For the past decade, Enterprises have used video to avoid travel. The videoconferencing impact on transportation is such that Scientific American dedicated an article on its effects reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Lately, enterprises have started to revisit how they can leverage video. In a world ruled by the customer experience, they are finding video can fulfill the strategic mission of enabling high-quality, face-to-face, interactions.

Balancing self-service and automation

Customer Service organizations are continually being asked to improve their operating costs and as a result they are turning to self-service and automation. If these technologies cannot effectively address the modern customer’s desire for convenience, they can often backfire. Consumers can easily become frustrated, feeling stuck dealing with a machine when they really want the personal touch of a real-time interaction.

Help required

Although consumers can call to get help, long wait times, rigidly scripted processes, and the uncertainty of being able to get to a competent associate are making customers reluctant to use the phone. This trend is striking when looking at a Dimension Data survey of channel preferences by age group that finds while the telephone is the channel of choice for people 35 years and older, it drops to fourth choice for the Millennial generation. Many companies have turned to chat to provide assistance, either for websites or inside mobile applications. A Forrester consumer survey1shows a rapid increase of chat usage from less than 38 percent in 2009 to 65 percent in 2015. However, chat is limited and can usually only address simple questions. In addition, the experience remains transactional and can sometimes be spoiled either by agent multitasking or ineffective bots.

Enters Video

Meanwhile, the usage of video communications keeps on growing. Video usage on mobile devices grew practically 10 fold from 2011 to 2016 according to eMarketer2. Enterprises of all sizes are now revisiting the advantages of video for customer engagement and are finding it a great communication channel for high-value customers or high-value transactions. BluCurrent Credit Union recently witnessed the benefits of a video-enabled solution and have seen cross sales of banking products increase by 20 percent. Additionally, when surveyed, BluCurrent members rated the system 4.5 out of a possible 5.

Human interactions drive engagement and emotion

As we shift to a digital world, our industry is also rediscovering the importance of emotion as a driver for customer retention. Together with effectiveness and ease, it is one of the three dimensions Forrester uses to measure the quality of customer experiences.

Video has emerged as the face-to-face channel of our digital world. Stay tuned as we continue to explore it.

1. http://blogs.forrester.com/kate_leggett/16-01-28-online_self_service_dominates_yet_again_why_its_an_effortless_way_to_get_to_your_answers
2. http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Growth-of-Time-Spent-on-Mobile-Devices-Slows/1013072