Cover Story

Video Chat Meets Customer Service

By Nick Ruble, TMCnet Contributing Writer  |  May 22, 2012

This article originally appeared in the May 2012 issue of Customer Interaction Solutions magazine.

Customer service isn't always the most pleasant experience, considering it usually entails facing problems with a troublesome product or service. Receiving instruction over the phone can prove tedious, but what if it was possible to communicate with tech support through video chat? Ping An Insurance Group of China has already implemented such features in its customer service platform, making it the nation's first company to ever do so.

To even further speed up the whole process, Ping An's video-based customer service uses a fingerprint verification platform to identify the client quickly and accurately. Provided by Genesys (News - Alert) technology, the video-chat service travels over a SIP-based architecture. Romano Valussi of Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) Shanghai Bell says “Providing high-quality customer experience is the key to winning customers. We are building a business-critical contact center solution that gives Ping An of China a strong competitive differentiation to provide superb customer care for its market-leading financial and insurance services.”

Imagine the potential of video-based customer service – if the problem is with any kind of software whether it be with the actual program itself, or the information in which the application is working, the customer would be able to do a screen-share or receive other similar visual assistance. Relying entirely on speech with no visual aspect is one of the primary complications of dealing with tech support.

Some companies take advantage of YouTube (News - Alert) and other similar networks on the web to provide tutorials and instructional information on their products, but that's not always as practical as having one-on-one communication with a real person. Sure, it can give the customer that visual aspect of support, but those types of instructional videos are oftentimes so broad that they may not apply to their specific needs or issues at all.

While Ping An China is among the first to offer video-based customer support services, with the quality and power of the home computer constantly improving, as well as the availability of free video-chat applications like Skype and Google (News - Alert)+ Hangouts, we may very well start to see more and more business offering similar services in the very near future.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi