Amazon and Google are undoubtedly the leaders in online customer service and their new developments in video chat integration have proven that there is a market for live video assistance. These companies understand the value of human interaction and the benefits it can bring to online shopping and customer support.

The Amazon Mayday button was introduced with the Kindle Fire HDX. When you tap the Mayday button you instantly get connected with an Amazon customer service representative. Amazon’s goal is to answer Mayday calls in 15 seconds or less, and as of April 2014 they were achieving a 9.75 second response rate.

When you connect with Amazon Mayday, you are able to see the Mayday support person live on your screen. The support person can see what you see on your screen, but they don’t see you. Once the support person has verified your identity and assessed your issue they guide you through features on your Kindle Fire by drawing on your screen and teaching you how to use the features yourself. Amazon Mayday support personnel have an option to take control of your screen and even change settings, but only after you give them your permission.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, equated the experience to going into a store for tech support. “If you go to some physical store location to ask for help for your device, they’re going to see everything,” said Bezos. “Getting good tech support isn’t easy, but it’s important,” he added.

Recently, Google followed suit with a live video chat service. Today it is available only to buyers of Google smartphones, tablets and Chromebooks but many experts believe that Google has a vision to bring Virtual Help Desk into physical stores. Similar to Apple Genius Bar concept, Google would have its Google Virtual Help Bar. I decided to experience it myself and had the following observations:

I didn’t end up buying anything from Amazon or Google this time but I was impressed by the overall customer experience these two companies provide.

Now let’s get back to the debate about the value. Scott Brown, Director of Customer Service at Amazon said, “When we set out to invent the Mayday button, we wanted to revolutionize tech support – and we’re happy to report it’s working”. For those who worry about the cost of having agents engaging in one-to-one video sessions, here are some key points to consider:

Which company is next to embrace this customer revolution? This could be yours!

SightCall Video Service can be easily integrated into your website and mobile applications for your customers to request assistance. Not only will you have the ability to talk to customers directly but you can use annotations to guide them through a purchase, share screens to understand the issue as the customer sees it, and save a recording of the session directly in your CRM or agent portal. You can customize the features to fit your business model.

Add a human touch to your online business and create a whole new customer experience.