Could Google Helpouts For Businesses Take Customer Service To A Whole New Level?!
Have you heard of Google Helpouts?
If your business isn’t utilising the suite of tools that Google offers (Google Plus, Hangouts etc) it’s quite likely that you haven’t.
Launched in Autumn 2013 it’s the latest offering from Google – and with a bit of thought it might just give your business a whole new way to rock at Customer Service, as well as generate more qualified leads for your business.
So How Do Helpouts Work?
Not to be confused with Google Hangouts, though they use the same video platform, Helpouts is a way to offer your services to the public at large in a very simple, one to one video chat format. We all know that YouTube videos can be an excellent marketing tool but sometimes customers want the bespoke approach!
You may either offer these services for free, or charge for them using Google Wallet – it’s entirely your choice (and Google takes a 20% cut of the paid sessions). The Helpout sessions are either pre-booked by the user, or they can turn up ad-hoc and see who’s available to help at that particular time. Helpout experts are screened by Google, and if the user isn’t happy with the advice they receive on the Helpout Google offers a full money back guarantee. The people who’ve used an expert in a Helpout can also rate them, which of course helps other users see which experts are popular.
At the moment there are eight main categories : Art & Music, Computers & Electronics, Cooking, Education & Careers, Fashion & Beauty, Fitness & Nutrition, Health, and Home & Garden.
Over 1,000 businesses have signed up to offer Helpout experts, including Rosetta Stone, Weight Watchers and Asos.
Once the user is in a Helpout they can chat, share screens, and record the session for watching again later. The uses for this are many as you can imagine! It could be anything from a demo on how to do wedding day make-up, a walkthrough on how to install some new computer software, a personalised exercise routine, a cookery lesson, or how to house-train your puppy!
How To Give Rockstar Quality Help In Your Business!
You might be thinking that offering ‘tutorial ‘ style one-to-one video chats isn’t really applicable to your business at all.
Let’s think outside that thought balloon then!
How about using it to offer awesome customer service?
You know how it goes these days. Customer is unsatisfied with something your business has done. What happens next? Well it used to be that the customer would write to you to complain, or phone you up. Now, however they are far more likely to jump onto social media and have a rant – tagging your business, or posting it on your business’s Facebook Page for example – thus ensuring that all their friends, and your other customers get to see it too!
And we all know how much harder it is to defuse this type of situation in text – with no nuance of the spoken word to hear, or facial expressions to see.
So how about in such a situation you quickly get your customer services staff to hop on a free Helpout with the customer? Think of the benefits:
- It’s private. Just the customer and your staff member chatting rather than slugging it out in the public social media arena.
- It’s live and quick – there’s nothing a disgruntled customer dislikes more than a tardy customer services department!
- It’s personal. Most of the time a disgruntled customer just want to be listened to, by a real person, and given honest help. You’d be amazed how those three things (in such short supply in these days of the dreaded pre-recorded maze of self-select messages when you ring companies up) can quickly calm an irate customer down, and open the way for a quick resolution to be sorted out.
Of course a lot of the time this can be achieved with a phone call. But sometimes it’s just better to be able to actually be (virtually) face to face with a customer, and this is where Helpouts can offer another way to be of tremendous service to customers!
How Else Could Your Business Use Helpouts?
Here are some other ways that Helpouts could enhance your business :
If you sell technical products, or things which can be hard to figure out, you could offer a low-cost tutorial to help customers get to grips with what they’ve bought from you. For example ongoing tech support, installation, set up, how to get the best from it etc.
If you sell consulting you could use it to deliver a free taster-session, so prospects can get a feel for your expertise and what it would be like to work with you. For example career coaching, interview skills, public speaking preparation and practice.
And lots more….!
How To Get Started With Google Helpouts
The first step is to get approved as an expert and you’ll need to make sure that you have the following all in order :
- A Google+ account
- Computer or mobile device
- Webcam (built-in or external)
- Microphone (built-in or external)
Your Helpouts profile information is pulled directly from your Google+ account, so that needs to be optimised and business-like. Also remember that this is live video chat, so make sure your video set is lit adequately, and that your headphones and microphone are in good shape, and your background is congruent with the business you’re representing.
An Additional Path To More Customers, Referrals and Glowing Testimonials!
If you do decide to offer Google Helpouts in your business, realise that not only does it have the potential to expand your brand’s reach, but also it gives an additional way to get testimonials and new customers.
Doing Helpouts is a great route to introduce your products and services in a way that is helpful and not salesy, and show that you’re ready to offer great customer support – both of which will help build trust in your brand, and set you apart from your competitors!
It’s early days with Helpouts at the moment. Who can tell what Google has in mind for this service further down the road. But knowing how Google likes to join its services up, and remembering that it IS a search engine, it wouldn’t surprise us if sometime in the future Businesses offering Helpouts might just end up with boosted search engine optimisation, and being featured more prominently in the local search results than the businesses who don’t offer Helpouts.
Let’s wait and see. In the meantime of course there are lots of other customer attracting reasons to get helping out!