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man using live video chat on laptop to help customer online shop

Behind the screen: How a customer sales agent uses video chat

man looking at laptop using video chat retail online shopping

When Dave’s face pops up on a customer’s screen to answer a question about a high-end watch or a diamond ring, he’s commonly asked: Are you a real person? 

Often to the delight of the user on the other end, he indeed is. Dave is part of a call center team of experienced, trained agents who work at Vee24’s PACE Centre. Vee24 customers from furniture and jewelry retailers to automotive manufacturers and dealerships can hire Dave and the team to be the faces and voices behind their customer service and engagement strategy — communicating with and helping online customers through the video chat, text and voice platform. As both power users of the Vee24 live engagement platform and experienced customer service agents, the team can augment a retailer’s existing staff long-term. Or, as in the case of Sytner, fill in gaps while internal employees come up to speed on the platform best practices and the service is being transitioned in-house. 

Using VeeStudio, Dave handles customer engagements for several high-end jewelry, watch, and luxury goods brands. Using live text, voice and video chat, he often handles as many as 100 engagements a day. He answers questions, offers product information, checks the inventory and order management systems to see if items are in stock or where they are in terms of delivery, books appointments directly with the stores, and can help customers complete most purchases.

“I love my job,” he said, which, as he talks about it, sounds like one-part logistics manager, one-part personal shopper and another part counselor. Just as an internal employee would, he received extensive training in the form of “Bibles” on the company’s jewelry and watch product lines in order to provide every possible piece of information a customer may ask about. He has the manuals basically memorized so that when someone asks, “what grading is this diamond,” or “what watch should I buy for ushers in my daughter’s wedding?” he has an answer.  He has also mastered Vee24’s user agent platform, VeeStudio. While it seemed a bit intimidating at first glance, he can now easily text, video chat, co-browse, screen share and more all within the intuitive dashboard. 

Dave shared some advice on how he uses live engagement technology to more deeply connect with customers. 

What are your shifts like? 

I support customers in the UK and the US, so I work either 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. BST or 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. BST. The call center is open seven days a week. 

We also use VeeStudio and VeeChat with the Callback Request feature enabled so that customers can leave a message during non-work hours.  We return the message as soon as we get in the next morning. 

How do you start a live video chat?

I open with, “Good afternoon, I’m Dave, your customer advisor.” After checking to ensure that the sound and connection are good, I quickly set about helping the customer with their questions or problems. 

What types of questions do you field most often? 

About 50% of people just want a question answered before going ahead and making the purchase. The rest are split between order updates and some general information, even things like, “I’ve got this silver cutlery set. It’s 40 years old. How much do you think it’s worth?” 

Do you find people prefer video or text chat?

I can easily hit my call count daily just on video. There has definitely been an increase in people choosing video now. My customers can choose whether they want to only see me on video, or if they’d like to share their screen as well. I think it’s just easier when you can see someone and people don’t think you’re a bot. It makes their process a lot easier and the engagement feels much more personalized. Also, more and more people are engaging on their mobile phones. It’s easier to talk than to type so video and audio work really well for the customer and makes it really quick for us agents.

How long is the average video call?

Most calls take five minutes. But, I have had calls take up to 45 minutes. One customer wanted four watches for his daughter’s wedding. He knew what he wanted for the first one – that was for him. But the others he was up in the air on. I was grabbing information from him, using a bit of instinct, showing him options. In the end, he spent about $60,000-$70,000. He was really happy with his purchases – and he gave me a 5-star rating.

How do you deal with an upset customer on live video chat?

I’ve always found that in dealing with any customer, whether they are angry or annoyed, just let them sort that out first. I let them get the frustrations out and just listen. In that time, I figure out what the best course of action is to meet their needs.

How did the pandemic change your work?

We have worked from home since the beginning of the pandemic in March. The volume of video calls and texts has doubled from an average of 50 to more than 100 daily. Moving the Vee24 technology to do the job from home was seamless. But finding a space in my home with a blank wall in the background where I could conduct video chats proved more difficult. I couldn’t fit a comfy chair where the only blank wall was. But I’ve gotten used to that by now. Most of our customers moved their customer and sales agents home. The company is really good at helping with this process because we did it ourselves.

What sorts of inquiries have increased during the pandemic?

We’ve seen a big increase in the requests to book in-store personal appointments because no one is accepting walk-ins. It can be booked online. But people like someone telling them ‘It’s been booked. You can go in.”

Is there a demographic breakdown between video and text?

In general, I’d say the older customers are more comfortable on the video and the younger generation prefers the text. 

What method do you prefer for solving the customer’s problems?

I think video is definitely the better option. It can feel uncomfortable at first, but you have a better customer experience when you can look someone in the eye. Bringing a person to the online customer and better replicating the in-store experience is more engaging.  

To learn more about how the Watches of Switzerland Group is using Vee24 technology, check out the case study.