In the age of the Internet, customers worldwide have never been more accessible to businesses the world over…but their attention and interest has also never been harder to keep. Video conferencing offers a powerful tool for connecting with new customers or clients, but it presents its own set of challenges.
The seamless customer experience has become something of a Holy Grail in the world of eCommerce: creating an online experience that matches the customer’s demands is a huge challenge. Since the start of the eCommerce boom, which a recent IBM survey pinpoints at 2003, the technology for online interaction has been developing at a breakneck pace, and the expectations of the customer have developed just as fast.
Here, we’ll give you a set of qualities to look for when picking a video conferencing app to get you as close as possible to that perfect client interaction.
The “Have-it-Your-Way” Experience
In a recent interview with CMSwire, CTO of DigitasLBI Paolo Yuvienco neatly summed up just what makes achieving that seamless interaction so difficult. “Today’s customers demand an always-on, unified experience with the brands they identify with. Whether they’re looking at a web property on their mobile, tablet or desktop, it needs to feel like part of the same conversation,” Yuvienco said. “And that’s hard to do.”
Wainhouse Research’s paper on new options for multipoint video conferencing named Yuvienco’s unified experience the “have it your way” experience: a fast, easy, clean interaction that leaves the client feeling in control. Modern consumers have very high expectations, especially when your aim is to recreate the intimacy of a face-to-face client meeting using video conferencing. With this in mind, there are two key points to focus on when picking a video conferencing app for the best client interaction: flexibility and compatibility.
Easy Connection and Flexible Service
One of the eternal bugbears of multipoint video conferencing (a conference with three or more participants) is the need for a video bridge, usually a piece of hardware provided by the call host. In addition to being expensive and difficult to set up, video bridges have a reputation for being annoyingly picky about who can join a call. Communicating through a video bridge might require your client to download a specific set of software just to be able to talk to you – not exactly the poster child for flexibility. Fortunately, as video conferencing apps develop, there are more and more options available to avoid video bridges.
When selecting your video conferencing app, look for a cloud-based or decentralized service. A decentralized call allows every computer in the call to talk to every other computer, removing the need for a central bridge at the cost of slightly increasing the strain on the systems connected to the call. Cloud-based services go one step beyond a decentralized call: the provider hosts an online bridge, which allows more flexibility while decreasing the strain on each participant’s systems. Cloud-based systems like Blue Jeans Network also give participants more direct control. The host’s customization tools are also available to the clients participating in the call, letting them tailor the experience to their needs.
In addition to easier connection and flexibility, cloud-based systems generally have much broader compatibility across both software and hardware. Look for a product that is network agnostic or systems agnostic: this means the service is designed specifically to run smoothly on any device and any operating system. Most agnostic services have a browser-based option your client can quickly access through an email invitation, without any need to download a desktop service. Many also offer mobile versions of the app, which is another great way to give your client as much flexibility as possible in joining the call. Blue Jeans group video conferencing is an example of a service that took flexibility a step further: they’re the only service we’ve found that allows callers using a different video conferencing app to join an ongoing call. Blue Jeans and other cloud based or browser based conferencing services tend to have the best compatibility with a wide variety of computers, mobile devices, and operating systems.
Despite all the developments we’ve made towards better eCommerce interactions, IBM’s 2013 survey of eCommerce professionals found that only four percent rate their own services as “excellent or exceeding expectations.” Pick the right video-conferencing app with the right tools for client interaction, and you’ll be well on your way to being in that four percent – and your customers will agree! All it takes is the right combination of flexibility, compatibility, and intuitive, user friendly design to harness the power of the Internet and make your client interactions smoother than they’ve ever been before.