Zoom adds video to the contact center

Zoom will add video to contact center interactions next year. The company said its Video Engagement Center would improve troubleshooting, build trust and automate everyday tasks.

Next year, Zoom will launch a video contact center product called Video Engagement Center.

Zoom unveiled VEC this week, saying it would improve customer service by adding video. The company announced the cloud-based product at its annual Zoomtopia user conference. Zoom plans to launch VEC early next year.

Zoom executives said video would help customer service agents troubleshoot client problems more quickly. The video capability allows everyone on a call to see the same thing -- customers can show the specific problem they have, rather than just describing it. During VEC calls, companies can use CRM software to retrieve and store customer data and automate workflow tasks like sending out satisfaction surveys after a call has ended.

Heidi Elmore, Zoom's head of UCaaS, said another benefit of video is letting consumers see a company representative's face rather than just hearing their voice.

"Video adds empathy [and] connection, and enables conversations with experts," she said during the Zoomtopia keynote presentation.

Gartner analyst Mike Fasciani said VEC would appeal to businesses in industries where trust is a critical component of customer service, like finance or healthcare. With video, a doctor, nurse or financial adviser can read body language to determine a client's emotional state and comfort level.

Zoom hopes to tap into a growing market. According to a January study by research firm Metrigy, 48% of 700 companies surveyed offered video customer interactions, and a further 9% planned to add such interactions by the end of 2021.

Metrigy analyst Irwin Lazar said many companies were simply launching regular Zoom meetings to handle customer issues. Having built-in CRM integrations and customizable workflows, as VEC does, will be more convenient for those firms, he said.

Zoom's Video Engagement Center
An example of a waiting room in Zoom's Video Engagement Center. The company plans to launch the product in 2022.

Zoom is not alone in seeing the benefits video can bring to the contact center, Lazar said. He noted that Vonage acquired TokBox and 8x8 purchased Jitsi to bring video capabilities to their contact center products.

The VEC is one way Zoom plans to build sustainable growth, Fasciani said. Zoom stock took a tumble late last month after announcing lower-than-expected earnings projections. Fasciani said the video meetings market had matured -- the companies that needed to adopt Zoom, Microsoft Teams or other video conferencing products in response to the pandemic have already done so.

"That huge wave has already crested, and now we're in a more stable place," he said. "We're not going to see the incredible growth that we saw in 2020 and the first half of 2021 again."

Mike Gleason is a reporter covering unified communications and collaboration tools. He previously covered communities in the MetroWest region of Massachusetts for the Milford Daily NewsWalpole TimesSharon Advocate and Medfield Press. He has also worked for newspapers in central Massachusetts and southwestern Vermont and served as a local editor for Patch. He can be found on Twitter at @MGleason_TT.

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