Face to face is definitely better than a voice or a text communication in almost all situations. While most websites do offer a text chat facility for users to understand and buy products, one might not get desired results. There are services which do provide integration of video chat support most of these are paid. But Hyderabad based POSfish.com offers free to use customer support video chat software for websites.
Since POSfish is based on WEBRTC, website owners can easily integrate this on their websites without much development skills. WEBRTC is an open source project which enables plugin independent browser based real time audio and video communication using the lowest possible bandwidth. This is in fact better than Flash which most other solutions use.
The applications of a video chat service like POSFish are endless and can be used across the web on eCommerce, travel, banking and insurance, hotels and product demonstration and customer service websites.
The reasons that the sites might consider a service like this is they can give a live product demo if necessary, reduce telecom cost and face to face help when necessary. Personally I feel the biggest advantage is that seeing a face will bring in more trust which would convert into more sales. Also while giving a video demo explaining things is easier and would save time unlike a telephone conversation where a customer support representative would have to repeat things multiple times.
The implementation of the service on to one’s website is pretty simple. After signing up on the Posfish.com website, one gets the API and can integrate it on your website. The website owner then creates customer care logins on POSfish.com and your all set to provide video support on your website.
Being a new way for customer care representatives to interact with customers, there will have to be a few operational changes in the company. First, companies will have to add a adding a web camera to their desktops to enable video chat. With the falling prices of web cameras this won’t cost much. Since WEBRTC works on slower internet speeds there won’t be too much change in bandwidth costs for a company.
The biggest change that a company will probably have to go before adopting a service like this is that they will need to hire and train new agents who are presentable and comfortable on camera since brand perception is important. This will mean additional payroll costs.
Being a video experience, companies will have to train their agents to have a strong control on emotions and agents should be polite enough not only in voice but also on video(facial expressions). Also agents dealing with products will need to be trained to have full knowledge on the products they are showcasing.
At present the product works only on Chrome and Firefox, but the developers are working to bring it to other platforms.
The beta version of the service was released on July 1st and around 15 websites are currently testing it and they hope to launch it on their portals by the end of this month.
The product has been built by a team of three developers who began building POSfish with the vision of providing free technology widgets that could change communication on the web. The team consist of AJ Reddy, Divya Reddy and Vishnu Reddy.
From the very start they were keen not to charge for the service and to keep it open source. They plan to give it has a free tool to as many websites as possible. In terms of monetization of the service they will launch video support on mobile platforms, like Android and iOS as a premium product. They also plan to enable integration of cloud CRM and also cash on delivery (COD) like Gharpay locally.
Considering the next frontier is definitely mobile we think this is a smart move by the company.
The developers hope this will bring about disruption in customer support. It is likely to guide new practices and help web companies focus on consumer behavior and conversion rates which are very crucial for web companies.
Is one on one video chat going to really appeal to customers of most services? Won’t a webinar or a product demo video serve the same purpose and post this maybe a Q&A session would suffice which could be taken care of with just a plain text chat?