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How embedded video can advance digital engagement

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The tried-and-true method of customer engagement built around face-to-face meetings in a branch or office setting were instantly shut down by the pandemic. As a replacement, we were expected to use digital tools to manage our financial needs. Some consumers became comfortable with these features; others, less so.

As an industry, it is incumbent upon us to find a proper balance between digital and live-agent support to satisfy customers, maintain efficient operations and extend brand value.

Banks and credit unions are now offering more complex products and services through digital channels. They’ve had to recreate in-person customer interactions and provide white glove service in their online properties. Embedding video into the digital property can help meet these needs. It can be a key differentiator that strengthens brands by facilitating human-to-human support, guidance and service within a company’s secure digital footprint.

Sales and support in this environment requires special skills and knowledge from agents who must be well-versed in how to handle the complexities of providing information, expediting onboarding and managing multiple other tasks in a digital world. These interactions are becoming even more important to winning, keeping, and expanding customer relationships. Companies need digital tools to support the broadest set of customers through their branded channels with the immediacy and empathy that are regularly associated with face-to-face interactions.

Banks and other organizations are trying to strike the right balance of human service and bot-based service and customer self-service in the digital engagement.  AI-driven chatbots can certainly handle more perfunctory needs, such as resetting passwords and finding online resources, but they are not a replacement for human support staff. Customers want support, but also to feel valued, and empathy can only be delivered in a human-to-human interaction.

Video conferencing platforms won’t quite cut it

When customers have urgent and unforeseen requirements, such as questions with a complex purchase, they want immediate answers. Popular video meeting software has sometimes been utilized to replace in-person interactions lost to the pandemic, but they have proven a poor fit for ad-hoc service and support.

These tools require all parties—business and consumer—to abandon their existing conversation and try to re-create the entire experience in a third-party conferencing environment, which is disruptive. Instead of enhancing service and building brand loyalty, the use of video collaboration as an ad-hoc customer resolution platform can be counter-productive, and possibly even push customers away from the brand.

A better option for seamless, human-to-human customer engagement is video embedded directly in the website or app. Embedded video sessions can be launched either as a primary channel to meet customer needs, or in combination with other digital tools, like co-browsing, screenshare, chatbots, and AI-driven systems. Embedded video’s face-to-face sessions enable knowledge workers and bankers to provide that personal and contextual customer experience that translates into greater brand value, higher levels of service, increased revenue and reduced churn.

Embedded video also offers security advantages. Because the interactions stay within the brand’s web property or app, the service can be managed within the same corporate security protocols and data privacy mandates already being managed for the app or website. This is particularly important in regulated markets like financial services, which has more stringent privacy requirements for customer interactions and information.

Most important, by embedding the video collaboration experience within the website or app, the brand experience is not disrupted. When customers and agents see each other within the brand’s digital environment, it can elevate the quality of care provided to an in-person or concierge-style level of service. This level of high-quality service is expected by a growing proportion of customers as they become more accustomed to world-class digital experiences.

Banks, lenders, wealth management firms and other organizations seeking more effective ways to engage and attract customers can use embedded video to reimagine in-person customer experiences. It is an environment where expert consultation is delivered, problems are solved, customers feel appreciated and loyalty is nurtured.

Embedded video offers an efficient way to deliver differentiated experiences that enhance customer service in a market where sales and service for complex products is rapidly going digital.

Tom Martin is CEO at Glance Networks.