Working with customers from far away poses a few questions for support agents: will the channel they’re working leave the customer better than they were before? If it’s an email correspondence, will the text make sense? If they’re giving instructions over the phone, will the customer be able to follow along?
Text-based remote support works great for many support inquiries. But if a customer’s issue is particularly complex or heavy on technical details, written correspondence can be like giving out homework. And if a solution isn’t immediately clear to the agent, the back-and-forth of a trial-and-error approach might prolong the process.
Additionally, there’s something lost when agents aren’t to utilise their tone of voice and body language. Studies show that it takes more than words to convey accurate feelings and intentions; body language in particular plays an integral role in how we build successful relationships. That’s why there can be great benefit in offering an interpersonal experience via remote support, and why many agents make time to collaborate via video.
Few know this better than our friends at Zoom, the San Jose-based video communications service. They’ve incorporated their video tools with Zendesk to create an app that’s readily available in the Zendesk Marketplace, giving all Zendesk Support users the opportunity to build stronger relationships with their own customers.
We spoke with Zoom’s head of support and our own experts about the benefits of using Zoom’s video app in Zendesk, and we’ve included a few additional benefits for agents that use video for remote support.
Why use video support?
Impressing the customer with video
Brendan Ittelson, Head of Support at Zoom, shared with us why video is the go-to for support interactions with their customers. “In a support context, video really humanises the experience,” Brendan said. “There’s so much that’s said nonverbally, and being able to read body language helps to foster a deeper connection and a more efficient conversation.”
The Zoom App Integration is a tool that allows Zendesk users to add video and screen-sharing capabilities to their support experience. The app’s development was inspired by how Zoom’s own agent workflows: they wanted to have a single interface from where they could engage in video support and connect the meeting with a support ticket. The integration both boosted their agent productivity and was met with praise from their customers. “A lot of customers aren’t used to service reps being willing to speak to them face-to-face over video,” Brendan shared. “It wows them, and certainly helps to build trust between both parties.”
In keeping with Zoom’s company mantra of “deliver happiness” (they’re currently operating at an over 97% customer satisfaction (CSAT) rating), having access to video within a customer service platform also brought more satisfaction to the agents. “It’s encouraging for agents. It gives them a one-touch environment to deep-dive with customers and fully understand what’s causing an issue,” Brendan said. They’ve found that video can be the most efficient channel for diagnosing a complex issue and communicating a resolution.
An extension of goodwill
Effective use of video for remote support is a practice that we follow here at Zendesk. Matt Hoffman is a Zendesk solution consultant and former Tier 2 advocate based in Madison (not the famous BMX rider). He uses the Zoom app and its screen-sharing capabilities as often as five times a day.
When he starts a video session instead of communicating via chat or email, Matt says “It’s a much warmer and inviting collaborative experience to take a look at something together.” Screen-sharing allows Matt to view how customers access and utilise their Zendesk accounts. This often includes navigating their intricate configurations and external integrations, so real-time collaboration can ensures that they’re looking at the same thing. And, very importantly, it reduces the chances of miscommunication.
But in the context of remote support, when is video collaboration better than email? “It can be a little bit of an art, rather than a science,” Matt said. He finds that a good best practice is to offer a screen share right away, particularly when there’s an urgent issue to resolve. “It lets the customer know that they’re valuable. It’s kind of the greatest gesture of goodwill that you provide from the support world. It really says ‘we’re in this together’.”
Agents get to really know their customers
As inviting as it is for customers to communicate with an agent over video, there are additional benefits for agents who want to perfect their craft. Here are a few upsides for agents that engage in remote face-to-face conversations and screen-sharing:
1) Agents learn how to better read their customers: When a customer is frustrated or struggling with a solution, agents might be tipped off by the body language. Customers may shake their head, bite their lip, look away, or slowly become angry. It’s an opportunity for agents to learn when to take a step back and ask if it would help for them to elaborate, or if they utilise a calming tone of voice to help assuage the customer.
2) Agent learn how customers interact with their product, and in real-time: In a screen-share, agents can have customers recreate the steps that led to their issue. This is an opportunity for agents to take see how customers use their product. They can see if there are things that confuse or exhaust the customer, and if there are common patterns in the mistakes that multiple customers are making. This may indicate a need to update a knowledge base or share their findings with a Product or UX Research team.
3) Lets agents see empathy in action: Great support agents thrive on empathising with their customers, which can be better for both sides when they’re face-to-face. Not only does video allow agents to make the customer feel like they’re right there with them, but it also lets agents see first-hand how their help makes an impact. To see a customer’s “Aha!” moment or their body language express gratitude can be an incredibly positive thing for a support agent.
Interested in more in-depth and personalised remote support? The Zoom App Integration is available for all Support users, courtesy of Zoom. It’s one of the many great apps available in the Zendesk Marketplace.