In many sectors, digital communication has by-and-large replaced face-to-face interaction. In business communication, webinars and video conferencing, to name just a few, have become part of everyday life for millions of people, while text messages, chat apps and chatbots are steadily replacing customer conversations.
A recent study by Sinch explored how consumer demand is shaping the future of video calling for enterprises. While video calling may not be appropriate in all use cases, as enterprises look to combine ways to deliver services and improve the customer experience, increasingly video calling stands out as a viable channel for both enterprise and consumer communication.
We are at the point where video calling is a realistic and available technology option in many enterprise communication scenarios. SaaS-based Software Development Kits (SDKs) and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), aimed at developers, mean that the complexity of building and maintaining communications infrastructures has been reduced to just a few lines of code. Video chat for customer interactions is rapidly rising toward an innovation peak. There’s evidence that this is the case. Recent research commissioned by cloud-based, mobile communications platform, Sinch, looked at both consumers (in terms of their expectation of video communication) and enterprises (in terms of their ability to deploy it).
Video Chat Is Reaching An Innovation Peak
The research found that enterprises are already starting to use video calling in the communications mix. Based on those enterprises surveyed (and those that indicated they are using a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform) 24% said they use video calling to communicate with customers ‘often’.
It’s clear that enterprises are beginning to see the benefits, in particular with how video calling improves the levels of service offered. 70% of enterprises surveyed think that video calling has the potential to improve customer service, 70% think that video calling makes them more approachable to consumers, and 50% agree that video calling has the potential to help them reduce costs.
There’s also a less tangible need for enterprises to keep up with technology. 74% of enterprise respondents think that consumers judge them negatively on their ability to offer up-to-date, tech-enabled communication, and that this is key to attracting and retaining new customers.
Mind The Video Gap
Consumer use is increasing too. One in three respondents stated that they have previously interacted with a brand via a video call, and nearly 40% stated that if a brand were to offer it, they would take advantage of the opportunity to interact in this way.
Looked at another way, consumers increasingly view video calling as an authentic way to interact. But brands aren’t meeting that requirement and are therefore missing an opportunity. 43% of enterprises cited customer negativity as a barrier to adopting video calling, yet the survey suggests that this just isn’t the case.
Banking Is Breaking New Ground
While the Sinch report indicates that many industries can benefit from introducing video calling, it’s the larger enterprises that are embracing the technology to bolster their customer communication options.
Furthermore, banks are one of the industries most likely to adopt video calling, with 29% stating that they are likely to start using it with customers in the next 24 months. In parallel, consumers rated banks as second only to healthcare when it came to what kind of organization they would like to interact with on a video call.
It’s also interesting that 23% of consumers said they might switch banks if their current bank did not offer video calling and a competitor bank did.
The recent growth in digital banks like Revolut, N26 and Starling are capitalizing. Tech-savvy millennials like the convenience and high levels of customer service they offer. Video calling is on smartphones and in apps where that interaction takes place.
For analyst firm Gartner, video calling is a necessity, forecasting that 100 of the 500 19 largest global businesses will introduce video chat by the end of 2018, because it provides customers with a richer sense of presence, personalized experiences and the support of emotional expression.
Evidently this is something that consumers actively seek, prioritizing human face-to-face conversation over all other channels for certain customer service scenarios.
If you want to find out more about how CPaaS is improving customer communication, take a look at the first in our series of 4 eBooks: Enterprise CPaaS, The Customer Service Imperative.