Cisco Telepresence.

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Video Chat – the Wrong Name for a Contact Center Channel

RichCall - video chat and live support for contact centersHave you already seen the 2016 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report Summary by Dimension Data? Almost a third of contact centers plan to deploy the "Video Chat" channel within 1 year.

I'll put my comments on this figure in the next post, but in this one I want to talk about the terminology. The thought I want to share today is this – the "Video Chat" is the completely wrong and obsolete name for the channel we're talking about.

It's not about the "video" and it's not about the "chat", it's about Live Online Assistance. Now, a bit more in details…

Where did the "Video Chat" came from?

Back in the 2000s the contact center industry adopted the text chat technology that provides online assistance to users of a website. This software typically consists of a text box on the website and an operator console, which allows contact center agents to respond to the chat. There are several names used for this channel, like "live help", "live support" etc but the most useful ones are "live chat" or "web chat". This is where the "chat" came from.

Now, what about the "video"? As far as I remember the "Video in Contact Center" topic was started about 4-5 years ago when several world leaders in communication solutions started making bets on business video. At the same time (in May 2011) Google released an opensource project for browser-based communication known as WebRTC.

As it often happens, some vendors decided to merge these two hot trends to introduce the super-killer-feature. They failed because you cannot mix the text chat with voice communications in contact center (some agents speak well but have poor writing skills while the other ones are vice versa). But since then we have the "video chat" channel. And as I said earlier…

…it's not about the "video" and it's not about the "chat"

You can find a lot of marketing texts about the body language and the video increasing trust and confidence. Rubbish. The PURE video in contact center is still a solution looking for a problem (Dimension Data) and the technology that searches for relevance in the contact center (No Jitter).

It's not about the chat either – you will hardly type something when you can say that (except rare text messages with credit card numbers, various IDs, emails, addresses etc).

What really matters is the Live Online Assistance

My point is that the most important part of the "video chat" are web-collaboration options like co-browsing, application and screen sharing, remote control. These are the features used in real life examples, like:

  • customer support
  • sales support
  • IT troubleshooting

Can the videocall without the web-collaboration improve FCR? Or reduce the abandonment rate? Or minimize the channel escalation? Not sure.

But, I can easily imagine:

  • an agent guiding a website visitor through the complex online process,
  • a sales person pushing product photos and videos to new client,
  • a consultant performing tech support with app sharing and remote control features.

Co-Browsing in the Contact Center – the Details Matter

RichCall - video chat and live support for contact centersThe new version of Aurus RichCall product provides the co-browsing option that allows contact center agent to see the client's browser window (while talking with him on phone) and use the "pointer" to instruct him on what to do. This allows agent to better understand the context of the client's issue and solve it appropriately.

Before starting the co-browsing development we interviewed our clients interested in this option to analyze their business cases and develop exactly those features needed to fit their requirements.

You may be interested in learning what real clients want from the co-browsing option. Below are some of the requirements that we had to meet.

No Downloads

Of course no downloads for the customer. The client must be able to start the co-browsing session instantly. No apps, no Java, no browser plug-ins.

Client Controls the Action

Service reps should not be able to make mouse clicks or keyboard entries in the client's browser. The agent must have the ability to see what happens and point (see "The Pointer" below) the client what to do but not to interact with him on the same page.

The "Pointer"

Though the agent cannot interfere with customer actions, he must be able to draw the customer attention to certain areas of the page:

  • "Please click this button..."
  • "Here is the section with the info you need…"

We call it "the Pointer" tool – an arrow that appears in the customer browser on top of the main content.

Secure Pages Support

The co-browsing session must support secure pages (the ones that require client's login). When we interviewed our clients, only two of them reported their need to guide visitors around public pages to help them find products or other public info. The rest want to support their clients in working with the secure online self-service tools, which require user's authentication.

Starting the Co-Browsing Session by Code

The client is not required to make an online call, or to be in a chat with the agent to start the co-browsing session. Even if the client has made a regular phone call to the contact center, he must be able to enhance it with the co-browsing session if (and when) he needs it. With Aurus RichCall the agent may generate the unique 5-digits code and say it to the client who then uses it to initiate the co-browsing.

Mobile Browser Support

The co-browsing feature should support mobile browsers and provide the same functionality ("pointer", secure pages support etc).

Video in Contact Center – Why? For Whom? How?

According to the "Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report 2015" by Dimension Data the number of video-enabled contact centers is going to rise threefold in 2016.

Who adds video-channel to the contact center and why? Guys from Aurus, a software vendor offering video chat solution for contact centers, shared with me some info about their customers.

The first question they ask everyone asking to try their software is "Why?". So, the stats is:

Now, in details…

Video to improve the company's image

One of ten companies interested in video channel is going to enable video call service on their website as a part of the company's image building. By doing this they send messages like:

  • "We're a modern company and we follow the trends in the client servicing. So you can be sure our products are also built with top-notch technologies."
  • "We're rich enough to equip our contact center with special workplaces and hire good-looking contact center agents. So you can trust us."

Sometime video call is only available for VIP clients and then the message is "We really value you and your money".

These companies pay a lot of attention to the client interface - high-quality video of the agent, branded UI and so on.

Video to higher sales

RichCall - video chat and live support for contact centers This is where video becomes optional and may be replaced with a good photo of the agent, but the features that come to the fore are:

  • co-browsing – to help the client find the right info on the website and assist him with the payment process,
  • pushing product images and videos – to convince the customer to buy,
  • text chat – to provide the client with product spec, shop addresses, agreement templates etc.

The important note is that this approach only works when the products are quite unique and the company is ready to spend as much time as required to get a new client. For example, you can talk as much as needed about your jewelry or sofa or car to persuade the client to buy. But you cannot afford that if you're, say, a travel agency – you won't spend half an hour talking about your offer to Bora Bora, knowing that after you finish the customer will start surfing the net for the cheapest option.

Video for better support

Yeh, this is the leader of "live assist" use cases. The video is not required at all and web-collaboration features become critical ones:

  • text chat supporting images and files,
  • co-browsing that works in those spaces that require user authentication,
  • app sharing with annotations,
  • screen snap shots,
  • mobile SDK (remember the Amazon MayDay hype?).

Providing remote experts with the web-collaboration tools may significantly improve the time to resolution indicator.

Another important feature is the ability to add the web-collaboration session on the fly to any phone initiated customer support call. This increases the first call resolution rate.