One of the most fascinating contact center trends over the past five years has been the interest around providing consumer support through video-chat. This has been playing out in different ways, but one thing is clear; forward-looking contact center outsourcers must embrace this communication technology, while recognizing that it will remain a niche channel in the broader channel discussion, at least in the near term.
What was once the nebulous stuff of science-fiction films, video-chat has become a staple of everyday consumer lives. With platforms as diverse as Skype, Facebook and Google providing the capability to speak with friends and colleagues anywhere in the world through video, many enterprises are not letting this differentiating opportunity go to waste. In fact, this year’s Dimension Data Benchmark Survey indicates that by the end of 2016, roughly one-third of enterprises will be deploying video-chat as a means of consumer interaction. However, while this channel is understandably growing, vendors of contact center services need to be wary of a number of potentially limiting factors related to video, prior to embarking on wide-scale video chat deployments.
One of the biggest considerations around video as a channel relates to its vertical applicability; this is not a medium that most consumers will use for routine questions across industries. Rather, the sectors most likely to be early adopters of video-chat include those in which a heavy number of end-users initiate contact due to technical support needs, potentially as diverse as walking a homeowner through a DIY repair to showing a frustrated consumer how to fix a piece of technology hardware. Equally, there is significant opportunity for video chat in higher-end financial services, in which developing a personal rapport with an investment counsellor or insurance representative can enhance long-term loyalty. Health care providers in many parts of the world are also taking advantage of video as a means of providing enhanced telehealth services.
Another issue that outsourcers need to consider when deploying video-chat as a channel is recruitment. While it is certain that more consumers are gravitating to this medium, what is less clear is the extent to which contact center agents will want to be seen by the individuals they are supporting. Thus, vendors that have not yet done so should anticipate the need to develop a detailed video-chat agent profile, in order to avoid heavy degrees of representative churn, due to uncertain recruitment choices. The costs involved in client branding for video-chat, isolated studios for service delivery free of both visual and audio distractions, as well as data protection are also overheads that outsourcers should consider in advance of a major video-chat service push.
The ability to adapt to new contact center channels has been the differentiator between strategically-minded outsourcers and those that take a more reactive approach. It is obvious that video-chat is here to stay, and realistic planning can help vendors target the right prospects by industry, the ideal agent profile and optimize costs. This will result in better end-user/client loyalty and a more diverse front-office delivery revenue stream for the service vendor.