The art of creating a visual experience for customers has been mastered by in-store experts designing showrooms and displays and by Web teams developing innovative ways to show products and information to customers on desktop and mobile devices. Companies invest heavily in these experiences because they know it means more closed sales, more satisfied customers, and better brand reputation. But one key area where the power of multimedia is often neglected is in the online customer service experience.
A natural enhancement to such traditional channels as phone, email, and live chat, the addition of multimedia elements to the customer service process can have a significant effect on customer satisfaction, first contact resolution rates, and the speed of issue handling.
Visual Service Assets
From a self-service standpoint, companies today have a multitude of options to enhance such text-based resources as Q&As, forums, and knowledge bases with multimedia content. Many companies today use video, interactive elements, 360-degree rotating images, and other visual-based technologies to show customers how to do something or solve a problem on their own, versus relying on text and written cues to help walk them through something.
Not only do these multimedia tools create a better customer experience with higher satisfaction rates, but self-service is also traditionally much less costly than live help channels such as voice and chat, making it easy to justify investing in assets that enhance these tools in a way that accomplishes resolution more often.
Social media for customer service is another way of being exactly when and where your customers need you. This is a channel in which multimedia elements can be leveraged not just as a customer service tool, but as an integrated component of a larger social strategy. Imagine a customer has posted a question to a corporate Facebook page, looking for help in configuring a home audio system. Instead of sending a manual or offering to call and walk him through it, the social customer service team provides a link to a video tutorial showing exactly how to configure the system, while at the same time showcasing the product for the entire social community, encouraging sharing, and resulting in a positive public reaction from the original customer.
Having access to customer service-specific multimedia assets is a critical component of a smart corporate social media strategy for this reason.
We see a great example of multimedia customer service in action with Amazon's Mayday Button for its Kindle Fire. The ability to present a live agent via video feed has proven to be a successful alternative to an in-store support experience, such as the ones Apple and Microsoft offer with their brick-and-mortar locations. Amazon doesn't need a single physical location to provide the same personal, thorough assistance as an Apple Genius, because customers can access this visual experience from wherever they are, whenever they need it.
While most contact centers today aren't set up to leverage video chatting technology, even utilizing a photo of an agent whom a customer is chatting with live makes a big difference in improving personalization of the interaction. This visual element engenders more trust and engagement than a standard chat or voice interaction alone.
Perhaps the best way to use a visual experience to provide better customer service is by cobrowsing with customers. Cobrowsing creates a shared experience between a customer and an agent, getting them on the same page, literally, in seconds. Instead of explaining over the phone or in a chat conversation where the customer should navigate to next, what to click, or what to do to solve his issue, a cobrowsing agent can guide the customer through any process quickly and efficiently.
A recent Aberdeen study found that cobrowsing also impacts revenue per call, enabling reps to naturally and organically suggest new products, complementary offerings, extended warranties, and more. Like video chatting, and especially when utilized with video chatting, cobrowsing creates an experience very similar to working with a company representative in person. All the assisted selling techniques that sales professionals utilize in an in-store scenario work just as well in an online scenario when this technology is implemented.
Whether customers are utilizing visually enhanced self-service tools, engaging with a brand's multimedia assets via social media, viewing a live agent during a voice or chat interaction, or cobrowsing in real time with a customer support representative, multimedia customer service provides a strong edge for companies looking to provide an exceptional and differentiated support experience.
As director of marketing for LiveLOOK, Michelle Brusyo plays a key role in bringing innovative customer engagement technologies to companies looking for ways to improve the online customer experience. She often participates in industry Webinars and events and is the voice of LiveLOOK's monthly Webinar series on customer service topics. She has more than a decade of experience in technology marketing, having previously worked with the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and boutique search engine marketing company Digital Brand Expressions. For more information, go to www.livelook.com.