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CRM's 'Show Me' Video Revolution

By Richard Adhikari CRM Buyer ECT News Network
May 19, 2015 5:00 PM PT

Cellphone videos have become a widely used tool to document everything from kids' antics to police brutality. They are shaking up the TV news industry, and they soon may revolutionize customer relationship management.

CRM's 'Show Me' Video Revolution

Take, for instance, LogMeIn's video-aided support tool, Rescue Lens, or Support.com's remote video support service, Nexus SuppportCam.

Support is integral to CRM. The "customer journey," currently the buzz phrase in CRM, isn't just about creating what is essentially a simple linear pathway you expect customers to follow while browsing your website, according to Christopher Bucholtz.

Customers create their own journeys. They can drop out at any point -- and they may circle back to you later.

The customer journey doesn't belong to marketing alone; it belongs to everyone in the company -- support, professional services, and possibly even the accounting department.

The use of video in the enterprise is growing, an IT Pro Portal survey found. In addition to being used for sharing best practices and how-to tutorials, video is beginning to show up in help desk and customer service areas.

Rolling With Rescue Lens

LogMeIn's Rescue Lens is a video-aided support tool that lets consumers use their personal smartphone or tablet camera to stream live video to remote support technicians.

It works with iOS and Android. Customers can download the app for free.

Rescue Lens supports smart whiteboarding -- annotating on any screen on any device, with the annotation staying in place even if the device is moving.

It offers high-quality, 30-frame-per-second video views, regardless of the strength of the Internet connection. It also provides an autofocus capability.

Support staff can log support session details automatically, record video sessions tied to a support call, and have an easy escalation path from text or chat-based sessions.

"As with all session recordings in Rescue, the location of the recording will be synchronized to the [enterprise] CRM system as well," said Peter Zeinoun, director of products for LogMeIn Rescue.

The SupportCam Strikes

Support.com, makers of cloud-based Nexus software for support interaction optimization, offers SupportCam, a remote video support service.

Nexus integrates with existing contact center software and presents agents with "Guided Paths" that provide best practices guidance during customer interactions.

Like Rescue Lens, SupportCam lets consumers use the camera on their Apple or Android smartphone or tablet to show tech support what they are looking at.

It runs on Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and the Safari browser.

Nexus has a set of rich open APIs that allow easy integration with other contact center software -- such as CRM -- for tracking and improving customer relationships, noted Sampath Gomatam, SVP, product, at Support.com.

Nexus sessions, which include the SupportCam recordings and session analytics, can be tied into CRM and ticketing applications in various ways, Gomatam told CRM Buyer. They can be initiated from within a CRM case, and after a session is completed, all the session details can be automatically integrated back into the CRM case or ticket.

Further, session and agent information is available for real-time analysis and monitoring in a third- party application using Nexus APIs.

The Nitty-Gritty Details

Solutions such as Rescue Lens and SupportCam run over enterprise WiFi. If they don't, cellular charges will apply to the end user who's running them.

Data usage for Rescue Lens is "in line with standard video applications," LogMeIn's Zeinoun told CRM Buyer. That's about 5 MB per minute of live streaming.

Security is always a concern, especially with data streaming over WiFi systems to mobile devices. It's not just the data that's subject to attack -- the devices and their operating systems also could be targets for hackers.

Rescue Lens uses an implementation of WebRTC to transfer video data with a server-client base operation, Zeinoun said. Both the session establishing procedure and the video streaming session use a version of Datagram Transport Layer Security, or DTLS, to ensure stream security, avoiding man-in-the-middle or similar attacks.

The SupportCam capability is built "with enterprise level security," Support.com's Gomatam said. Symmetric encryption keys specific to a remote video session are delivered to the end user and the agent sides of a connection over HTTPS. The data then is transmitted from the end user to Support.com servers AES-encrypted with this symmetric key.

Tying Videos to CRM Systems

"We've been trying to find better ways to work with customers forever," said Denis Pombriant, principal at Beagle Research Group.

Using video in CRM "is just the next thing," he told CRM Buyer, because it's "a good way to use your most expensive asset -- your people -- effectively. Staff can "apply their unique insights and people skills more effectively while letting your increasingly good automated systems handle easier stuff."

In fact, video could apply to all phases of front-office business, Pombriant suggested.

However, it would not be wise for software vendors to implement the technology into their offerings indiscriminately, he cautioned, because "If vendors don't first ask themselves about their customers' needs for this approach, we could see a lot of useless video-chasing unicorns."


Richard Adhikari has written about high-tech for leading industry publications since the 1990s and wonders where it's all leading to. Will implanted RFID chips in humans be the Mark of the Beast? Will nanotech solve our coming food crisis? Does Sturgeon's Law still hold true? You can connect with Richard on Google+.


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