In 2013, Amazon released the Fire tablet, their answer to the Apple iPad. One of the most distinctive features about the Fire range was the “Mayday” button. This button allowed the tablet user to click a single button and immediately start a live video chat with an agent from Amazon.
At the time, this unique feature was widely seen as far ahead of normal customer service expectations. Not only did Amazon make it very easy to get help by creating the Mayday button concept, they also used video to make the customer experience more personal, creating a stronger bond between the customer and brand. Amazon very recently phased out the Mayday system. They said that their advances with the Echo system show that for most basic support questions their automated systems are providing a satisfactory level of support so they don’t need to maintain the agent video system.
However, this is just one example of how video changed support expectations. Amazon is a special case because they not only proved the value of using video support, but they also now have the Echo system within their own corporate ecosystem as an alternative. The Echo sold over 22 million units last year and it is estimated that over 50 million are installed in just the US market alone, so it’s becoming an important tool for customer support all over the world.
Many other brands are leveraging on the Amazon experience of video chat as a support tool and actively exploring how it can sit alongside other customer support channels; Samsung is a good example. Their customer care centers feature secure video chat areas so customers who prefer to see the agent they are speaking to in real-time can do so. T-Mobile allows customers calling for support to see the person helping them using the video call option inside iMessage.
In addition, Instagram recently launched a live video chat option. Most commentators are talking about the service as a way for users to connect to friends using video in virtual spaces, bringing people together even if they are not physically present. However, I believe that many small and medium-sized companies will see this as an opportunity to support customers using video from their main Instagram page.
But customer support using a smartphone and camera does not always require the customer to be interacting with an agent. It can also be the customer that is doing the streaming to a service provider. Insurance is a great example of an industry that is really taking advantage of the fact that most customers now have a phone with a good camera and Internet connection. Generali car insurance is a good example. They allow customers to live stream video after an automobile accident, record damage, and document the circumstances immediately. The customer can follow up with images of repairs to complete the claim process.
I believe that we will soon be seeing many more brands exploring these options. Almost every customer today has the ability to take photos, video, and stream images live. This can give them a better connection to a contact center by letting them see the agent that is helping out, but it also opens new possibilities for the customer to share live video information with the brand. The possibilities for how this could change some services are endless.
Let me know what you think about some of the ways that live video can be used in the customer support environment by leaving a comment here or get in touch via my LinkedIn.