Even if most customer support inquiries are still handled by phone, email, or text chat, we believe video chat can be extremely useful for an e-commerce as a sales and customer support tool.
Find out how to implement live video chat on your e-commerce site, along with best practices for profitable use
Over the past two years the world as we knew it, has changed due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
One of the biggest changes was the transition from office work to working from home. Dislocated teams, Zoom meetings, hybrid workplaces and “work from anywhere” have become a new normal that we are still living in, and that seems to intend to stay.
And even if “Zoom fatigue” is a real fact, we must give this tool the acclaim it deserves: being forced to keep our distance has led us to find new ways to stay in touch and, among all, the video chat was certainly the most used and appreciated.
It is a fact that by now people of all ages and all levels of computer knowledge have become familiar with the use of video chat, be it on a videoconferencing platform like Zoom, a productivity tool like Microsoft Teams. , their phone or a social media channel like Facebook Messenger or Google Hangouts.
This familiarity with video chat also offers interesting opportunities for e-commerce brands, in particular with regard to customer service, both in the pre- and post-purchase phase.
In this article, we will explain how you can support customers through video chat in the purchase journey and the best practices for offering this new service on any e-commerce.
What is video chat technology?
Let’s start with the basics. Video chat is any software or app that allows two or more people to connect via video with two-way communication.
Bidirectionality is the point. Video chat apps differ from live streaming apps precisely because the latter generally only allow one-way communications or, at best, limited two-way interactivity.
With live streaming there is generally a host speaking to an audience. Viewers can ask questions or interact with each other in chat, but they are unlikely to appear on screen and interact with the host.
Conversely, video chat allows for an interactive video conversation between two or more people.
The interlocutors of the video chat have access to a whole range of features during a video call, such as activating or deactivating video or audio, just to give an example.
In general, a video chat app is associated with a more intimate conversation, while live streaming services are largely tied to a person or a small group of people who broadcast to a very large audience.
Why choose video chat for customer assistance?
Most e-commerce stores offer customer support through email, text chat or telephone. But all these methods are characterized by a certain level of friction.
With email, customers have to wait for a customer service agents to respond, often taking hours or days. Requests can be handled by different operators, causing a fragmented and sometimes frustrating experience.
Advantages: Buyers can interact with customer assistance when it is most convenient for them
Challenges: The response can take hours. It is possible that the request is handled by different operators and is consequently not very consistent
Tool: Text Chat
Advantages: Ability to converse in real time while protecting privacy
Challenges: Difficult to share visual material (attachments are not always supported) It can take a long time to complete a transaction
Advantages: Faster exchange than chat
Challenges: No visual support
Video chat apps for customer support offer many benefits, including the ability to resolve critical cases that cannot be resolved with any other method of communication.
Here are some of the main advantages of having a video chat for customer service on an e-commerce site:
- Buyers and sales assistants can have an interaction similar to a live face-to-face, in contrast to the time it takes to type texts.
- Buyers can provide real-time visual feedback, such as showing a damaged item and requesting a refund.
- The video chat also allows pre-purchase support. Customers can show a physical space they want to decorate or show their skin type when they are looking for products for a skincare regimen.
- Thanks to the video chat, buyers and sales assistants have the opportunity to create a personal relationship based on trust just like it happens in the store.
- Sales assistants can show products to customers during a video call by sharing images and screens (co-browsing), provide a demo or virtually accompany a buyer inside a store.
Of course, video chat isn’t always an ideal solution. A shopper may not want to be shown on video (although in this case you can offer them the option to turn off the camera), or they may be in a less than ideal situation (such as a public place or their office).
But not having a video call option for customer service means missing out on an opportunity not only to speed up customer problem resolution times, but to increase sales and cart value.
Do’s and don’ts during video calls
If you intend to offer video chat support to e-commerce customers, your team will need guidelines, no matter how familiar they may already be with video.
Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind before answering a video call.
Prepare the video chat station
With Shopcall Assistant you can choose whether to answer video calls from the store, from a studio specifically created for the task, from the customer service department or even from home. Regardless of where video calls are handled, having a tidy and professional desk can make a difference in building trust with customers.
Consider investing in a few simple tools that will allow you to offer a quality experience: a ring light, a phone or tablet holder and a background. Look for a quiet space and arrange the products you want to show near the station.
DO NOT try to respond to video calls without a proper Wi-Fi connection
Having a proper Wi-Fi connection is essential for providing optimal performance during a video call. If appropriate, invest in Wi-Fi extenders to ensure efficient coverage in all areas of the store, regardless of where an employee is located.
Check your look in the mirror
Video chat team members should always check their appearance before starting video calling sessions. It is important to check that the clothes are clean and tidy, and that the makeup is fresh and suitable for the occasion. The goal is to have a neat appearance just like the shop assistants.
DON’T forget to check the set
Before starting to respond to video chats, collaborators on the video team should turn on the camera and test that audio and video are working properly.
Set devices to “Do Not Disturb”
This point is especially important for those agents who use their personal devices to respond to video chats. During working hours, it is essential to disable alerts and ringtones from a telephone. Most in-store salespeople don’t have their phones on a shift; video chat shifts should be handled in a similar way.
DON’T be afraid to sell during a video chat
If a buyer shows interest in a product, the sales employee’s first task is certainly to provide all the information he needs to promote the sale. But video chat is also an opportunity to build a relationship of trust with customers, which can lead to cross-selling and upsells. Video chat agents should therefore be trained on products, promotions, offers, and effective strategies for selling more, including recommendations for items that are often bought together.
How to choose a video chat platform for your e-commerce
Not all video chat platforms have been designed for e-commerce. Many text chats, especially those from brands in the service sector, also offer a video chat option. Banks, real estate and car dealers are actually all early adopters of video chat because they immediately understood that it is a great help to connect remotely with customers in a more personal way than by telephone or e-mail.
Even the e-commerce brands that introduced video chat support initially did it mostly to offer support in the pre- or post-purchase phase. With Shopcall Assistant, video chat has evolved and live shopping via video call has become a reality.
Through Shopcall assistant a sales assistant can actually show products to a customer, add them to their cart and help them with the checkout process, much like he would do in the physical store.
Most e-commerce brands will likely offer video commerce service to customers who are in the decision stage. Instead it would be advisable to offer it for customer service inquiries as well. A well-trained customer service representative may be able to turn a contact into a new sale, in just one video call.