Today, customers want personalised service, high quality interactions and first call resolution.


Voice is still the primary communication channel used for customer service. But increasingly-demanding customers expect much more from the organisations they deal with or buy from. With the increased adoption of mobile, social, video across demographics, leading organisations need to embrace new technologies or face the risk of losing customers to those offering new service options.


In his Huffington Post blog post "Video will save your customer service department", Yaniv Masjedi talks about the merits of video and how companies use this technology. Just ask yourself, when was the last time you actually saw a customer service representative from your bank, insurance company, telecom provider or even travel agency?


With most organisations directing interactions to channels that are either self-service (phone, web, mobile) or text based (email, chat), which other technology is better positioned than video to bring back the human touch of customer service lost due to automation?


Kate Leggett, in her blog post "Forrester's Top 15 Trends For Customer Service In 2013", highlights the fact that organisations need to personalise customer service, empower agents for quality service and take advantage of maturing solutions. Enterprises and government agencies can defy distance and improve customer experience management by integrating enterprise-grade video capabilities into front and back office processes while delivering a consistent customer experience across all interaction channels.


Let me share with you how video can enable “Human 2 Human” customer service once again.


1. Video Chat


When self-help is no longer an option, video calling enables face-to-face interactions between service representatives and customers. Chat sessions initiated from kiosk, mobile, web and social channels can instantly become a face-to-face interaction regardless of distance. Polycom RealPresence CloudAXIS includes the industry's first presence-aware global directory that integrates contacts from popular social applications such as Google Talk and Facebook enabling contact centre agents to invite contacts via IM into a secure impromptu live video meeting. Alternatively, meetings can be initiated by simply emailing customers a web URL to join. Leading companies can encourage executives and engineers to video chat with customers to learn what issues trouble them.


2. Video Experts


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When front office employees do not have the answer, customers tend to become impatient and upset. If you offer to call them back, then they get frustrated even more and walk away with a bad experience which lasts for a very long time.  By making video available on smartphones, tablets and laptops, contact centre agents, front desk staff, sales and service representatives can invite any remote expert available to join the meeting instantly regardless of location. High quality voice, video and content sharing solution enables face-to-face collaboration between customers and remote experts to ensure first call resolution. This is one of the top 10 customer contact centre trends for 2014. With Polycom, you can now easily connect loan specialists, specialist doctors, level 3 support engineers and other types of advisors with customers regardless of location, device or network.


3. Video Robots


Prior to Edward Snowden’s virtual appearance at TED2014, not many people had heard of Telepresence robots. Last February in Vancouver Canada, Polycom in partnership with Anybots and Vyopta showcased the most advanced video-enabled customer service robot you can find in the market today. The solution combines a remotely controlled robot (Anybots’ Q(X) Virtual Presence), a video conferencing system (Polycom RealPresence Group 500) and a service kiosk interface by Vyopta loaded on the integrated touch screen PC. The Q(X) model employs self-balancing technology with HD audio and video through the Polycom RealPresence Group 500 codec. The infrastructure needed to support the complete solution includes Anybots’s remotely controlled drive platform to guide the robot, Polycom RealPresence Platform  for secure multiparty video collaboration and recording, as well as Vyopta vAccess for video queuing, routing and feedback analysis.


An example of where this can transform customer service? Well this end-to-end solution can integrate video into a medical organisation’s processes to provide hospital visitors, patients and healthcare providers access to the correct people resources for improved care-team collaboration, patient care and organisational efficiency.

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4. Video of the Customer


Next-generation Voice of the customer (VoC) programmes will go far beyond surveying and voice analytics. Welcome to the era of ‘Video of Customer’ programmes!  Polycom solutions can help you organise B2B and B2C video meetings between anyone with a browser and web camera. Connect, listen and collaborate with consumers, partners or clients across multiple organisations. Capture and publish the Video of the Customer (VoC) meeting for those who couldn't attend. Find exactly what they said or need, because video recordings are as easy to search as a document using automated speech-to-text.


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How-to-videos bring a friendly face to product and service FAQs online. Video on Demand libraries improve self-service, awareness and support for customers, citizens, patients, students or developers. With Polycom video content management solutions, capture presentations, slides, and Q&A sessions for live and on-demand training, and track who watched it. Allow, control and share user-generated videos to enrich a content library. Create a knowledge culture in and outside of your organisation by enabling people to share, search, and securely access video as easily as any other content type.


6. Video Recruitment


With video, leading organisations can interview any candidate, securely and face-to-face, regardless of location. This is vitally important in customer service, where a full assessment of a potential recruit’s professionalism and manner with a customer can be assessed.


With video, recruitment is accelerated through shortened interview cycles and increased accuracy of assessment compared to telephone interviews. Costs and lost productivity are minimised by reducing travel for interviewers and interviewees. Human Resources professionals can also record, archive and playback video interviews for comparison, training or compliance purposes.


7. Video Training


With video you can deliver interactive training sessions to service representatives and support professionals without the planning, travel, and logistics issues associated with on-site courses. Polycom video content management solutions enable the capture, playback and distribution of training modules, so that participants undertake the program at a time of their choice and at their own pace. From service training, coaching sessions to development courses, organisations are more successful at building a service culture if they leverage synchronous and asynchronous video.


8. Video as a Service


Video is now available “as a Service” (Software as a Service and/or Cloud-based) just like many other contact centre and CRM applications today. Polycom works with service providers to deliver subscription-based video collaboration solutions to businesses of all sizes with Polycom RealPresence Cloud. It is a wholesale, carrier-ready offering that comprises carrier-grade infrastructure, endpoints, and services. Also, Polycom just announced a new virtualised, budget-friendly, subscription-based collaboration solution for enterprises and government agencies. Polycom RealPresence One is a comprehensive offering that combines infrastructure, software endpoints and optimised services all for a yearly subscription fee. James Brennan recently wrote a great blog post explaining that here.




In the past, videoconferencing technology was limited to the conference room, but now it has become mobile, social, browser-based, and available as a service or from the cloud. The increasing demand for video-based applications is evidenced by organisations and departments who have adopted it worldwide, and in a range of industries.


Video-Customer service is no exception. Consumers, citizens and businesses use this technology daily and expect video to be available across all channels: branch, web, mobile or social. Not only does video help your organisation to personalise customer service, but it also empowers agents for increased agility, and ensures quality and compliance while supporting new business models.


It is high time, you rethink your customer service strategy by bringing people together and collaborating over video. Just like you “Fedex” documents, “Google” information, you can now “Polycom” your customers.


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