Video Puts a Human Face on Customer Service

Fast, helpful customer service is often a big differentiator for ecommerce businesses, especially those in crowded markets that offer similar products at comparable price points. Even if you’re a relatively unique merchant, gaining a reputation for superior customer service will help increase your brand visibility and loyalty – winning you positive reviews on social networks and referrals from existing customers.

Many online retailers are discovering the role video can play in enhancing their customer service program, while also helping reduce costs in this area. Providing high-impact and visually engaging assistance for common questions and concerns shows your customers that you’re not only committed to resolving their issues but that you are doing so in an efficient, transparent way – which can help boost your brand’s standing with current and prospective clients.

Here are five ways you can incorporate video into your website to strengthen your customer service, and avoid having small issues flare up into major PR and social media nightmares.

Got FAQs
As a start, use video to liven up your FAQs – especially helpful for the most common questions about your products or corporate policies. Reading through long text explanations is cumbersome, and many people prefer visual overviews. In fact, videos can even inject some fun into standard questions about shipping or returns, for example, assuming you have the talent to develop content that’s gently humorous. (Think about the fun safety videos that Virgin America shows before takeoff – the unusual approach makes viewers pay attention to subject matter that’s otherwise quite dull, and has garnered the airline a lot of great press.)

Installation or Assembly How-To’s
If some of your products require assembly or are components of DIY projects (like tools or crafting materials), videos can help customers quickly succeed in getting the product put together, or using it to bring their project to faster or easier completion. Either way, you’re creating happy customers who won’t need to call or email your support teams to get extra assistance. Ikea offers assembly videos for some of its most popular products, which is in keeping with its brand image of a build-it-yourself home furnishings leader.

You can take this idea a step further and start a campaign to encourage customers to submit their own how-to videos. This can help show people that what may seem complicated is simpler than they think, and you can foster greater engagement with loyal shoppers. Just be sure to give them a gift certificate or some other incentive for their efforts.

Video Chat Offers a Better Connection
You may already offer text-based webchat to help customers ask questions, but video chat is a more effective way to add a human touch to customer service interactions. Amazon has made a big splash with the video chat built into its Kindle Fire HDX tablets – when the “Mayday” button on the tablet screen is pressed, a live video chat window opens. This type of service gives customers the feeling that they are truly being helped by a real person, which can make all the difference to a disgruntled or frustrated shopper.

Put a Friendly Face on Outgoing Corporate Messages
Video can also put a friendly face on responses to complaints or customer service issues, especially if the issue warrants a public response (instead of a one-to-one conversation). For example, if your website has suffered an outage, or if you’ve run out of a popular product, you may need to respond to unhappy customers in a public way. A video from one of your executives or a customer service rep will be viewed as more genuine than issuing a press release. It will also be shareable, so you can benefit from the viral reach of your “we’re sorry and we’ll fix it” message.

Bring Video to Social Media
You can take this same approach with a human response to positive or negative customer comments on social networks. If someone compliments your company or products, or complains about an issue they had, create a quick video response – and take the opportunity to elaborate on related products or services, and offer a message about how you’ll make up for whatever inconvenience they encountered.

Video is proven to be more engaging than text or images, and usually has a positive effect on conversions. Since online shoppers show a growing taste for video elsewhere on ecommerce storefronts, it makes sense to extend the benefits of video to customer service.

Dr. Melody King is vice president of marketing at Treepodia.

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