Online customer engagement has always been a bit tricky -- a mashup of customer support forms or chat and emailed coupons offering incentives. However, a new model has appeared on the scene that could add sales and help redefine customer engagement on the Web.
Swedish mobile provider Tre's launch of its 3LiveShop online support service allows customer service representatives to manipulate information on the screen while engaging with the customer through the Internet. Customers can choose to interact with the rep with a combination of voice, video, and/or text as they are guided through their calls.
Check out the concept video:
Tre came up with the concept and outsourced hardware design through digital production firm B-Reel and software/application developer Teenage Engineering.
When I accessed 3LiveShop, I was pleasantly surprised. I went with just text on my end, and I was greeted by a helpful woman, who, when I said “Hello,” instantly switched to speaking English. (If only all customer service personnel were like this!) When I mentioned I was writing this blog, she started to show me the interactivity possibilities, dragging an iPhone onscreen, changing its color, giving me different views, and adding a full data plan to my onscreen basket. It took about 40 seconds.
This service is pretty slick, with minimal lag and a friendly customer service rep adding a human element that I now realize has been missing (at least for those of us who like people!). The representative can process your order faster than you could on a traditional Web page, particularly if you're not super tech savvy.
I reached out to Tre for some more information from Magnus Sjögren, inventor of 3LiveShop:
3LiveShop is a joy to use, I’ll admit, but is it perfect? Well, no, but what is? I could see how, in areas where high-speed Internet wasn’t ubiquitous, this kind of service could be troublesome. Still, it’s more than impressive, and I can see this kind of virtual assistance becoming the new call center model of the near future.
Me: Do you know of any competitors seeking to emulate this model? It’s unlike anything I’ve seen before.
Magnus: There is one similar service at Lexus.de, but we are unique in the world.
Me: Does Tre have any plans for commercializing this technology for other
Magnus: Yes, we are looking into the possibility to commercialize the LiveShop product to other markets.
Me: Has there been any significant change in customer satisfaction with
online support since the rollout?
Magnus: 3LiveShop has been received very positively. It gives the online user a service that they never experienced before. During the two months we have been live, I have been studying the users and the flow and have fine-tuned the unit. The next phase is to increase the traffic through campaigning.
Me: While using 3LiveShop, I felt there was nice performance. Is this due to
Sweden's high-speed network and/or an optimization of the technology?
Magnus: It is because of the technique we use. I cannot go into details, but it's a mixture of the camera we use, the number of information streams applied, and the compression of the data we send.
Me: I believe that 3LiveShop does not include any additional fees -- is this
Magnus: Correct, no extra cost at all. In fact, the fully loaded sales cost is actually cheaper then all other sales channels, and it should in theory be cheaper to purchase through it.
Me: To what extent was speeding up the customer experience a priority for
this new system?
Magnus: The customer experience was key when we developed the system, and we didn't cut any corners when it came to it. 3LiveShop’s purpose is to give all visitors the best service possible from the convenience of their own homes. Sweden is a long country, and not everyone can easily access a store.
Me: What is the area of LiveShop that could be improved the most?
Magnus: Video compression and latency.
— Adam Williams works as a technology consultant dealing with medical, security, and LBS tech.