Imagine you could instantly communicate face-to-face with every single one of your customers at the same time, without the limitation of 140 characters or the need for hyperlinks. That’s live video streaming, and it has the potential to revolutionize customer care.
Everyone’s talking about Meerkat and Periscope, two incredibly powerful apps combining live video streaming with the reach of social media, allowing users to stream anything through their smartphone camera, in real time, to their social followers. These apps could have amazing impacts both on customers, who can broadcast positive or negative experiences with a brand as they happen, and on the brands themselves, who can instantly broadcast responses. No one knows exactly how revolutionary live video streaming will be, but it’s clear that any consideration of social customer care must now include video customer care.
What’s remarkable about the potential of video customer care is that it allows brands to show their human side. No more hiding behind Twitter handles or email accounts. Instead, customers see and hear an actual brand representative in real-time. It’s an extension of a trend that’s already taking place in peer-to-peer social media like Snapchat, but now businesses are starting to pick up on the power and efficacy of these new apps.
Savvy brands are already using live video streaming
Brands including Mountain Dew, Spotify and Verizon have been among the first to pick up on live video streaming technology. In recent weeks Spotify has used the app to broadcast a spontaneous concert from Connor O’Brien of the band Villagers, and Mountain Dew broadcast a short video focused on the brand’s “swag.” Verizon, meanwhile, used Meerkat to host a live Q&A with Emily Best and Caitlin FitzGerald, garnering plenty of positive feedback. While these show some very creative uses of live video streaming, research indicates that big brands have been slow to catch on.
Why live video streaming is the next step in customer care
It’s unlikely that brands can ignore these apps much longer. Live video streaming is going to be the next big thing in social customer care for a few key reasons:
It feels immediate. Even more than tweets or Facebook posts, live streaming videos feel intimate and up-to-the-minute. It’s incredible to watch something happening live on the other side of the country, or the other side of the world, and knowing that if you miss it, it’s gone. This brings a real sense of immediacy to customer engagement.
It brings brands closer to customers. Not only does live video streaming put a human face on a brand, it can close the gap between executives and customers as well. For example, a brand CEO could schedule an interview with a customer that would be live streamed and watched by (potentially) millions of other customers.
It increases transparency. There’s something wonderfully transparent about video. It’s immediate, it’s live, and it’s very human. Live video streaming can bring us behind the scenes, clueing us into what really goes on behind a brand’s closed doors.
What happens next?
Meerkat and Periscope are huge, but they’re certainly not going to be the last new channels for customer care. To succeed in a world where social channels keep proliferating, brands need to stay flexible and responsive. Centralizing customer care is a necessity.
Have you used Meerkat or Periscope? Do your favorite brands? We’d love to hear what you think!