Why Google and Amazon are Betting on Live Digital Engagement

Posted by
Robert LoCascio
Founder and CEO
Friday, November 8, 2013 - 09:48

Products today are commoditizing at a rapid rate, shifting the battle for the consumer away from the latest product feature to the entire customer experience.  Leading brands are realizing that accessible, one-on-one engagement is fast becoming an essential  part of the customer experience. Now more than ever,  we expect high quality, high-touch support and guidance during our online journey. Today, we have access to the best technologies when it comes to connecting with friends and family, so why should we expect an inferior experience when connecting with our favorite brands? 

We’re now seeing more and more brands invest in innovative engagement strategies to better connect with their customers and differentiate on experience. We saw this with Amazon’s Mayday button which we recently covered on this blog. Amazon’s launch of a 24/7 video chat support channel on its new Kindle device marks a stark contrast from the brand’s philosophy of pure self-service and “low touch.”

This week, we saw another major player promote this form of digital engagement, Google’s announcement of Google Helpouts. Google is leveraging their popular communication technology to create a commerce platform-- Helpouts, a virtual marketplace based on one-on-one paid video consultations so that individuals can connect with experts for online guidance and support on any variety of topics.

The launch of Google and Amazon’s recent video-based services point to the shift we’re seeing in how consumers prefer to communicate and how the industry is responding in turn. They are a strong validation of integrating innovative, one-to-one engagement solutions into the digital experience. More than anything, we’re excited to see brands endorse and practice this level of  “meaningful connections.”

LivePerson’s consumer platform was launched 15 years ago on this very premise-- to give people a way to connect with an expert on just about any subject  and get personalized advice in real-time anytime from anywhere. From an early point in LivePerson’s history we recognized the value in being able to connect consumers, not only to their favorite brands online, but also to the knowledge and wisdom of others. We give individuals the opportunity to easily and reliably get help and advice from trusted experts from around the world in an environment that is safe, secure, and private.

With  brands like Amazon and Google leveraging high-touch channels like video chat, we will likely see growing consumer demand and adoption for rich real-time tools from all brands. Several companies are ahead of the game, recognizing the power of live tools like  video help to inspire customer satisfaction and loyalty. Beauty megabrands like Garnier and Prescriptives offer one-on-one video chat consultations and live video tutorials, helping customers choose the best product for their skin, hair type, etc. They are essentially providing the type of “face-to-face” beauty consultation you would only get at the department store, right into their customers’ homes.  The result? Customers feel not just informed, but also valued by the company.

LivePerson customer Garnier offers live video consultations with their beauty experts

As our world becomes increasingly digitized, automated and less personal, consumers seek live, human assistance during their online journeys.  It’s great to see leading brands understand this need and embrace this strategy, realizing their successes will be measured beyond their products -- namely, loyalty will be won by delivering an exceptional end-to-end experience.

How can your brand incorporate human engagement in either your product offering or through your customer touch points? Is your company maximizing your in-house expertise to provide a truly excellent online customer experience? Have you seen other examples of brands connecting with their customers using innovations in technology? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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