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Face-to-face video calling or chatting could be a game-changer with service

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Face to face video chatting could be a game changer in terms of service, in the ability of the customer to contact customer support through video calling. It could influence the behavior of both the customer and the agent. The current and fast growth of services like Apple’s FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Skype naturally leads to thinking about the potential to utilize this innovation in technology as an enhancement in the customer experience.

26% of consumers responded positively, says fonolo.com, when asked if they believe customer service centers provide great support, compared to 49% who did not. The upside is that this is a perfect opportunity for organizations to differentiate themselves by looking for ways to update service experiences.

Starwood Hotels is now using Face Time, as a customer service tool. Members of the Starwood Preferred Guest program using the iPhone 4, the iPod touch and Wi-Fi-enabled Macs running Mac OS X v10.6.4 Snow Leopard or higher can dial a service number and participate in video chats with customer service representatives. “We find customers enjoy seeing the person behind the voice,” said Mike English, Vice President of Customer Contact Centers, according to loyalty360.com . “FaceTime is a great way for representatives of our over 1,000 hotels in the Starwood family to interact with guests in a very personal way.”

British Gas Energy has also launched into video chat initiatives in their customer service outreach. Ian Peters, Managing Director of British Gas Energy, said, “We know that household budgets are stretched and that customers want clear and simple help to make sure they are getting the best deal. We're testing the use of video chat with our customers, offering them new ways to talk to us about the energy they are buying, their energy use and help with energy efficiency to keep bills down. “We hope that our online face-to-face pilot will not only make our support and advice as transparent as possible, but will also allow us to add an even more personal touch to the service we offer our customers.”

The implementation of video calling with social networks, such as the Skype integration with Facebook and the Google+ incorporation of Hangouts, is allowing for new ideas with video calling situations.

Key insights from the latest study, via SocialMediaToday.com, include:

  1. The total number of video calling minutes of use will approach 550 billion minutes in 2015, a monumental increase from 141million minutes in 2010.
  2. Skype and Apple FaceTime are leading the mobile video calling market and had similar usage rates among mobile and tablet callers. Other leading and emerging video calling solutions include, AOL, fring, Google, Microsoft Kinect, ooVoo, Raketu, Skype, and Tango.
  3. The build out of 3G networks and launch of 4G will be important drivers in mobile video telephony.
  4. Skype says that 75% of their online users have made a video call.

Talking face-to-face with customers can bring back ideas for new products, better systems or processes, and revolutionize how they enjoy their experience.

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