Not only is Amazon using live video streaming for customer service and sales with the use of their Mayday button, but smaller businesses are increasingly taking advantage of the technology too.
Internet footwear retailer Schuh has leveraged video chat functionality and reports that they’ve earned more than $1.4 million from video chat sales alone.
These figures are supported by the fact that 36 percent of customers said they would like to use video chat to speak with customer support.
With customers being 85 percent more likely to buy a product after they have seen a video, live chat technology becomes an attractive proposition for a lot of businesses.
But it is important to consider the relevance of real-time video chat to your business before you commit to implementing it.
Related Article: 7 Ways to Use Video to Grow Your Business Other Than Social Media
1. Is Video Right for Your Industry?
The first question worth asking when considering implementing real-time video chat is if it benefits your customers.
There are many cases where a face-to-face chat with a sales representative will be of value to the consumer in making a purchasing decision.
For example, a sales person at a CRM software company can break down the features and benefits of their services in detail to a business owner in the market for CRM software, ready to answer any technical questions the buyer has, face-to-face, in real time.
However, an E-commerce site selling scented candles won’t be able to enhance the customer experience by very much with the addition of live video chats as part of the sales process.
This is because the simplicity of the product and the lower purchase price is perceived as a lesser commitment by the consumer, who doesn’t need sales reinforcement.
So once you have decided whether or not real-time video chat is right for your customers, you must decide if it is right for your business.
The main reasons for implementing the technology is because it saves you money or it generates more money through increased sales and happier customers.
Constant technological advancements are making the tools required to offer this service more accessible and affordable for businesses of all sizes, and those costs will continue to fall.
However, if the cost of providing a video chat service outweighs the potential financial benefits, it is not a viable investment.
2. How Are Your Customers Accessing Your Platform?
According to Google, more than half of people are now accessing the web via mobile devices. If video chat is appropriate for your audience and beneficial to your business, then you must consider how they are accessing your business online.
In fact, the number of smartphones in circulation will jump from 3.4 billion to 6.4 billion by 2021, according to Ericsson’s 2015 Mobility Report, with most of this growth occurring in emerging markets.
This means businesses servicing this sector can reach new global opportunities for growth by paying attention to how their users interact with existing tools and tailoring their video implementations accordingly.
Regardless of where your customers are, communicating via mobile video chat raises connectivity issues as variable signal causes dropped data and choppy video feeds, especially on a global scale.
According to Tony Zhao, CEO of video chat company, Agora.io, “If mobile users access you from rural America or from around the globe, it’s imperative your video chat API addresses connectivity issues caused by unstable networks and possible bottlenecks across the Internet.”
Related Article: 9 Most Effective Apps for Internal Communication
For obvious reasons, choppy live video chat sessions are not good for sales or customer service, it causes frustration and irritation on both sides of the equation.
The solution is integrating a video chat SDK (Software Development Kit) into your mobile site, website or app, that is backed by an infrastructure of data centers around the world, which are able to move data around bottlenecked networks, to networks with freed up bandwidth, assuring for smooth video live streaming, no matter where your customers are, or their network strength.
3. What Are Your Internal Resources?
Once you have decided your particular implementation needs, you then need to decide if you have the internal resources to handle the implementation and maintenance.
First, your customers will get a live view of the call center during chats, so lighting, background, employee positioning and ambient noise all must be assessed and issues resolved.
Second, team members will require training on the use of the technology, as well as the importance of body language in a transparent chat.
The fast-paced world of mobile communication, especially in WebRTC, makes keeping on top of the latest capabilities a constant challenge, but it is a vital endeavor to ensure you provide customers with the latest tools.
Do you have the technical resources to integrate real time video into your mobile apps and responsive sites? If so, do you have the knowledge and experience to solve the connectivity issues and bottlenecking that global and rural customers experience?
Even if you don’t think you could pull this off, because you don’t have the technical capabilities or have a tech staff to do it for you, there are easy to integrate video chat SDKs like Agora that don’t require a technical expert to install, which also address connectivity and bottle necking issues that were previously discussed.
According to Tony, “The real-time communication solutions available today mean smaller businesses can keep up with Google and Amazon through the flexibility provided by the underlying CaaS (Communication as a Service) solutions that meet their customer’s specific needs.”
A quality CaaS provider with a comprehensive and robust SDK offers real benefits to your business:
The three major benefits of using an SDK within your mobile app or site are:
Ease of use
Thanks to simple API (Application Programming Interface) integration, a website or app can be set up to handle voice and video calls simply by adding a few lines of code.
This quick and simple integration drastically reduces the time and effort it takes your business to deploy the technology, saving valuable time and reducing costs.
Despite the intermittent signal and dropouts caused by network changes as mobile devices move around, an RTC-optimized network offers a Quality of Experience (QoE) guarantee.
The ease with which this technology can be incorporated into an app or website, at little cost, has levelled the playing field, allowing businesses of all sizes to benefit from the video chat functionality that was previously only available to big corporations with big budgets.
Related Article: Press Play: The Evolution of Video Marketing
If you’re interested in offering live video chat to your customers, make sure it makes sense for your industry, know how your customers access your business’s various platforms, and make sure your internal resources are equipped enough to implement this service.
Have you ever considered what the benefits are of adding live video chat to your business? What are some ways you could use it?