Transforming the Support CX with Video


Transforming the Support CX with Video

The COVID-19 pandemic forced centralized contact centers to distribute their operations – that’s the democratic way to say it, anyway. In reality, businesses everywhere scrambled to outfit their employees’ homes with the technology they needed to both shelter-in-place and continue providing excellent customer support.

Three years later, it has become clear that remote work is here to stay. Contact centers are transforming what was once, perhaps, a band-aid approach into a fully realized novel way to work.

Remote video technology has proven a valuable part of that transformation. It has the unique ability to support remote workers and improve customer satisfaction overall.

Let’s take a look at why customer support work-from-home (WFH) models make sense – and how remote video technology can make them work even better.

Working from Home Is Here To Stay

Although some reports indicate that remote work is declining, my staff helps contact centers invest in technology to support full-time and hybrid remote workers every day. Indeed, the 2022 BLS Occupational Requirements Survey shows that more than 20% of customer service representatives have the option to telework.

Why? Our clients usually cite a few reasons.

First, productivity is up, which is reflected in numerous studies showing that remote workers accomplish more than their office-bound counterparts.

Second, remote and hybrid options appeal to customer service/customer experience (CS/CX) employees who are looking for flexibility and work-life balance. At a time when labor market dynamics remain tight, recruitment and retention are key – and the importance of flexibility cannot be overstated.

Third, it makes financial sense. It can cost between $2,500 and $10,000 per workstation to outfit a contact center. In industries where high-level support means dispatching field technicians, truck rolls are expensive, and often inefficient. But with the right technology many issues that required boots on the ground can be resolved remotely: for less.

Solving Troubleshooting Challenges, Enabling Collaboration

Although there are many benefits to WFH, there are also downsides. Remote video technology can help alleviate some of these while creating new advantages.

Poor Technology Experience → More Effective Troubleshooting

One of the most obvious challenges of WFH life is that technology can be limited: and the IT department is no longer down the hall.

At the beginning of the pandemic, employees were distracted by things like poor audio quality, Wi-Fi connectivity issues, and problems with new software.

At this point, most companies have helped employees resolve these issues, but there is no need to stop there. Remote video technology can help contact center employees do a better job.

In the past, contact center employees had to rely on audio only, listening to a customer describe a problem that they very often don’t have the words to describe. But a video input changes everything. Now customer support employees can see what the customer sees and get to the root of the issue faster.

One of the most obvious challenges of WFH life is that technology can be limited: and the IT department is no longer down the hall.

The best remote video technology comes with special features that go beyond a simple video call.

  • App-free technology. This allows customers to hop on a video call without having to go through the hassles of downloading, registering, and logging into an app from the app or play store. Introducing yet another app to an already frustrated customer often exacerbates the situation.
  • Augmented reality (AR). This allows agents to use the customer’s own phone to see what they are seeing. They can annotate directly on the customer’s device as well as use pointer tools to help navigate customers through complex problems.
  • Optical character capture. At some point, a contact center employee is going to ask a customer for a long string of numbers – a serial number, a model number, a part number, etc. This feature can grab those numbers and deliver them to your employee, saving time and reducing the risk of errors.
  • Resolution data and artificial intelligence (AI). Videos, images, chats, and transcripts from calls can be automatically saved for future reference. And with the help of AI, employees can be prompted to review calls that successfully resolved similar problems.

All of this leads to more effective troubleshooting and faster problem-solving.

Deteriorating Working Relationships → New Opportunities for Collaboration and Training

Remote workers can feel that their working relationships suffer. For example, when coworkers aren’t present, that “energy in the room” collaboration isn’t possible. And when employees and managers aren’t in the same physical space, employees can feel a lack of support.

In the office, an employee can reach out to a coworker or supervisor to quickly get help with a complex problem. At home, this isn’t always possible, leading to increased escalations and hold times, which is frustrating for employees and customers alike.

Video technology can help bring coworkers together with one-on-one or group calls. Features that allow for silent participants make it easy for others to hop on a call to lend support without interrupting the exchange with a customer. As a bonus, this feature is also great for training purposes, letting trainees observe real-world support and resolution.

A Sense of Isolation → Empathetic Communication, Increased Customer Satisfaction

Many workers find the quiet solitude of their own home office boosts their productivity more than the noise of a contact center, but you can have too much of a good thing.

Many of us took our so-called water cooler talk for granted before the pandemic. But the workplace is, ultimately, a social environment and we humans are social creatures. According to one report, 50% of remote workers felt lonely at least once per week, and 19% cited “isolation” as their number one problem.

Remote video technology can help employees feel less isolated by creating genuine connections with customers – something that is rarely possible in a traditional contact center environment, where most work is done with an earpiece and keyboard.

The secret is visual empathy. Remote video technology allows face-to-face communication between customers and employees. Several recent studies show that such communication sparks brain activity – called neural synchronization – that makes people feel more connected, cooperative, and engaged.

It works the other way, too. Visual empathy helps customers feel cared for by a real person. This is huge when you think about how 80% of people say high-quality call experiences turn them into repeat customers.

Remote video technology can help employees feel less isolated by creating genuine connections with customers – something that is rarely possible in a traditional contact center environment…

A visual connection builds trust, keeps frustrations from boiling over, and increases customer patience. All of this reduces the friction of a call (good for your employees’ morale) and increases first-call resolutions while decreasing average handle times and escalation rates (good for your bottom line).

What To Look For in Remote Video Technology Provider

Not all remote video technology is the same. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when choosing a video technology partner.

  • Does the video technology save time? If the technology does not come with additional features – such as AR and optical character capture – that tangibly improve workflows, you might as well be using a video conferencing app. Effective video technology for contact centers offers more than just a video call.
  • Is the video technology easy for customers and employees to use? This includes a user-friendly interface and, ideally, no app downloads or installations.
  • Video technology is relatively new, and you don’t want to create any additional barriers for customers. The experience should be as seamless as possible. The same goes for your employees. They don’t need another tool to log into. Make sure your remote video technology can seamlessly integrate with your current workflow software.
  • Does the video technology offer flexible support? The best video technology adjusts to the customer’s needs. There are the on-screen tools, yes, but the product should also automatically adjust call bandwidth based on location and internet strength. If a customer is in a remote location with spotty cell service, they should be able to hop on Wi-Fi and continue the call.

Remember, video technology isn’t just a way for remote workers to achieve the same KPIs as office workers. It’s an opportunity to improve customer satisfaction scores, particularly when it comes to saving time, reducing hassle, and offering flexible support options – on both sides of the screen.

Case Study: Remote Video Technology in a Real WFH Situation

Andreas Willhoff leads the tech department at Rancilio North America, a leading espresso machine manufacturer. His team is responsible for helping both end users and field technicians troubleshoot issues with the company’s espresso machines, which are notoriously complex feats of engineering made more complex by the automation and software new models employ.

He’s been working remotely since the pandemic began, and his department adopted remote video technology about a year ago.

“It has solved so many problems,” said Willhoff. “For example, if there is an issue with milk delivery, I don’t need to rely on the tech describing what he sees. We can hop on video, I can see the issue and know what’s going on, and point out how to fix it right on the phone.”

Espresso techs work across all manufacturers, and each manufacturer has a slightly different design and different naming conventions. “Video technologies help resolve language barriers,” explained Willhoff.

It also helps with training. “The video technology helps employees see the inside of the machines,” said Willhoff, “which is helpful before you’ve memorized all the schematics or when you’re dealing with a very old model that predates our documentation system.”

The techs appreciate the technology, too. “More than once, after we’ve resolved a problem, a tech has told me how cool the technology is,” said Willhoff. “They like that they don’t have to download an app and it works right on their phone. They ask me why all manufacturers don’t use it.”

“I talk to some technicians nearly weekly, especially when they are one of the only espresso tech in a region,” he added, “and it’s been nice to put faces to names.”

Rama Sreenivasan

Rama Sreenivasan is co-founder and CEO of Blitzz, a live, remote video support and inspection platform. Sreenivasan has led the company through its initial inception, launch, and subsequent growth to several million video support minutes per month. Major customers include BMW, Sealy, Fedex, and Rogers.