5 Ways Video Calls Can Improve Your Relationships with Customers
Research conducted 50 years ago about the importance of nonverbal communication — vocal inflection, facial expression, and body language — is getting a second look from business experts in an era when face-to-face conversations are difficult.
Research by Albert Mehrabian, a professor of psychology at UCLA, concluded that only 7% of communication is verbal.
Tone accounts for 38%, and body language for 55%. And although the meaning of the research has been debated over the years, including by Mehrabian himself, it’s indisputable that words alone aren’t enough to convey what we mean.
Accounting for 80 percent of business communications, phone calls remain the most common way to reach out to new and existing customers. But are they the most effective method?
We don’t always think of video calls as our go-to method for communicating with customers. But the largest communications companies do, as evidenced by the products on offer at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.
Dell is releasing a series of video conferencing monitors, including 34-inch beauty that has a gently curved screen, integrated speakers, and a noise-canceling microphone.
Speaking of sound, Dolby will offer Dolby Voice, a new technology designed to modulate vocal levels and eliminate background noise to make video calls sound even better.
We’re Fully On Board with Video Conferencing
Communications companies have also jumped aboard.
ZTelco developed a platform called RingPlan, which integrates a company’s communications into a single easy-to-manage platform, and has rethought the concept of video conferencing from the ground up.
Its end-to-end encryption provides an extra level of security that customers appreciate. It’s the perfect platform for video calls with your top clients.
Additionally, it’s one of the few video tools that allows your business to make outgoing calls directly from a live video conference. Typically, attendees need to actively log into a meeting. RingPlan adds an outreach approach to video conferencing.
Used strategically, video conferencing is the ideal tool in your customer engagement tool belt. Here are several important ways that video calls can improve your customer service experience:
Humanizing Your Company for Customers
If you’re just another name in their inbox or disembodied voice on their voicemail, it’s easy for potential customers to ignore even the most polished sales pitch. But when you meet face to face — even when those faces might be on opposite sides of the world — It’s hard not to make a connection.
A customer forms an impression of you and your business, which can help you develop a strong, professional relationship.
During in-person meetings, people often talk about the pleasure of “putting a face to the name.” It’s more than just a nicety.
People are able to form personal connections more easily when they can look the other person in the eye.
Researchers at Northwestern University found that people meeting for the first time develop a higher level of trust if they can see each other, whether the meeting is face to face or on a screen.
Those meeting on a phone call or by text don’t develop the same level of trust.
Building Individual Relationships
That initial point of contact is important, but making the sale and meeting the client’s expectations is the larger goal.
Video conferencing makes that easier by enabling you to answer a client’s questions or address their concerns by sharing your screen.
Being able to play a presentation and point out the parts that are most relevant to a particular client is an extremely powerful tool.
Clients like to be able to close a deal with a handshake, especially when they are making a major purchase or committing to a long-term contract.
That’s not possible in these days of working remotely, so being able to meet their gaze and thank them personally is critical for building a bond with your client.
Building Customer Empathy
Valuing the feelings, motivations, and frustrations of your customers is the heart of customer empathy.
Broadly speaking, it’s the ability to see them as individuals and not just users. Empathy, especially when you are face to face, builds customer trust and satisfaction.
In an effort to boost overall satisfaction, hundreds of companies have added video chat as an option for customer support.
The move has paid off: Video chat results in customer satisfaction scores of 73%. That far exceeds the 53% score for social media support and 45% score for phone support. It’s also a win for companies, who report higher brand loyalty and more repeat purchases.
Face-to-face interviews have long been regarded as the gold standard for conducting qualitative research. But top experts in the field have questioned that assumption with some research of their own.
Matthew Krouwel, a researcher at the University of Birmingham, reported in a paper published last year that there is very little difference in the quality of research conducted in person and on a video call.
Mandy M. Archibald, an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba, found that 69 percent of study participants actually preferred video calls to other forms of interviews, including those conducted in person.
This is good news for your company because it means the quality of your customer research is likely to remain very high using video calls. Research subjects report feeling more at ease during video interviews.
They also appreciate the convenience of being able to participate from the comfort of their own home.
Integrating With CRM
Linking your hosted phone service to your business applications is a great idea. Adding phone functionality to your customer relationship management software helps you improve your workflow by automatically logging the details of every call.
Integrating your video conferencing system supercharges the process. You get the benefits of a face-to-face call and the data-gathering capabilities of your CRM — without having to toggle back and forth between platforms.
Adding this functionality can help you better manage your customer relationships.