Covid-19 created a generational change in our acceptance and use of video conferencing technology in both our business and social lives.
My weekly travel from Manchester to London has long gone, with most of my days now spent in my garden “office pod”, where in between Zoom or Team calls with colleagues or potential business leads, I type away on my computer.
The location we work from has changed for many people, with blended working between home and office becoming the norm. This has unfortunately impacted many of our high streets, with reduced walk-in traffic being reported by many high street agents.
Far from seeing this as the latest reason to predict the “Death of the High Street”, I see it as a driver that will force Highstreet agents to evolve their working practices to incorporate appointment-based video conferencing.
At homeworking business TSN, we have been working with video experts “U-SEE Technologies” to develop a bespoke video platform, that allows homeworkers to market their services via email, social media, or google “pulse” advertising to their local communities. The inquiries generated can be handled face to face or by phone, but increasingly customers are making appointments via the diary functions for Video conference calls.
Agents can pre-prepare for these video calls, storing documents, videos, quotes, or even links to websites, for ease of use. These aspects of the platform are invisible to customers and allow a much slicker/more professional fully branded service compared to the mass market video platforms.
Incorporating these same tools into shop-based selling could seamlessly extend opening hours and drive higher conversion by offering greater convenience.
A simple bold poster in the window promoting this always-open “Video Appointment” system, would allow the shop to generate inquiries from customers even when it’s shut. A QR code on the poster, when scanned by the customer's phone opens the shop meeting diary and asks the customer some simple qualifying questions. Date and times are then selected, giving the customer the convenience of a face-to-face consultation from the comfort of their home.
Some travel businesses already operate “out of hours” call center support to extend the opening hours of their shops, but there is always a natural conflict as shop staff don't want the leads, they generate, converted by other staff who take a large cut of their commissions. It would be interesting to see if these shop staff will be willing to jump on evening video appointments to complete bookings or generate fresh leads. A key advantage is that unlike call centers there is no need to spend idle hours waiting around as only pre-arranged and diarised calls need to be handled, making any time allocated to this work highly productive.
The U-SEE diary function is highly tailorable and links into your personal diary, behind the scenes, so that business appointment hours are automatically blocked, when kid pick up/drop offs or other social events pop into the diary.
There are numerous product extensions that will create Travel Video 2.0, such as QR stickers on brochures or specific posters/social posts promoting destination or product expertise e.g., New York Breaks, Safari’s, and Adventure holidays. However, partnerships with high-traffic locations such as train stations, and supermarkets to promote “face-to-face” holiday booking via video may be the big volume drivers.
Seeing a customer’s reaction and adjusting sales pitches on the fly, drives higher conversions. Combining this with appointment-based selling, reduces wasted time and boosts convenience for both the customer and the travel agent.
PS. If anybody wants to hear more from U-SEE simple message and I’ll send an appointment link!