For individual users, it means the chance to connect not just with text, but with actual face-to-face (sort of) conversations where you can hear the tone of the other person’s voice and see their every expression.
Do most users want to have full conversations? Do they want to be seen, no matter what time of day it is or what condition they’re in? Time will tell. Certainly Skype, Facebook’s partner in the feature, has gained plenty of traction. And the new Google+ social network launched with a group video chat feature, Google+ Hangouts, right out of the gate.
Our thoughts turned toward what this means, or could mean, for marketers. Of course, at this point these new features are not available to brand pages but it’s probably not far behind.
What occurred to us first and foremost is a new ability to conduct one-on-one, face-to-face customer service right on Facebook. We’ve heard the consumer cry out into the wilderness again and again, “All I want is to talk to a real person!” Companies who not only offer this kind of real-person interaction to solve customers’ issues but who do it within a social networking environment stand to gain more than a healthy dose of goodwill.
Here’s a golden opportunity to give your Fans a positive customer service experience, something many consumers have all but given up on. Your customer service reps may soon be able to incorporate slides or some other visual to help walk the caller through the steps needed to resolve their issue.
Taking the next logical step, Facebook Video Calling could be used for sales. Your rep could not only answer questions and discuss the features of your product, but demonstrate those features as well. Which brings up the larger question, what role can Facebook Video Calling play in the emerging world of eCommerce? Am I more likely to make a purchase if it requires 4 hours of online research and waiting for answers in my email inbox, or if I can talk to a sales rep on Facebook Video Calling for 10 minutes or less?
Internally, you can bet if it’s the easiest thing to use, Facebook Video Calling will be called upon to handle long-distance business meetings. If it allows for group chat, you’ll be sitting in Facebook Video Call business conferences. Facebook Video Calling could soon be where you give presentations or conduct webinars.
Sometimes new features arrive and marketers are slow to see or execute the potential business applications. But be aware, Facebook Video Calling is another tool for communicating…this time built right into an environment that’s already proven successful at connecting brands to their customers and strengthening those relationships. Why wouldn’t you jump on and take advantage of that? Just be sure to fix your hair first.