The Visual Contact Centre

By Jeremy Blake on April 2, 2020

The Visual Contact Centre

There are 27.8 million households in the UK according to The ONS and we can say that a good proportion of them, right now, have more members of the household spending time indoors, than usual.

Millions of people are looking at what they commit to financially, what they subscribe to and considering their outgoings, what they value and what they could manage without.

This is where the great British contact centres come in. With some struggling with staff numbers due to self-isolation, organisations operating contact centres are receiving huge numbers of calls, web chats, web messages and emails. Some of these contact centres have managed to redirect and reroute calls, others have not. It’s worth pointing out that the technology to do this, is now pretty reasonable.

One thing people are doing in huge numbers socially, is web and video conferencing. According to App tracking firm Apptopia, Zoom was downloaded 2.13 million times around the world on 23rd March.

Zoom also boast some 2,000 large businesses as clients.

Microsoft Teams had 44 million people using their platform in March on a daily basis, according to Microsoft themselves.   

Slack, has 12 million users, and there are an increasing number of other players in this web conferencing/video calling market.  You may have already used Face Time on your phone and be used to Skype.

The ‘Babyzoomers’ has been coined as a term to describe people like my mother in law born between 1944 and 1964, there’s 76 million of them in the US.  Many of them are very comfortable engaging in video conferencing to see their children, grandchildren and friends during our period of self-immersion, as I prefer to call it.

Now is the time for the contact centres to flip the switch, upgrade and offer visual contact to customers, because they are getting used to it and it will give you an edge in so many ways.

Customers increasingly place more value on authentic, personalised and human interaction. They want to be understood and treated as an individual. If for example, you are able to make eye contact, people will know you are listening and focusing on them.

When my team and I are in contact centres we see the challenges people have, because they can’t see how they are helping their customers. They often stand up to boost their energy and motivation, focus on a spot on the wall or stare into the middle distance.

It is when your customer can see you, that they are able to be engaged by your non-verbal body language as well as your spoken language. You’ll make much more of an impact when you learn how to look and sound, while communicating.

What a game changer it will be to use all of the art and science of non-verbal training we use with our other clients. You quadruple your persuasion skills.

Multi-tasking becomes something of the past for both customer and customer service person. It is far harder to become distracted when you have someone engaging you face to face.

The time it takes to help, support, and sell, is likely to be less, and misunderstandings are reduced as you are able to gesticulate and be clearer while communicating. Staff would be able to show customers visually to help them understand, just as they can face to face.

“While we’re at it…”with nearly all contact centre using organisations having a portfolio of products and services to offer, the likelihood of being able to win more business or retain and grow more services is significantly increased.

Jenny adds, “I have experienced a movement towards visual technology being embraced by customers and employees alike. More complex conversations suddenly become simpler when all of the non-verbal communication comes into play. Additionally, advisors are able to share documents and other visual aids to improve understanding. Overall conversation times reduce and cross sales increase.

Using visual contact and video, advisors are able to build stronger customer relationships, developing more natural and authentic conversations to understand the customers needs. This spans across sales, service and complaint resolution. Customers respond well to more human and personalised interactions, resulting in an uplift in customer satisfaction scores and business outcomes.

Where businesses have a presence on the high street, as well as in call centres, matching customer demand and staffing can be a headache. The introduction of these methods alongside existing team members allows customers to be directed to appropriate expertise, which is highly skilled and centrally based, without the need to wait or travel to larger towns and cities where the specialist experts tend to be resident. Customers embrace this blended approach, feeling supported by the staff around them, quickly settling into the conversation, just as they would do in a regular face to face setting. In the future there will be a likelihood of people doing this in increasing numbers from home.

Introducing the visual element and sharing video, images and documents brings additional bonuses in that employee engagement improves when advisors can have more rewarding conversations, and for those starting out in traditional contact centres, there becomes a defined career path towards visual customer contacts.“

This won’t be an easy switch for large organisations to make. They will have to navigate GDPR and other trust issues and it will in many ways be easier for some of the staff to embrace this change, and many of them will be making their case to their employers that they can and want to work from home.

With a visual contact centre, you change the game and gain a natural advantage over your competitors who are only offering the phone, web chat and messaging as their channels.

You can see first-hand empathy, sincerity, emotion, empathy and quality.

We are here to help companies make this transition and growth channel a success.

Written by Jeremy Blake and Jenny Draper