The health measures linked to the global pandemic have led to a change in the use of digital technology on both the personal and professional sides. Video calling has been one of the most used tools since the arrival of COVID-19. Video conversations have mainly been adopted by companies for teleworking and by individuals to maintain social ties with their close relatives. Beyond these uses, this communication channel is also a new way for brands to innovate in the management of their customer relationships and to expand their service offerings. Video, by humanizing online relationships, offers many advantages to the companies which use it.
1/ The e-commerce boom during and after COVID-19
The COVID-19 health crisis and the social distancing measures taken in a large number of countries have deeply changed habits. Shops, considered as “non-essential” during the confinement episodes, had to temporarily close their stores and lose their customers. This was a difficult year for retailers who, after observing a sharp drop in physical shopping, have also seen a change in consumer purchasing behavior. Indeed, contacts between brands and customers have, for the most part, switched to digital.
The pandemic has led to an acceleration in the digitalization of businesses and a strong enthusiasm for e-commerce. A study conducted by McKinsey shows that COVID-19 has accelerated the digitalization of customer interactions by 3 years on average and the share of digital offerings by 7 years on average.
Another highlight of 2020 concerns the retail sector, which has been able to adapt quickly to the crisis, providing online solutions to compensate for the physical barrier with customers. A large part of the companies have undertaken digital initiatives to meet the new demands and much more quickly than they had thought possible before the crisis. Brands have therefore adapted and moved towards e-commerce in order to generate income, remain competitive and maintain the connection with their customers in the absence of physical stores. In 2020, online retail sales increased by 32.4%. Since the start of the yearn the enthusiasm for e-commerce does not seem to be falling since online retail sales are up 39% in the first quarter of 2021. In conclusion, consumer habits have changed with the pandemic and the use of digital is set to continue in the retail sector.
2/ Video, a new trend in online sales
Now, many products and services are available online which provides interesting advantages such as accessibility, availability and convenience. This significant change in the way we consume has also led to a grater distance between brands and customers. To overcome this, companies have a new goal: create an omnichannel strategy. This consists of providing consumers with a personalized, transparent and fluid experience across all touch points. From a customer’s perspective, this means enabling them to shop anywhere, anytime and on any device while delivering an optimized experience from start to finish. Brands are also seeking to deploy new means and innovative services to re-establish a solid and lasting link with their customers. This is how video has become a key part in customer relations.
For 59% of consumers, it is essential that brands humanize the relationship on the web. Video has proven to be a very effective channel for establishing personalized and human contact. In addition, a BETC Fullsix x Google study highlights that for 55% of consumers surveyed, one of the levers for humanizing relationships is based on video interactions with brand employees. Moreover, before the pandemic, only 21% of European consumers had experienced video calling as part of customer service. Since then, video chat for customer relations has developed considerably and increased by 70% in Europe.
In concrete terms, how does it work?
Most of the brands that have made the choice to integrate video communication into their strategy have implemented tools that allow access to video directly from their websites. For this, several entry points are possible.
- Video window from a chatbox: this is a chatbox for interacting with Internet users. The chatbox offers a video call button that enriches the experience of the conversation. It can be completely personalized with the brand image.
- Custom button: Brands can also offer a custom call button on their entire website, on specific pages or through a customer portal. One click is all it takes to start the video call.
- Directory page: it is also possible to offer a personalized page with a directory of advisers and / or services. This page is used to display the advisers or services available and to start the video call.
- Contact form: finally, for some brands, it is more suitable to offer scheduled video appointments. In this case, they can offer on their websites an appointment form with an availability calendar. The user chooses a meeting time slot and then receives a link that will allow them to start the video call on the chosen time slot.
The operation of the call is very simple for both the company and its customers. Once the functionality is in place on the site, the company’s advisers only need to log into the portal allowing them to receive video calls. On the customer side, a single click is enough to reach a brand advisor by video.
The main advantage of video calling is how it works, since it is accessible to everyone. Indeed, the video call works from any terminal: PC, smartphone or tablet. In addition, many solutions use WebRTC technology which makes the functionality 100% web and available on the main Internet browsers. Thus, no plugin or application download is required to use it.
For the best experience, it is ideal that users (advisers and customers) can mute their microphone or camera at any time and be able to continue browsing the website without interruptions during the call. The experience can be enhanced with features like screen sharing, snapshots or end-of-call satisfaction surveys.
3/ The benefits of video for customer relations
Video is an ideal solution to meet customer expectations. In general, it improves relationships by transposing everything the consumer appreciates from the physical point of sale onto the web (personalized advice, proximity, human contact, etc.).
Increase engagement and conversion
The video allows the customer to have a direct exchange in real time with the brand. This makes it easier for the company to establish and develop a lasting and trusting relationship with its customer. Indeed, video chat gives rise to deeper conversations compared to a simple exchange of emails or phone calls. Also, the use of video can help the advisor to better understand the client’s needs and thus provide the most appropriate response. Therefore, the ability to visually interact and use both verbal and non-verbal communication increases customer engagement, and thus, correlatively, the likelihood of purchase.
Differentiate from competitors and maintain customer loyalty
Still little offered by brands, video conversation is an interesting digital experience to stand out from its competitors and benefit from an innovative and dynamic brand image.
In addition, integrating video calling into its website enables the interactive and visual experience initially experienced in-store to be recreated online. Customers benefit from the same quality of advice and listening while benefiting from the flexibility of distancing. With the video, it is possible to view the products, get a demonstration and interact with an advisor from home. In addition, according to the Webhelp study, 27% of European consumers said they would switch to a different brand if that brand offered video chat as an additional tool.
Humanize the customer relationship and strengthen customer satisfaction
The proximity conferred by video allows brands to combine human and long-distance relationships. During a video call, the emotional dimension is more felt and companies show more empathy towards their customers. This generates an enhanced feeling of satisfaction among consumers.
Video can also help calm situations of dissatisfaction or frustration. When interacting with a customer, if the company detects dissatisfaction, they can offer a video appointment to provide answers more simply and deal with the problem more quickly. In this way, the company maximizes its chances of re-establishing a climate of trust with its customer.
The use of video can also, in some cases, save time. On the brand side, video chat is useful in optimizing problem resolution times, reducing the likelihood of a customer coming back to the company with additional questions and therefore increasing productivity. Conversely, customers save time by being assisted by an advisor in finding a product, solving a problem, finding information, etc.
The digital habits adopted by consumers during the period of health crisis are bound to persist over time. Likewise, video has become a powerful lever for brands and will continue to develop through different use cases. The companies that focus on it first will be the most likely to get quantifiable results. If you are interested in integrating video into your business strategy, we would be happy to help. Our real-time video solutions will allow you to deploy a rich omnichannel experience for your customers.
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