Video Chat and Live Support for Contact Centers

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