Using Remote Visual Assistance Software to Optimize Customer Service

The pandemic forced industries to improve their digital solutions in every way, with customer service central to the change. A recent McKinsey study found that organizations using technology to retool their customer experiences saw a 15 percent to 20 percent increase in customer satisfaction, a 20 percent to 40 percent reduction in cost to serve, and a 20 percent rise in conversion rates and growth. But not all digital solutions are created equal. Some take the human element out of customer service, while others slow down processes instead of speeding them up. And many solutions frustrate consumers who are looking for greater immediacy and more complete answers than in the past.

Gartner expects interaction assistance tools to gain above-average value in customer service. For many industries, remote virtual assistance software is a game-changer, empowering customer service teams to communicate more quickly and clearly with customers in need, identifying problems and solving them using the power of merged reality. For a customer, the software initially resembles a video call, and it's just as easy to use. However, the software's capabilities go far beyond that, providing the benefits of an on-site visit without the added time and cost. Adding remote visual assistance software to your team's toolbox can ease tension on both ends of the line, save time for everyone involved, and ensure your service technicians are used to their full potential.

In general, customers with problems get routed through a call management system. They connect with the appropriate customer service representative; then, they spend time explaining an issue and answering questions to help clarify the issue. After that, a few things can happen:

If the service representative manages to diagnose the issue based on the customer's description, the next step could be to explain how to fix it. Suppose that's not an option because of the type of repair required. In that case, the conversation moves on to scheduling an on-site technician to complete the repair, likely the next day, leaving the customer with inadequate service for several hours. When the technician shows up, the customer might have to explain the issue again, depending on how clearly the customer service representative relayed it.

Or, if the service representative cannot identify the issue, the customer might continue to try to explain. Together, the customer and the representative can attempt to troubleshoot the problem. Still, the process relies on them accurately describing images and sounds in ways that make sense to one another.

Remote visual assistance software transforms these exchanges. If you can see the problem, you have a better chance of understanding the customer's needs. The customer can rotate a device to provide additional points of view or offer a closer look at a meter or gauge. So far, that might sound like a video call. The real magic that will make your customer service team feel as if they have superpowers is when they appear to reach through the phone and demonstrate precisely how to fix the problem.

The software makes it possible to bring hands, tools, and other items into view as part of what the customer sees. Service representatives can act out a repair and give immediate feedback as the customer repeats the steps independently. The software also lets users freeze the screen and make annotations to clarify instructions or troubleshoot as the customer and service representative work together. What could have been a frustrating phone call with little resolution becomes a collaborative process with both parties more satisfied. That collaborative feature increases the efficiency of person-to-person customer service interactions, creating greater value for the people who make customer service possible.

Remote visual assistance software isn't about replacing your customer service team, it's about enhancing their abilities.

In many cases, service teams equipped with remote visual assistance software can solve a customer's problem during the call. Teams see a 30 percent reduction in the time required to provide a solution and a 35 percent increase in first-time fix rates. Remotely resolving customer issues reduces the number of on-site visits, saving money and time and freeing up service technicians for calls that demand their expertise.

Service representatives can benefit from the software even when a customer call needs to be escalated to a specialist. In some cases, they can transfer the customer to an expert technician who can guide the repair with a dynamic, remote hands-on interaction far beyond what's possible with a phone call alone. And if an on-site visit is needed to resolve the problem, the service team's previous merged reality sessions will provide a clear record of the issue. That record gives the technician a higher likelihood of a quick, successful repair and a satisfied customer.

Remote visual assistance software makes it easier to deliver the rapid, personalized solutions customers expect, instantly eliminating the distance between a customer in need and an expert with answers. Prioritizing innovative ways to be available means customer service teams can resolve tickets more quickly, and service technicians can complete repairs more efficiently. When you incorporate technology that takes advantage of the knowledge and expertise already present in your team, happier customers and more productive employees will follow.

Gary York is CEO of Help Lightning.