Customer Support is Your Data-Rich Secret Weapon

By Tricina Elliker

Among the many ways a strong customer support strategy can pay for itself, the most overlooked has to be data. We are yet to make collecting data on the lifecycle of a product common practice, but that’s bound to change as brands begin discovering all the benefits of the information already at their disposal. Customers can tell you a lot through direct feedback, but that will never replace the value in seeing how real people actually use your product.

Most brands don’t really have a way of knowing how their products are really used in the real world, as opposed to testing conditions. This could lead to enormous blind spots. After all, you can’t fix a problem you don’t fully understand. That’s the idea behind using AI and machine learning to recoup some of that lost data.

Artificial intelligence has made huge leaps in recent years, and garnered a lot of vague enthusiasm. Everyone knows that software has the potential to bring better, more organized data to companies, but few are sure on exactly how that data will be collected or used exactly.

Amidst those who are starting to actually apply the science here, the results are impressive. From malware to natural language processing, machine learning can bring us a wealth of important information that keeps people safer, makes communicating easier, and helps brands actually anticipate consumer needs.

And, somehow with all the discussions of the prospect of advancements in this part of the tech industry, almost no one is talking about the untapped potential within customer support itself. Customer support benefits from AI by seeing and preventing problems before they even arise, but it also has the potential to be an incredible source of data for the brand all around.

The future is data-rich video

Video is the richest form of data available. And though consumers have had video cameras with them almost everywhere they go since the launch of the first iPhone in 2007, until recently there wasn’t enough support for processing that information so most brands never dared to venture into video.

Ten years later the landscape looks very different. AI is thriving, and a handful of startups, like Clarifai and Dextro, are giving organizations unprecedented access to video data processing. This is unlike anything we’ve seen before. Other technologies and platforms can provide vital information, but nothing gives as much rich, easy to capture data as video. Now that we can finally have the technology to take advantage of AI for video data processing, it’s time brands give it a chance.

Without a doubt, one of the best ways to get data-filled video content in the first place is by implementing video as a part of your customer support strategy. Video is ideal for customer support in many ways, as we’ve discussed before, but one enormous side benefit is the data you can gather from those videos.

A customer-friendly approach to data gathering

Consumers today are increasingly nervous about privacy issues. Their desire to protect privacy and keep brands from spying on every aspect of their lives is a worry. In one Pew study, 47% of respondents weren’t comfortable with a retail loyalty card. That’s a relatively commonplace data collection method for large retailers these days. But that’s not the whole story, because the same Pew study, supported by similar studies, found that consumers are open to data collection when it improves their experience.

So it’s not the gathering of data itself, but how you go about gathering and using that information. Whenever possible, show your customers how you use their information to improve products, services, and support. Another good idea? Don’t make data collection “creepy” — the most common concern among respondents in the Pew Research study was the “Big Brother” aspect of data collection.

A great example of this kind of suspicion can be found in the response to retail beacons. While brands were excited to interact with their customers in a whole new way, many consumers saw beacons as invasive and even downright creepy. Beacons brought the feeling of being watched into the retail experience. A good data collection process doesn’t invade a customer’s space or negatively impact their brand experience. That’s counterproductive to the goal: Understanding and improving the customer experience.

That’s where video support can be a huge double benefit. It’s a noninvasive way of obtaining and repurposing data to bring a large amount of information on your products and how your customers are really using them. And best of all, it’s collected while providing a very important service that customers appreciate: support.

And even better, customers are ready to gather that data for you, taking a huge part of the process off your shoulders. As long as you make gathering the data a benefit, your customers will leap at the chance to help you. Video support is a perfect way to do that. And by guiding customers through the recording, you can ensure you get exactly the information you need.

If you use a video support platform, make sure it’s a cloud-based one that provides fast uploads and doesn’t require customers to store anything or keep track of their customer support case. Consumers are open to data gathering as long as it’s non invasive and used to improve their brand experience. You can do both at the same time by implementing data-rich video as your source. Creating great experiences for your customers requires some creativity and thoughtfulness, but it’s possible and even easy to do if you use the right tools.

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