Video in customer service: current and future contact centre use cases

Customer service is no stranger to digital channels, from email, to live chat, to social media. Yet video remains a widely untapped customer support resource.

But that’s starting to change. Fuelled, in no small part, by the pandemic-induced remote communication push, we’re all increasingly familiar with business-related video conversations. And we’re seeing this increased video adoption in customer service, too.

Today, video in customer service is growing in popularity and use. As well as real-time video calls, we’re also talking pre-recorded tutorials, animated help guides, and everything in between.

As such, video is set to be a key player in the future of the contact centre. So, here are the top current and future use cases for video in customer service.

What does video in customer service look like?

Video in customer service is the merging of digital support and face-to-face communication. It takes several forms. A contact centre, after all, can leverage video functionality in multiple ways — both with real-time and pre-recorded videos.

These videos can be of real people and real products, shot with a camera. Or, they can be computer-generated, with text and animation and so on.

Video in customer service includes videos for the support of customers, but also for agent use. (For instance, training videos, co-browsing sessions, remote team meetings for the contact centre team, etc.)

Current uses of video in customer service

Video functionality presents many opportunities for the contact centre to boost its customer service offering. Currently, the most common use cases are:

  • Video chat/calls

Video call or video chat powers real-time, face to face digital interaction. Think Zoom, Skype FaceTime, Teams call, video web chat support, and so on. Video calls either replace phone calls, or can happen as a part of a live chat (i.e., typed) interaction.

This type of video in customer service makes it easier for customers to explain trickier problems, and subsequently, for agents to explain trickier solutions. The video feed also allows each party in a conversation to view and react to facial cues and tone of voice. This translates to a more easily empathetic interaction.

  • Webinars

Another current use for video in customer service is the webinar. These are great for teaching groups cool tricks with products or services, as well as promoting brand relationships and engagement. You can stream webinars live, and then leave the recording on your website to act as informative content to help newer customers.

  • Tutorial videos/self-service

This leads us to the strength of tutorial or ‘how-to’ videos in a customer service context.

Recent years have seen a sharp rise in the popularity of self-service. In turn, this self-service trend has created a home for video support. (In the form of tutorial videos/FAQ videos inside a customer portal, for instance.)

Such videos give customers the resources they need to serve themselves and solve minor or common issues. As a result, agents spend less time dealing with routine queries.

  • Video tickets

A final example of current video uses for contact centres is the slow rise in video tickets. This is where a contact centre allows customers to submit recorded videos explaining a problem, or showing any faults for the agent to see for themselves.

It may also allow agents to reply with recorded responses. A key benefit of this video ticketing option is that you can have pre-recorded video responses ready for common tricky issues.

The future of video in customer service

As you can see, video in customer service already has a diverse mix of current uses. And these existing uses will likely continue to grow. But alongside them, new uses for video are emerging.

The future of the contact centre will continue towards digital-first customer offerings. That is, we aren’t going back to the predominance of phone calls and face-to-face service. The COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated the need for digital customer support, with more people than ever avoiding in-person service.

But face to face service hasn’t disappeared. It’s evolving. And that’s where video in customer service comes into play.

Future video in customer service uses

In the future, video calls will become more normalised in place of phone calls. Meanwhile, the rise in self-service preference will generate more popularity for service videos – ‘how-to’ tutorials and FAQs.

But beyond an expansion of the current uses of video in customer service, new forms will also appear.

  • Rise of interactive videos

One of the weaknesses of videos is when they’re un-skippable, or cover more than the subject you’re interested in. Interactive videos would allow customers to engage with the information and find exactly what they want. This, in turn, would make videos more appealing to customers seeking self-service options.

  •  • More video chatbots

Video chatbots and ‘digital humans’ are already here but are not yet widely used. The future will see wider adoption of this type of chatbot.

A video chatbot is an artificial agent. That is, a chatbot with a realistic digitally rendered avatar. Talking to one is akin to talking face to face to a human, complete with expressions and a friendly voice.

Video chatbots automate the video call. They will work much the way our current chatbots do — with all the benefits, while providing a more human-like experience. (Due to being able to simulate facial and tonal cues.)

Video in customer service is only beginning

From phone calls, to email, to live chat, customer service channels each offer something different for the contact centre to leverage. And now video is settling into the mix as a versatile toolset to boost the future of customer service.

But this emergence is only the start of a growing trend towards increased video consumption and video communication in the contact centre. Expect a future spanning everything from normalised video calls and video tickets, right through to the normalised video chatbot.

Useful links

When to use video chat support (and when not to)

The Mehrabian myth, non-verbal communication, and live chat software

Will customers embrace humanoid chatbots?