YouTube for Customer Service
Friday, April 22nd, 2011
by, Jed Singer
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand tweets; therefore, videos are exponentially more effective in conveying your message. Videos are more engaging; videos offer more context; videos are highly shareable/viral (e.g. “you have to see this clip of the cat falling off the sofa!” etc.). That said, how do brands decide where to house their video channel, what do they do with the channel to provide value for their consumers, and how do they create and maintain momentum for their channel to build owned media and amplify earned media?
The first question – where should a brand host their video – isn’t much of a debate. YouTube has remained consistently over 100% annual growth since launched in 2005, and the engagement numbers are staggering. Over 35 hours of video are uploaded per minute (the equivalent of about 25,000 feature-films uploaded per day); there are 2 billion video views per day; and the average person spends roughly 15 minutes on YouTube per day. It’s also easy to customize your channel, plug into the YouTube API for cross-channel social initiatives, and draw insights from built-in channel analytics.
When it comes to what brands can do to create value from video, simply look to the heart of your brand. There are four main ways that brands can provide customer service through video: How To, Common Questions, Product Tours, and Specific User Questions. Which of those are most relevant for your brand? Below, we’ll take a look at how Apple shows consumers how to use its less-intuitive products, how Lowe’s answers some common customer questions, how Verizon walks us through setting up our new phone, and even how brands can answer people’s questions on a highly personal level.
As far as how to create and maintain the momentum of your customer service channel, ensure that your message is cross-channel. That is to say, the channel isn’t operating in a vacuum on YouTube; the videos are being syndicated elsewhere on the web and being promoted off the web in traditional marketing efforts. Also, be sure to pay attention to consumer feedback, as this will sculpt your content calendar. Did users really respond to that How To video? Or did the analytics reflect that the Product Tours get passed around on Twitter more frequently than your other video types? The more you can build the awareness of the channel, and the more you can react to what users are looking for on the channel, the more you’ll be able to harness the momentum to carry your channel to new heights – and, more importantly, develop more loyal consumers.
How To Videos
The Apple YouTube Channel contains videos with many different objectives, a combination of advertisements, event clips, how to’s, and more. Below, is an example of one of their How To videos, this one specifically about emailing photos using iPhoto. The user receives a step-by-step instructional on using one feature of one of their products, crystal clear, brief, informative, and visually appealing. Coming out of the minute-and-a-half video, the user should have a clear idea of how to use the software to accomplish their goal of emailing photos.
Solutions to Common Questions
The Lowe’s Solution Center YouTube Channel does an awesome job of providing solutions and know-how to answer common questions that consumers have for the in-store Lowe’s staff. Videos, like the below clip on maintaining garage doors, can rack up thousands of views as friends and family pass them around and industry bloggers link to them. The more views and links a video receives the more love it’s going to get from Google’s ranking algorithm, and you could be ranking very highly when users are typing “how to maintain a garage door” into Google. The user clicks and watches this video, and if there are products that are required for maintenance, it’s not hard to imagine that they’d choose to pick up the supplies at their closest Lowe’s. Maybe that’s just me.
On the Verizon Wireless YouTube Channel, not only do you get all the snazzy TV spots, you can also view videos broken down by category, including “Phone Demos.” This way, right after I’ve taken my brand new 4G Thunderbolt out of the box, I can go through the various start-up videos to ensure that my phone is as rarin’ to go as I am. Videos are brief (under a minute), and cover most of the phone’s functions, from basic to advanced. As a consumer, there is a degree of piece of mind that I have, knowing that I’ll be able to get home from the Verizon Wireless store and not be completely baffled with my new device; I’ll have a customer service representative on-demand via the YouTube channel.
Answer Customer-Specific Questions
When it comes to answering specific customer questions, rather than go with a big brand, we decided to look at a more human example. Benjamin Netanyahu went on live TV early in 2011 to field questions from individuals via YouTube, truly embracing social media and giving the power of the interview to the people who are directly impacted by his political decisions. If political questions can be fielded and answered in real time using YouTube, your brand can do it, too. Can you imagine how a user would feel if their specific question was recognized and answered by a subject-matter expert at your brand? Talk about turning a customer into an evangelist and brand-champion!
Have any other great examples of brands using YouTube for customer service? Link to them in the comments below!