Will Facebook Change Consumer Opinion on Video Chat Customer Service?

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In five years’ Facebook will “probably” be “all video”, reported Facebook’s Head of Operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Nicola Mendelsohn. She commented “we’re seeing a year-on-year decline of text… If I was having a bet I’d say: video, video, video.” Given that video is a richer source for presenting advertising, Facebook’s tactical plan will be to carry on endorsing video on its platform favouring it over other kinds of content.

Speaking at a conference held in London 14th June 2016, Mendelsohn asserted that “The best way to tell stories in this world, where so much information is coming at us, actually is video.” She goes on to say “It conveys so much more information in a much quicker period. So actually the trend helps us to digest much more information.”

Facebook Influence



As of April 2016 Facebook continues to be the market leader, and is the first social media platform to exceed 1 billion registered accounts, with 1.59 billion active users a month.

With this amount of people worldwide using Facebook on a monthly basis, Facebooks holds a substantial insight into what people like and dislike. Users were able to communicate with each other via their walls and inboxes; however in 2008 Facebook introduced chat that scrolled with the user as they looked through their timeline, liked pages and friends profiles. The chat window is able to expand and contract under the control of the user.

Example of Facebook Chat
Example of Facebook Chat, Source Google Images – Free to use even commercially licence

Visitors’ attention spans are short and they can get easily distracted with other applications and windows open. It was found that users preferred the chat stay in view as they scrolled, and live chat service providers who supply chat to businesses, adopted this type of chat with sticky buttons and embedded windows.

With Facebook looking to put heavier emphasis on video content and the influence they previously have had on users, we can assume it won’t be long until it becomes natural for people to contact others, including businesses, by this means of communication. Apple already achieved success for users contacting each other via FaceTime, however organisations like Amazon have introduced customer service via video to their ways of contacting the company.

Amazon’s Attempt

Launched in October 2013, Amazon introduced the “Mayday” button to their product line of Kindle Fire Tablets, offering live on-screen support 24 hours a day. Amazon described it as “the Mayday button brings your own personal tech advisor directly to your sofa or desk.”

Example of user of Amazon Kindle Fire HDX and Mayday button
Example of user of Amazon Kindle Fire HDX and Mayday button, source Google Images – Free to use even commercially licence

Perhaps the Mayday button hasn’t been used entirely as intended, but some users have had great experiences and other types of questions answered whilst in a video chat with Amazon advisors.
Here are some of the examples that Amazon have released:



• A customer was stuck on a specific Angry Birds level for a week, a tech advisor helped the customer to beat the level.
• A group of friends were in a heated discussion about how to make the perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich, to end it once and for all and prove whose approach was best they used the mayday button to get an answer.
• Customers have requested advisors to draw for them; this has included happy faces, rainbows, unicorns, fire-breathing dragons, and aliens.
• Someone received a Fire HDX from their boyfriend for their birthday, a tech advisor sang happy birthday to them when trying out the Mayday button.

The Mayday button has been a hit with consumers, Amazon report that more than 75% of support enquiries are now coming through the Mayday service, as customers opt for the human interaction offered by the video feed.
Built to assist with technical support for their kindles, customers can ask absolutely anything and perhaps are using the communication channel for a way to contact the company instantly, as email and phone calls can sometimes prove to be impossible.

How Video Chat Works
Amazon have developed the Mayday button to work from within their product and is fully compatible with their business, however for companies that don’t have access to the level of resources and budget that Amazon has, video chat is still a channel of communication available to online companies.

Providers, who supply video chat to businesses, provide a button script which companies place on their website. Visitors can instigate a video chat upon clicking the button. UK based provider, Click4Assistance’s video chat offers choices, as organisations can decide if they are going for one way feed (operator is on video to the visitor who can view them) or two way feed (both the operator and visitor can use their web cams to communicate with each other.

Example of Video Chat Windows
Example of Video Chat Windows, Source Click4Assistance

Operators can connect and disconnect their feed, and they can also mute/unmute their mics, in case they need to refer to a colleague for information. There are safeguards in place, an operator can stop a visitor from broadcasting and can mute their mic just in case a visitor becomes offensive.

A user can broadcast their live video and stop it at any time; they can stop their mic if they wish to use the conjoining text chat instead of speaking, they can also turn off the operator video feed and mute them as they wish.



Although offered for some time by providers alongside other products, Video Chat has never been strong enough to stand alone as it hasn’t received a great uptake. Amazon turned this around slightly, however all eyes will be on Facebook and how their influence will continue to evolve business chat.

Have you started seeing more video content on your Facebook News Feed? Why not share your opinions in the comments, or for more information on how businesses can include video chat into their spectrum of customer service tools take a look at Click4Assistance’s information page.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Gemma, interesting view. How do you consider the scaleability of video chat? Agents regularly work in more than one text chat. This is hardly possible on video.

    Cheers
    Thomas

  2. Your key point – “With Facebook looking to put heavier emphasis on video content and the influence they previously have had on users, we can assume it won’t be long until it becomes natural for people to contact others, including businesses, by this means of communication” – means that video on Facebook will become more actively used as a channel within a channel. That said, it remains to be seen whether it will be applied to serious customer service issues, not things like getting help with Angry Birds or making a PB & J. Don’t know if a Mercedes owner, for example, would use Facebook if he/she were having difficulties with a dealership, or complaining to Sears because of a faulty clothes dryer..

  3. Hi Thomas, thanks for your comment, I completely agree with you it is hardly possible for agents to handle more than one video chat at a time like text chat. However that said, that goes for telephone and email enquiries also, you can only focus on one at a time. Video chat is another channel that can simply be added to the spectrum of communication tools available. It also comes down to what matches companies requirements, DFS for example has chosen to have video chat where as their competitor Harvey’s uses text chat.

  4. Thank you for your comments Michael, yes certainly on Facebook I can’t see video being used for serious customer service issues, however many people on an individual basis are now posting live videos of themselves, getting more comfortable about presenting themselves.

    Should businesses follow in the footsteps of Amazon and have available customer service via a video feed, Facebook’s influence should make individual customers more willing to use video chat as a communication channel.

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