How to create seamless customer experiences with video

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Are there any businesses left where “customer experience management” is not central to the business strategy? CIOs and marketers alike exhort their troops make the customer experience seamless and — in B2B circles — “consumer-like.”

One opportunity to enhance the customer experience many businesses are missing is video — strange, since about three-fourths of internet traffic is video.

In a wide-ranging report, The Future of Video, Feng Li of London’s Cass Business School noted that “most consumption of online video remains very similar to watching TV via the internet.” Watching TV = a great customer experience? I don’t think so. An enjoyable experience, one hopes. But not a customer experience.

Even an enhanced viewing experience like 360-degree video or virtual reality video is not really a customer experience — not like one-click shopping or Netflix suggestions.

How to generate click-throughs and data

With web videos, viewers control playback, but not much else. What do viewers actually do after they click your video’s “Play” button? Who knows? You get some data on how much the viewer watched, but not much else.

Clickable overlays — YouTube cards, for example — can take the viewer out of the video, typically to a landing page. But that’s not a real control, nor is it seamless.

If you want to know a lot more about your customers and your videos — get your customers interacting with the video itself. It’s a lot easier than you think. Your customers and prospects will get a much more personalized experience. You’ll get data.

Interactive web video: a new kind of personalized user experience

Interactive video, where viewers direct the flow by clicking on-screen objects, was specialist technology until recently. It didn’t scale. It didn’t work on iPhones. Now it’s HTML5 and works in a browser. That’s instant scalability. With the release of Apple’s iOS X, it works on iDevices. That’s big.

Why is interactive video such a big opportunity? Instead of one-way passive communication, you can now provide customers with what are, essentially, video web apps. Users can choose their own path and jump to the topics within the video they are personally interested in. They can click to bring up supplementary information, text, graphics, more video, a calendar app — just about anything that works in a browser.

They can give you feedback within the video itself. They can learn on their own, in the bite-size chunks eLearning experts recommend.

As viewers make choices, they will also be generating data that tells marketers how specific leads and prospects engage and interact. This is data you can send to your CRM or sales/marketing automation systems and analytics tools.

Better user experience

Let’s say your product has three major differentiators, X, Y, and Z, and you usually pitch them in that order. Some viewers are really interested in Y. Others may care more about Z.

Shouldn’t you let viewers skip ahead? They’ll like that. If they skip to Y, you can pop up a button offering to show even more information about Y. Now you’re guiding the buyer’s journey and creating engagement.

Better video content management

Product explainer videos are usually under two minutes long. Important details always get left out. Now, with the click of a button, they can be “included” for viewers who want to learn more. It’s never going to be cheaper or easier to create that additional content than while you’re producing a product explainer video. Think of it as getting valuable content out of what would have otherwise been left on the cutting room floor.

Another way to economically create related content is to record subject matter expert interviews you conduct during pre-production, as you are writing the script. “More info” links can then guide viewers to this additional content.

New ways of using existing content and web apps

Any interactive video can direct viewers to more detailed information in existing videos, such as webinars. Or, interactive sales training and similar learning applications can incorporate webinars and subject matter expert videos.

You can use interactive videos to run meetings or book demos. Integrate existing web forms and other web apps such as shopping carts, calculators and polls.

New ways to nurture leads

Obviously, understanding the buyer is key to lead nurturing. When you’ve tracked customer interactions with your videos, you’ll be in a better position to zero in on which pain points and features matter most.

Less obvious is that segmenting your video productions into short bursts of learning for interactivity gives you lots of informational video tidbits to use in sales automation mailings. This is especially valuable because videos increase email opens.

Videos for account management

Low-key, but engaging, interactive video is a more appropriate approach to cross-selling and up-selling existing accounts than videos created simply to create awareness.

Anyone in your company is capable of adding interactive controls to existing videos. It’s that easy. This is important because now the people who are closest to the customer can guide the user experience to a far greater degree than is possible with conventional, passive video.

Any salesperson or business development specialist, who can imagine the choices a customer might want to make, can also direct the placement of clickable objects to make those choices a reality.

So you bring empathy and a consumer-like experience to video — without requiring a lot of video or IT resources.

Time to get started

Even if you want to add a lot of customization and fancy branding to the interactive video experience, it’s done with the HTML5, CSS and JavaScript technology your web team is familiar with.

To be sure, it requires editorial skill to organize information, to imagine what customers will want to click on and to create surrounding context for the interactive video.

There is no better time to start experimenting with interactive video. It’s easy. It’s not expensive. All that’s required is imagination and editorial skill. And a desire to see more customer engagement coming out of your marketing video investments.

Bruce McKenzie
Bruce McKenzie uses 2-Minute Explainer® videos to increase sales engagement at leading technology companies like IBM, Brocade, Compuware and many other B2B technology organizations. His free guide, "Creating Videos That Support the Technology Buyer's Journey", provides useful suggestions for communicating a technology solution's value proposition from several points of view, and designing videos for sales engagement. Download this free guide at: http://www.2minuteexplainer.com

1 COMMENT

  1. Great article, Bruce! I’ve really been enjoying reading your insights and content. Mapping out your customer journey is so critical to creating a seamless customer experience. Training your employees to be product/service experts, along with responding quickly and consistently is key. Although simple, CX leaders must truly embrace this. Thanks for sharing.

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