Are You Ready For A Video Barista? Part 2


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rp_Starbucks-Sign-300x225.jpgA couple weeks ago I shared about my initial experience with my very first video barista at Starbucks.  If you recall, I was completely thrown off guard and had difficulty pinpointing why.  At the end of the post I asked readers what they thought about video customer service.  Is it the future of customer service or just a passing fad?

Several people were so kind to chime in and I thought it fitting to share their thoughts in a post.  I really posed the question to two audience.  The first was to the folks that read our blog.  These are generally people who work in customer service, many of whom blog and Tweet often on the topic.  The second group was to my Facebook friends.  I’ll summarize both and you will see a bit of a contrast in the thought.

What the experts said-

Jase Clarke said:

Personally I think it’s here to stay – but it shouldn’t be at the expense of existing service channels.

I think Amazon have got it right with their ‘May Day” function as it’s customer driven; it’s the customer’s choice to use it – that is it’s not forced upon them.

The Doug Sandler said:

Putting us one personal step closer to our coffee. Video drive thru…welcome to 2015!

Jeff Toister said:

In certain applications, it has the promise to deliver higher levels of satisfaction.

Steve DiGioia said:

We have gotten so far away from the personalization of service that seeing the person on video, even if it’s a little creepy, is better than what we have becoming accustomed to.

These folks are customer service and business thought leaders.  There is strong consensus that the personalization of service with video has potential to improve customer satisfaction and is very much a part of the future.

What my Facebook friends said-

My friend Jason, whose wife actually works at Starbucks, said:

It freaked me out at first. From a barista view point, I wouldn’t like it. You have to multitask and work quick. In a drive through, while ordering, having to engage the customer will slow that down dramatically.  

Interesting enough, the same drive through has not had it back on after multiple visits. I think right now it is up the individual barista.

My friend Jon who oversees support for a high-end software developer said:

We’ve been toying around this idea for a couple years. Super innovative but has rather interesting considerations. Communication, appearance, environment, ability. Kindle fire makes it look awfully easy for that one phone call doesn’t it? What happens when you have to place a customer on hold? It’s the future once these questions, and more, are answered.

My friends aren’t opposed to the idea but definitely see a number of questions that need to be answered and obstacles that need to be overcome before this hits the mainstream.

Just today, I scheduled a meeting with one of our customers and we naturally selected a Google+ hangout as the channel.  While I’m still getting used to meeting customers over video, the integrated screen sharing and simplicity of setting up the hangout is turning it into a no brainer.

What say you?  Have you jumped on the wave of video customer service?  Let’s keep the dialog going.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeremy Watkin
Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Support and CX at NumberBarn. He has more than 20 years of experience as a contact center professional leading highly engaged customer service teams. Jeremy is frequently recognized as a thought leader for his writing and speaking on a variety of topics including quality management, outsourcing, customer experience, contact center technology, and more. When not working he's spending quality time with his wife Alicia and their three boys, running with his dog, or dreaming of native trout rising for a size 16 elk hair caddis.


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