Increase your site's user experience by providing videochat

A big part of my bachelor thesis while studying at the HdM in Stuttgart, Germany, was about how companies, which sell specialised products, can improve the communication with their customers over the internet. I want to give you a short introduction about the core problems and how they can be solved.

One of the biggest problems of companies which sell complex products over the internet (finance- and insurance-sector, special machinery, ...) is the lack of personal consultation when potential customers visit their website. It is highly unlikely that someone will spend a high amount of money or sign a contract with a term of several years just by clicking a button. The customers would have to inform themselves about which product suits them best and check all risks and eventualities. Of course you could provide passive consulting by using techniques like guided selling (guided selling describes a divide-and-conquer-technique where you ask the customer few standard questions and limit the results of your product range according to the answers). But this only works for standardized-products where few questions are enough to get to the right product. If you want to provide individual consulting for complex products, this won`t work because you would have to ask hundreds of individual questions.

Another problem when doing business over the internet is trust. For me it is important to talk to a real person before I make an important decision. Why? Because then I know that it is important to that company to provide me with the product that suits me best. And in addition I get the feeling that there will be someone for me to talk to if there is any problem in the future. This experience would not be the same if I would just click on any soulless button. And I am sure that I am not the only one who thinks this way.
Furthermore, by beeing able to read body language and pronounciation a lot of misunderstandings can be avoided. Less misunderstandings means reduced return-rates and increased customer satisfaction.

All the problems described above could be solved or reduced by providing video-consultation on the companie's website. The telephone company Telefónica (In Germany known as o2) is one of the first who tried video-consultation with magnificent results (the article is written in German). Telefónica says that the conversion-rate grew high above the average and that the return-rates of their sold hardware was reduced since then. Because of these results they are starting a pilot-project in five of their shops in Germany where waiting customers can use tablets to get video consultation.

No matter if you want to increase your customer satisfaction and user experience or if you want to sell more of your specialised products, video-consulting is the way to go. In my opinion this will be standard in a few years, so you should use this time to set yourself apart of your competitors.

If you are interested in creating your own Videochat-Application using WebRTC have a look here.
A working prototype can be tested here (Note: This is a proof-of-concept and currently only supports Chrome and Opera).

Go back to overview