This blog entry was originally featured on November 19, 2015 via our partners at Glance Networks.
By Michael Janowski & Holly Chessman
Fear is an incredible motivator. When I was little, I used to go fishing with my grandfather on Lake Ontario. He taught me the old cliché that to catch a fish, you have to think like one.
Fish enjoy food. Fish enjoy water. Fish enjoy silence. This is what fish understand, and like most living creatures, anything that they don’t understand scares them. Fear is more than enough to drive the fish away… sometimes for good.
As consumers, we often react in a similar way. We avoid what scares us and are skeptical of what makes us feel vulnerable. We don’t want to consume anything that we don’t completely trust. But interestingly enough, that trust (read “brand loyalty”) is often times informed by that fear and vulnerability.
Visual/virtual customer service can be scary for many customers, especially those new to the concept. Customers often are not accustomed to surrendering the control required to fix an issue to someone who is not in the same room. But once you are able to put their fears to rest, online interaction becomes a powerful tool for building consumer loyalty and customer retention.
The same fear that may have informed their initial reservations now informs their trust. Here’s how:
1. Cobrowsing and screen sharing
In our contemporary social economy, transparency and authenticity largely influence consumer decision-making processes. With cobrowsing and screen sharing, customers can watch you fix an issue on their screen without any concern for further compromise in their system. The process of sharing is effortless and instant, and customers can take back control at any time.
Once you’ve resolved customers’ issues and returned control to them, customers develop a new degree of trust in your brand and service. You have brought them peace of mind while still showing you respect their boundaries and need for security. The trust you’ve grown will ensure your customers come back next time they have an issue.
2. Agent video
Agent video is powerful because it is a rich and immediate form of communication. Close to 90 percent of communication is non-verbal: eye-contact, posture, facial movements, hand gestures, para-language, even clothing and color. Thus, agent video provides a richer, more visual conduit for exchanging those messages that might otherwise be disrupted.
The concept of video conversations with strangers may be an intimidating for some. But by alleviating those concerns, you can show your customers that visual interaction with their customer service agents allows them to put a face to a name and humanize the interaction.
In fact, video can even be one-way, so customers can see agents but agents can’t see customers. This richer interaction enables customers to build a deeper trust in your brand and your service without causing them to feel uncomfortable or like a privacy border has been crossed.
The result: your customers will keep coming back.
3. Live chat and mobile engagement
A central tenet of the contemporary social economy is the consumer expectation of immediacy. Customers with on-demand issues will demand on-demand solutions.
Some customers – especially those who text on a regular basis – may feel most comfortable using live chat and/or mobile engagement. Adding visual customer service solutions to live chat and mobile engagement can alleviate those fears as well, combining words with visuals in a way that feels comfortable and natural. Again, you will cultivate a closer connection with your brand.
Building trust with visual engagement
Customer retention relies upon trust. That trust is socially constructed through a convenient and effective brand-consumer exchange. A visual customer experience is a more intimate one. That intimacy builds trust and a mutual connection between your brand and your consumer. Most importantly, it puts their fears to rest. Consumers will stick around when they know what they are getting and know that they can trust it.