In my last blog entry, I discussed how Interactive Voice/Video Response can be used as part of a self-server solution.   This raised some questions on using Video in an Agent Assisted Customer Service solution. 

The first thing I know is that is not about the customer and the agent looking at each other.  While the technology to enable this function, has improved vastly and costs have come down dramatically in the past 50 years, we still don't see the any sort of significant use of Video by the Customer service segment.  I believe that this is due to the fact that no one has shown that looking at each other makes the Agent/Customer experience any better, easier or faster.

So what is it about?

In his keynote presentation at VoiceCon Orlando 2010, Tony Bates of Cisco described the ongoing transition "from contact center to customer collaboration."  Eric Krapf of wrote about the keynote.  "The idea that contact center agents should be collaborating with the customer seems natural, and it's pretty much how people deal with customer service people when they're in person - if I have a problem with a car or a piece of clothing or electronics or whatever, I take it to the desk at the store and show, point, describe, discuss. Using video and other display-type apps makes sense and I expect it'll be an area where we see a lot of innovation in the contact center in the future."

I see three compelling opportunities for the use of video on the Customer Service/Contact Center segment.

  1. Interactive Voice/Video Response Systems
  2. The Video Enabled Agent
  3. The Video Enabled Customer

Since I took a look at IVVR last time, here are some thoughts on the Video Enabled Agent.

A video-enabled agent will have the ability to push video to the caller, and still while maintaining an audio channel with the customer.  This data could be real time video, or static or dynamic graphical information.

In the event where a caller is stuck on a physical task (like product assembly), the agent can push a short video to the caller to show them how to best overcome their current issue, rather than having to verbally explain to the customer what to do.  ("find the piece that looks like a small top hat and stick it into the hole  near the top of the leg where the table top and the leg join together.")

The Video Enabled agent may also push information to the caller that is best done delivered visually.  Think of someone attempting to select or change their seat on an airplane or concert hall.  A video enabled agent can push a picture of the plane or concert hall to the caller, allowing the caller to choose their seat, rather than the have the agent attempt to select the "best seat" for the caller or explain were all the available seats are.

In addition, the video enabled agent may push information to a caller that is best show graphically.  An example of this is a stock broker or financial advisor reviewing the current position of a stock or fund.   Rather than try to explain current position, past performance and/or expected returns verbally, this type of info is often best delivered as a graph.

Much of these ideas will soon be able to be implmented when using our DiaStar (TM) Server Release 2.1 becomes available sometime during the month of May. (