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Video: Customer support 2.0?

1st Nov 2013
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In today’s marketplace, there must be a correlation between a company’s quality of customer support and its products. A businesses’ relationship with their customer cannot end at the point of sale. This is especially true when you consider the increasingly sophisticated, and sometimes complex, products entering the market. Recent research highlighted that 81% of shoppers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. Failing to provide adequate support can result in disgruntled customers and in some cases can lead to bad reviews.

Despite its importance, delivering consistent and first-rate customer support can prove to be difficult. Small and medium sized businesses can be particularly challenged given the natural limitations on workforce numbers and resources. In a small business, every person is fulfilling one or more roles to ensure that the business is moving forward and growing. With everyone busy, who then is left to help customers implement new products or overcome technical challenges?

Technologically savvy businesses have begun to look to video to answer these questions. By using video, companies can create visual demonstrations and walkthroughs to explain new products and services. These videos enable businesses to provide ‘how to use’ references and answer questions in an innovative, easy to understand and efficient way. This could potentially free up time, but more likely it will allow an employee to focus more on developing new products or completing a sale.

Support without the call centre

Without the luxury of a customer support line or call centre service, smaller businesses have historically created a handheld manual to explain their offerings. But whilst a written guide can offer useful information, they often tend to be hard to understand, visually unappealing and lack any sort of personalisation. Video content offers the opportunity for businesses to provide new and existing customers with an innovative, personal and interactive learning experience.

Digital learning materials are better at explaining new products than written manuals for a number of reasons. For a new customer that is learning a particularly complex software feature, a short video can visually teach the learner how to use it in just a few minutes. As I mentioned in my previous article, James McQuivey from Forrester Research, believes that one minute of video is worth up to 1.8 million words. The alternative for a smaller business is to provide a worded manual, which may require the customer to search for a paragraph in pages of text. Also, as video tutorials are typically short by nature and part of a group of videos, they are able to ‘chunk’ information into more digestible and understandable sections.

Embracing video content

Screencasting technology provides businesses with one way to create engaging video learning content. Put simply, screencasting uses dedicated software to record a video of your computer screen. Any onscreen activity from applications to mouse clicks to your audio commentary can be captured and edited into a video. This is a cost effective and efficient way to visually demonstrate any feature or benefit for a product or service. These videos can cover a number of different topics and demonstrate features that are difficult to describe verbally over the phone or in written copy.

Gibraltar Labs is one small business using screencasting to help support new customers implementing its software. The complex nature of its product made it difficult for managing director Gary Short to communicate its true benefits and how to use it to new customers. Gary comments: “Screencasts are naturally visual, and allow you to communicate a lot of content in a relatively short space of time. They are far easier for clients to understand compared to written content. Many find watching a short video is much more palatable to pouring over pages of instructions to find the one paragraph they need to answer a question.”

Adding the personal touch

Businesses that create these types of video tutorials are able to mimic the characteristics of a physical face-to-face training session. Features such as call-outs that highlight specific parts of the video, background music, and a video of the presenter, are great ways to bring the content to life and make it more personable.

When shared via an online portal, a company’s website or a video platform such as YouTube, customers can access the video content whenever and wherever they want to ‘on-demand’. With 71% of customers reportedly going online first whenever they have a problem with a product; hosting a video tutorial online makes sense. The video can also be viewed over and over and paused at any precise moment so the viewer can learn at a pace that suits them.

Providing a high level of customer support is a key requirement for a business of any size. By embracing digital customer support using video tutorials and demos, small and medium size businesses are able to deliver an enhanced customer service offer, despite the lack of a dedicated support team. 

Matt Pierce is customer engagement manager at TechSmith.


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By jamesleblanc
24th Jun 2014 12:45

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