Over recent months, the way we communicate has changed drastically. With companies across multiple industries implementing work-from-home arrangements for their employees, it will come as no surprise that video applications, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, have all grown in popularity monumentally since the beginning of the pandemic.

According to statistics, Zoom’s daily users surged to more than 200 million in March from a previous maximum total of 10 million.

As people continue to use these apps, not only for work, but also fitness classes, school lessons and virtual nights out with family and friends, it is clear that virtual meetings have become an integral part of our daily lives.

Where many were once awkward about ‘being seen’ during phone calls, this concept is now considered the ‘new normal’. So, how long will it be before this rising trend extends to the way businesses interact with their customers?

Enhancing the customer experience

It is relatively easy to imagine how a number of B2B and B2C situations could be transformed by the use of video in the not too distant future. A face-to-face chat with the solicitor who is handling a customer’s house purchase, for example, could be replaced by a video call. This would remove the need for both solicitor and customer to stop working and sit down in a meeting room. The solicitor can also access details at their fingertips to answer any questions the customer might have and handle the call quickly.

The same applies to almost every consultative business relationship – including accountants, recruitment consultants and even GPs.

Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have already made this a reality by offering video consultations with ‘Attend Anywhere’. This enables outpatient appointments without the need to visit the hospital, where patients can see clinicians ‘virtually’ via a live online video link. This has proven to be a hugely positive step towards improving patient access and has significantly reduced postal costs by 50 percent. In addition, video calls offer greater communication and understanding than a phone call, and take less time (or travel) than a physical meeting.

These kinds of processes, as simple as they seem, can have a huge impact on both the patient experience and in freeing up hospital workers to focus on higher-value tasks.

Delivering extra value

In addition to improving the efficiency of customer interaction, video is also being seen as a tool for delivering extra value.

For example, what if fault diagnosis could be implemented on every electrical appliance in your home, from your boiler to your TV? The ability for the person on the other end of the phone to see what you can see might save valuable engineer visits, by ensuring the right person with the right parts is sent to fix the problem. Contact centres may even be able to help customers resolve issues themselves in some cases, saving costly engineer time altogether.

The same applies to building inspections, where costly repeat visits can greatly add to the expense and completion time of each project. Incorporating this channel can be useful in delivering great customer experience and a competitive advantage over rivals. It can also offer significant time and cost savings to a business.

Managing video with low-code applications

For businesses looking to utilise video as part of their customer service offering, the next step is setting up an effective application to manage those calls. Here, a video widget can be a simple and cost-effective solution. Thanks to the ease of modern PaaS technologies such as low-code, which allows everyday business users to develop applications without the need for technical skill, these widgets can be designed and developed in house, with minimal intervention from the IT department.

By taking the flexible approach of low-code technology, face-to-face video calls can be added to any app using the video widget. This application can then be used to provide everything needed to easily facilitate meetings with customers, patients, colleagues, brokers, partners and more. Combining video widgets with low-code systems helps to streamline customer experience through direct, or group, video communication.

This means that you can implement video calls directly from a button on the screen or the video can be scheduled using the existing calendar or bookings widgets. In addition, businesses can create virtual waiting rooms to manage people queuing and even operate a video appointment system.

Considering security

Whilst video applications provide many benefits, the security and privacy of data remain a key concern for businesses. For many organisations that have turned to video conferencing platforms such as Zoom to support a remote workforce over recent months, they will also be aware of the criticisms over its cybersecurity standards.

Whilst updates have been put in place to address these, ensuring both customer and employee data is secure is essential for businesses moving forward with this technology. Here, low-code technology can be used to enhance security within applications by ensuring that once a user has logged on, meetings are securely managed within the existing app interface.

So, how long will it be before the customer expects to be able to replace physical appointments, or ordinary calls, with a video call to your business? Well, it is safe to say that it is already happening.  And as we head back to a new sense of ‘normal’, it is unlikely that new habits in video usage will subside.

Video will be a crucial tool as businesses enter a new digital-first era and the tools that help deliver these, such as low-code, will be pivotal to success. In a time where customer experience and building loyalty are more important than ever, businesses cannot afford to ignore the power of technology on the way that they interact with customers. Having access to tools that are easy to use whilst enabling innovation will be key for businesses to build better customer experience in the months ahead.

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