The Emperorâs new clothes and my new Shu..oos! | DMA

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The Emperorâs new clothes and my new Shu..oos!


“Are you joking, you haven’t heard Adele’s new album!?!?!”

If you are one of those people who hasn’t and you are pinned with this question then I’m guessing you feel a bit defensive, dismissive, confused or irritated.

“Are you joking, you’re not planning on using video in your contact centre?!?!”


I remember in the early 00’s working with my team to brainstorm how our clients could use our new shiny toy – ‘outbound SMS’. Unconvinced we suggested to Nat Mags - “you could text your readers to let them know if they need to take an umbrella to work”. With exuberant hope over expectation we said to Teletext “why don’t you text people when they get back off their hols to see if they had a good time?”

15 years later and SMS is a beautiful, proactive component to several customer journeys. Used correctly it adds value to the consumer, satisfies the comms-greedy marketing team and delivers commercial benefits to the companies who use it .

“Why don’t you use video to see what the consumer is wearing, so you can determine their personality type and convert more sales?!?”

To my point. I have canvassed several industry experts and everyone is talking like you need to sit in the corner with a Dunce’s hat on if you aren’t considering video, BUT hardly ANYONE is ACTUALLY using it!

The booths which are set up in banks for consumers to sit in having a quasi face-to-face with their financial advisor – I get it.

The assisted tech support (with a face) that is being used in places like train stations and for the people who have a Kindle Fire or Fire Phone – I get it.

High end sales people showing you a tailored suit, a fancy bra or a sleek car – I get it.

None of these are taking place in contact centres though, are they?

So, this morning I decided to use the much hyped Video chat provided by Schuh.

Bottom line - I bought a pair of shoes and the agent was really lovely. For the uninitiated here’s how it went:

I went to the web-site, and popped the Live Help button.
A very friendly lady then comes onto screen and in a pre-recorded video she plays out the job of an IVR. She asked me to choose between the Video Chat or Text Chat option.
She then, as any good queuing message would, thanked me and told me an adviser would be with me shortly.
In less than a minute the friendly IVR lady was replaced by a very friendly looking smiley agent. Wearing a head-set looking like she was sitting alone in a branded cupboard she waved enthusiastically and started typing a welcome which appeared in a standard web-chat box below.
“Can you see me?” I typed. “You can pop your webcam” she typed back. I thought I had but she patiently waited whilst I tried, and failed. I genuinely wanted to buy shoes so I gave up on that avenue and she typed to tell me she would be taking over my browser. I wrote the type of shoe I was looking for and like a personal shopper she
efficiently sought options through the website and popped the images for me. We created good rapport as I typed “too sparkly”; “too clumpy!” and she laughed when she read them and typed back a few “HA HA’s”.

If you were going to hand-pick a video chat agent my Schuh lady would have been perfect. As an experience though it was a bit clunky, a bit embarrassing at points and it was odd that we couldn’t see, or talk to each other.

Schuh are no doubt basking in their first mover advantage and, thanks to her smiley face and great customer service I bought some shoes when I might have otherwise given up but, it seems like there is a bit of a journey to go on before video is common-place (if it ever is).

The good news is that if you do decide to launch video there are loads of great technology options to support you and a lot of people who can help you to work through your considerations. Don’t feel bad if isn’t part of your plan yet though, you’ve not missed the boat - it is very much still docked in the port.

My beautiful new shoes are from ‘All that Jazz’ @ Schuh - £35.00 – bargain!

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