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different mobile devices showing how a representative uses video chat to interact with customers remotely

What is video chat?

different mobile devices showing how a representative uses video chat to interact with customers remotely

Video chat is a face-to-face conversation between two or more people held over the Internet – it’s live, it’s visual, it’s a powerful tool that gives companies a way to interact remotely with customers. Video chat enables a two-way conversation between the customer and the customer service or sales agent, either with both parties on video or the customer choosing to only see the agent. Video chat is synchronous communication; it all happens in real time, with no delay and it allows for screen sharing such as co-browsing a website or co-form fill. Simply put, video chat provides an immersive customer experience that brings the store, showroom, or bank branch to where the customer is – anywhere, anytime, on any device.

By early 2020, the use of live video chat technology for B2C engagements was already on the rise among leading brands. But technology shifts already well under way have been pushed into hyper-speed. Customer experience technologies that support digital engagements are receiving significant new investment this year. A recent survey of 150 senior executives from midsized and large companies found that one-third are setting up “significantly new digital/e-commerce capabilities” in response to the pandemic, making it by far the most common action being undertaken.

Adopters of AI-enabled technology such as live video chat report a 25% improvement in overall customer experience, improved margins and enhanced competitiveness, according to recent research from IDC.

These benefits extend across industries including:

Higher Net Promoter Scores (NPS) for retail: DFS, the UK’s leading retailer of upholstered furniture, reports that the transactions that occur on video receive a 90 NPS score. The average retail NPS score is 28. Leads that come through video chat have an 85% conversion rate.

Increased customer satisfaction when completing the high-touch transactions required in financial services. For Belgium’s KBC bank, video chat has enabled agents to conduct complex, time-consuming transactions that typically occur in-person entirely online. Co-browsing capabilities allow agents to go through mortgage calculators, insurance schedules or applications with customers and respond to non-verbal cues to better assist them. Customers are happy — some 75% of customers who give ratings give the service 5 stars.

co-browse Live video chat screenshare Live Engagement Platform

More highly qualified leads to move buyers through the sales funnel for automotive OEMs and dealerships. A significant bottom line benefit of live video chat for Sytner, a UK-based car dealership, is the number of online engagements that become sales leads for dealerships. On average, 35% of customers engaged on the website are passed over to the dealerships as qualified sales opportunities. The rate is significantly higher than customers who browse the website independently without live chat.

From retail to financial services to healthcare, and across sales, marketing, customer service and support functions in those businesses – the deployment of video chat is skyrocketing.

The term video chat is often used when referring to video conferencing technology like Zoom. But AI-enabled video chat for customer engagement has several key differences.

  • It does not require the customer to install any applications or have access to any software program on their end.
  • It allows for real-time, ad-hoc engagements, without requiring a log-in, password or meeting invite.
  • It allows for secure co-browsing or screen sharing. The best video chat software has functionality that enables compliance with all major data privacy regulations and statutes including HIPAA, PCI and GDPR.
  • It can include AI-technology that helps guide a customer for a specific use case, routing them according to their questions and needs throughout their online journey.
  • It includes pre-built templates that allow for outstanding customer service, as well as dashboarding and analytics capabilities to measure key performance indicators and ROI.

These are just some of video chat’s major benefits. Let’s look at some more, along with frequently asked questions about the technology.

  1. What are the benefits of Video Chat?

Personalized customer engagements. Personalization is a customer experience mandate. Video chat allows customers to see the product, such as a car in Hyundai’s Digital Showroom, take a tour and ask questions in real-time. And agents can better take visual cues to gauge customer interest and pace a delicate sales or service conversation. Agents can share screens with customers when they need help browsing the website or filling in forms.

Longer “in-store” hours. Many physical stores have in-store capacity limits right now, if they are even open at all, and shortened hours. Live video chat keeps online customers engaged when they can’t come into the store or business – giving them an up-close view of a product or service, the ability to have questions answered, and even ‘walking’ them virtually to the register to complete the purchase. Even after locations re-open, stores and businesses will continue to see demand for convenient online shopping.

More qualified, higher-value leads. Across the board, companies using video chat report an increase in the number of highly qualified leads moving into the sales funnel. Schuh a leading UK shoe retailer, reports conversions of customers who use video chat are four times the rate of those who do not. And the average order value increases 10% with video sessions.

Mobile-ready. More than half of the consumers surveyed by Pew Research said they make purchases on their mobile phone. And more than 84% of those surveyed want to be able to ask questions about what they’re buying. But chat technology is often geared toward a desktop experience and not designed with mobile in mind. It’s often easier to talk than to type. Video and audio work really well on smartphones for the customer and makes engaging easier for the agents. And, for the customer agent equipped with a tablet or mobile, the ability to walk throughout a car showroom or a retail store allows them to bring the car or product options up-close and in high definition for the customer.

Secure interactions. Robust video chat supports role-based security management and provides the ability to accommodate single sign-on implementations. It is compliant with all major data privacy regulations and statutes – including Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and Global Data Protection Act (GDPR) regulations

  1. Is Video Chat better than Chatbots, or Text Chat, or Voice Chat?

Different tools can be used at different points in the customer journey – businesses need to be prepared for whatever way a customer wants to engage. Video chat, chatbots (of which there are different types), text chat or voice chat work together to solve a customer’s problem or provide a satisfying buying experience. Chatbots are often the gateway – allowing people to get answers to simple questions in off-hours or route the person to a live agent for a voice, text or video chat. A request for a refund can be accomplished over text chat and quick answers about a product over voice chat. But filling out a mortgage application or looking at the features of a new car in order to coax the customer to book a test drive require more of the personal touch and visual engagement that video chat provides.

  1. Should the customer engagement journey start with Chatbots and then move to Video Chat?

Chatbots are often the first step in the digital engagement journey especially for customer service requests. A chatbot can answer simple questions 24/7, nudge a customer into action, or point more complex inquiries to live video or text chat. But, when sales is the key driver for an online customer engagement strategy, video chat is a powerful tool to start with.  A video chat option on the website gives a customer the ability to ‘walk’ through a store with an agent pointing out product options, or to see every angle of a high-end watch more closely, or to work together with a financial advisor in filling out a retirement calculator. Along with a personal appointment scheduler option, this highly personal, immersive experience brings the in-person experience online.

  1. Is it difficult for customer sales and service agents to learn how to use Video Chat?

An agent who is somewhat comfortable with technology, and has good customer service skills, will find that using video chat is easy to learn and actually empowers them to do their job better. The VeeStudio dashboard is easy to use and intuitive. A customer service or sales agent can easily send canned texts, engage on video calls, schedule appointments, pull up checklists and co-browse or co-form fill with customers. They can easily switch between a camera on the PC, mobile, or stationary cameras mounted for a rich in-store experience. For Vee24 customers that need to fill in gaps while their internal teams are in training or want to augment their existing teams longer term, Vee24 offers a team of call center agents that can to serve as the faces and voices of their online sales and service. The UK-based PACE Centre gives customers access to agents who are power users of the Vee24 platform and boast rich customer service backgrounds across different industries.

  1. Does Video Chat need to be secure?

Depending on the industry, a video chat platform must support the governance and controls to ensure regulatory compliance as well as conform with industry standards. Certifications are a crucial criterion in choosing the right platform. These include PCI compliance for any team that may take credit card information, functionality that fully encrypts data while at rest or in transfer for HIPAA compliance and secure recording and storage to comply with SOX. Companies that operate in Europe need to be mindful of GDPR compliance. And the best video chat software adheres to ISO standards for information security.

Live video chat is fast becoming an indispensable part of the online customer experience. As using video chat becomes more second nature to customers, it will play a crucial role in how the best brands deliver an immersive, highly personalized engagements digitally. Vee24 provides omnichannel, multi-party, live customer engagement through text, voice and one or two-way video chat on laptops, tablets, and smartphones. It has co-browse and screen share capabilities, multi and mobile camera integration, rich-media push capability and much more. Request a demo today to find out how Vee24 can elevate your online customer engagement.