Video Chat and Live Support for Contact Centers

Why “click-to-call” when you can “click-to-collaborate”?

Surprisingly we’re still getting requests for the “click-to-call” feature for a website. Note: I’m not talking about the click-to-call used by contact center agents to connect with clients. I mean the “online call” button on a website allowing visitor to call customer care rep from his browser in one click.

Let me clarify some tech details first…

The most common approach for the “online call” feature is using the WebRTC technology supported by the most of browsers. The technology allows a website page to get access to the PC mic (user approval is required) and transmit the audio stream to the website server. The server, in its turn, sends the audio to the company rep thus establishing an audio-call.

This means that to call online a client needs an opened webpage that keeps the audio-connection sending and receiving the audio. It normally looks like this:


Click to Call interface in Richcall

Click to Collaborate interface

But if the client MUST keep this page opened to talk to the agent, why make it so useless? Obviously, it is worth adding extra features to enrich the voice call with text chat, app sharing, co-browsing.

The “online call” extended with web-collaboration options actually turns into “an online collaboration” – you can see how it works in Richcall on the image to the right.

So, the point is – why add the “click-to-call” feature to your website, when you can empower your visitors to “click-to-collaborate” at no extra cost (in terms of technical requirements)?

RichCall live demo is available at!

Be the first to try the alpha version of RichCall. You will only need a web-browser to test the video (you will see the agent, but the agent won’t see you), try co-browsing and other web-collaboration features and ask any question you may have about the software.

All it takes is 10 mins:
1) Launch the desktop browser (Safari is not supported yet)
2) Click the round button in the lower right corner of the page
3) Allow the browser to access your mic
4) Click “Call” to connect with Aurus rep (English only)


PLEASE NOTE: we’re available from 10am – 9pm UTC+7.


12 examples of how businesses are using video chat

Please feel free to check the new section of our website: The “Industry” pages available in the top menu. Here you will find a dozen genuine real-world customer comments regarding the use of RichCall video chat.



    • Video enhances processing of insurance claim
    • Improve sales with our visual assistance option – featuring co-browsing and app sharing

    • Financial advisor online
    • Advanced customer support
    • Video kiosks to shrink the size of the retail bank branch

    • Shopping assistant and concierge services online
    • Personalized support for online shoppers
    • Video kiosks – your experts are everywhere!

    • Product troubleshooting
    • Online shopper assistance

    • Live visual customer support
    • Field service
    • Video kiosks for retail branches

“Video Chat” does not necessarily mean “Video Call”.

For God’s sake, stop being so afraid of the “video” aspect of “video chat”. Yes, dual video is a great feature of video chat solutions, however it is totally optional and by no means a requirement. Also, try to keep in mind that it is not necessary to overly invest in the agents on screen picture quality (i.e. attire, surroundings, banners, etc.), to deploy the video chat in a contact center.

When should you enable video in a contact center?
1. For sales, especially for luxury retailers when less emphasis is placed on call handling time and more emphasis is placed on developing a high-end customer experience.
2. When servicing hearing-impaired customers.
3. When a video chat expert is there to replace an in-person representative i.e. stores, branches, etc.

So, unless you absolutely need a live video call, just replace the agent’s video with a good-looking photo. Try and focus more energy on delivering an ideal customer experience by leveraging web-collaboration features such as the co-browsing and app sharing for support, as well as pushing video and pictures for sales.


When video chat drives sales, and when it doesn’t…

As aforementioned, a video chat channel that is deployed in a contact center may significantly increase conversions and drive sales. However, this can become a double-edged sword where in some cases it may even decrease the contact centers performance. Successful implementation of video chat depends largely on the industry, the sales process, and most importantly, the nature of the buying cycle.

In a very informative post about video chat, Jay Minnucci, President and Founder of Service Agility (a consulting service company that focuses on customer service) states that, “The (video chat) impact will be minor in some industries, and transforming in others.”

Video chat to drive sales

Let’s look at a few specific examples.

Jewelry stores

Within a single click, a customer browsing necklaces, earrings, or rings can request an interactive video session with a stylist. By having a face-to-face connection established a stylist can quickly put on the jewelry, showcase complementary pieces, or even switch the camera to a close-up angle each piece. This helps a customer to truly “experience” the jewelry, ensuring that it is exactly what he was looking for, prior to buying.

Travel Agencies

Not to different from the previous example, a traveling customer planning his vacation could certainly benefit from a video chat session with an agent, as he looks through various pictures and videos of available hotels. But, having chosen the hotel with your agent he may want to look for the cheapest option to book it. If he finds it somewhere else, your time is wasted for nothing.

Private clothing boutiques

The “personal touch” is the biggest advantage small businesses have over big box stores. Those who frequently buy from smaller private stores often do so because of the personalized one on one attention that these retailers provide. Can these boutiques afford the expensive retail locations? Probably not, but they can easily replicate this personalized customer experience online, with live video chat!

Online electronic retailers

It would be great if the in-store staff could showcase each product on the shelf by unboxing and displaying multiple angles, thus allowing the customer to get a better feel for the item. Unfortunately, this takes quite a bit of time, and whether the extra time spent here will be rewarded by increased conversions, largely depends on your product.

From my experience, video chat sales can be extremely powerful in these industries:

  • Luxury, High-end Retailers – Because you’re ready to spend as much time needed to sell.
  • Manufacturers – Because if you convince that you’re better than competitors the customer won’t be looking for cheaper prices for your product. Because once you convince your customers that your products are superior to the competition, they won’t price shop you.
  • Small Businesses – Because providing a “personal touch” matters the most.

Just make sure you are always doing the math prior to implementing video chat in sales.


Co-Browsing in Contact Centers – the Devil is in the Details

Amongst the web-collaboration features in our platform, “co-browsing” is one of the most important. Co-browsing allows a contact center agent to see the contents of a client’s browser window, while simultaneously talking with him/her on phone. The agent can use the built-in pointer to direct the customer’s attention and instruct him/her to perform actions. This system allows agent to more fully understand the client’s problem and the context in which it occurred, and to resolve it quickly.

Co-browsing in video chat

When designing the co-browsing feature we first conducted extensive research with our clients to identify their business needs, and the features required to meet these. Here are some of the things our clients said they wanted from the co-browsing feature:

No Client Download

This was a no-brainer for all our clients. It was essential that their customers could start a co-browsing session instantly, without downloading any apps, Java, or browser plug-ins.

Customer is in Control

Our clients told us that their customer service agents must not be able to perform mouse clicks or enter keyboard strokes in the client’s browser. They wanted their agents to have the ability to see what happens on screen and move the pointer (see “The Pointer” below) to draw attention to things on screen, but not to be able to interact with the page otherwise.

The “Pointer”

There should be a pointer to allow the agent to draw the customer’s attention to certain parts of the page, for example:

  • “Please click this button…”
  • “Here is the section with the info you need…”

In our solution we call this feature “the Pointer” tool. It is an arrow that appears in the customer browser on top of the main content.

Support for Secure Pages

Our clients reported that it was important that co-browsing sessions support secure pages (e.g. ones that require customer to login in order to view). When we talked with our clients, only two of said they needed to guide visitors around public pages in order to help them find products and other public information. The vast majority of our clients need provide customer support within secure online self-service tools, which can only be accessed by authenticated users.

Starting Co-Browsing Sessions over the Phone

Our clients asked for maximum flexibility, and we delivered. Customers shouldn’t necessarily have to be engaged in an online call or text chat with an agent in order to start a co-browsing session. Even if the end-customer has made a regular phone call to the contact center, he/she should be able to enhance it with the co-browsing session if and when it is needed. With Aurus RichCall the agent may generate a unique 5-digit code and give this to the customer over the phone, who can then use it to initiate co-browsing.

Support for Mobile Browsers

Lastly, clients were keen to stress that the co-browsing feature should support mobile browsers and provide the same functionality as enjoyed on a desktop/laptop (no download, “pointer”, secure page support).

Video Chat in 2016 Contact Centre Report by Dimension Data

This post highlights Dimension Data’s figures and conclusions regarding the “Video Chat” channel, as detailed in their 2016 and 2015 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Reports.

Contact center channels by Dimension data

A third of contact centres plan to support a video chat service within 1 year, while while only 11% reported they have already deployed it. Video chat currently has the highest growth rate across all contact center channels.

Companies recognize that the visual engagement powered by WebRTC is not just a trend in technology they need to keep up with; it’s an opportunity – to improve the FCR rate, to increase the customer loyalty, and to improve the agent performance.

«With developments such as these, we’re extremely excited about the contribution that video-enabled contact centres can make to transform the face of customer engagement. We believe they will add massively to the value that contact centres can deliver to the customer base.»

By Ian Heard, Principal Director, Collaboration, Dimension Data Communications, 2015 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report

Now let’s look at the percentage of contact centre interactions currently handled by the video chat channel. The 2015 report shows only 0.2%:
Percentage of the contact centres interactions handled by the video chat channel

However, it should be noted that the 0.2% figure takes into account all contact centers in the survey, including the vast majority who don’t have videochat deployed.

Finally, how do customers feel about interacting through video chat?

How do customers rate the video chat service

«Among the newest of the emerging channels, video is already a success in terms of solution application and customer feedback.

We’re even seeing the introduction of video chat, which is set to increase exponentially over the next few years.»

2015 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report

Try RichCall at GITEX 2016, Dubai 16-20 Oct

Meet our representatives at GITEX 2016 and try RichCall even before it goes live.

GITEX is the largest Middle East IT-exhibition held every year at Dubai World Trade Center. If you’re planning to attend, you’re very welcome to come and meet Alexander Anoshin, CEO of Aurus and Kirill Basikhin, the key account manager who will be presenting the RichCall prototype.

You’ll be able to try RichCall, discuss the business cases for video chat in your vertical and learn about the technical aspects too.

The RichCall stand will be located at the Skolkovo booth:

You’re also welcome to contact us and schedule a meeting. See you at GITEX!


The Great John McEnroe Promoting the Video Support

“You can’t be serious, man.
That ball was on the line!
Chalk flew up!
It was clearly in!
You guys are the absolute pits of the world…”

Remember that John McEnroe / Tom Gullikson fight? 🙂

Verizon marketers have recently brought us back to these great times with the Verizon Fios ad featuring John. The commercial promotes the Verizon video-enabled customer support option that allows support rep to see the problem over customer’s smartphone.

“You can’t tell me this cord isn’t in. I know it’s in!”, John says, referring to his famous arguments with umpires.

And just in case you’re not familiar with McEnroe’s outbursts on the court, enjoy:


“Video Chat” – the Wrong Name for a Contact Center Channel

Have you seen the 2016 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report Summary by Dimension Data? Almost one third of contact centers plan to deploy a “Video Chat” channel in the next 12 months.

I’ll offer my thoughts on this startling figure in the next blog post, but today I want to talk about terminology. This is what I want to share with you – the term “Video Chat” is completely inaccurate, and is now an obsolete name for this channel.

These days it’s not about “video” and it’s not about “chat”; it’s about Live Online Assistance. Now, let’s get into the details…

Where did the term “Video Chat” come from?

Way back in the 00’s the contact center industry adopted text chat technology, providing online assistance to website users. This software typically consists of a text box on the website for customers, and an operator console, which allows contact center agents to participate in the chat. There are a number of names given to this type of channel, such as “live help” and “live support”, but I believe the most useful ones are “live chat” and “web chat”. This is where the “chat” part of “video chat” comes from.

So, what about the “video” part of the term? If memory serves me correctly, the idea of “Video in Contact Centers” came about around 4 or 5 years ago, when several global leaders in communication solutions started placing bets on business video. At the same time, in May 2011, Google released an open-source project for browser-based communication called WebRTC.

As is often the case, software vendors decided to combine the two trends of the day and build products that offered both video chat and text chat. These attempts failed however, as they found that contact center agents were unable to handle simultaneous text chat with voice communications (some agents speak well but have poor writing skills, and vice-versa). It is from these efforts that the term “video chat” channel was born. However, as I said earlier…

… it’s not about “Video” and it’s not about “Chat”

There’s an awful lot of marketing material out there about body language and how using video increases trust and confidence. Nonsense. PURE video is still a solution looking for a problem (see the Dimension Data report).

It’s not just about the chat either – people rarely type something when they can just say it out loud (except in rare occasions when needing to send text such as IDs, emails, addresses, credit card numbers etc).

Introducing Live Online Support

It’s my humble opinion that the most important part of the “video chat” experience are web-collaboration features such as co-browsing, screen sharing, and remote control, as offered by RichCall video chat for Unified Contact Center Express (UCCX).
These features are used everyday in the following areas:

  • customer support
  • sales support
  • IT troubleshooting

Is it possible to use video chat without web-collaboration to improve FCR, reduce the abandonment rate, or minimize channel escalation? I’m not so sure.
However, I can quite easily envisage:

  • an agent guiding a visitor to a website through a complex registration process
  • a sales agent sending photos and videos of products to potential customers
  • a consultant providing technical support using app sharing and remote control