In order to better support customers online, the telecoms firm 3’s Swedish branch Tre.se has just launched an innovative video chat platform called 3LiveShop, an online shop with sales persons.
3 have humanised the interaction so that it feels more like a face-to-face conversation supported by technology. As established in my thesis, explicit information and clear goals are generally very well-suited for online communication (for example with software rather than people), whereas when the information is more tacit and the goals are unclear, it is much easier to communicate face-to-face. Therefore, combining the best of both worlds, i.e. technology and face-to-face, is an excellent way of enabling better interactions, and in 3’s case, therefore perhaps more sales and better customer care.
Providing the economics of this is viable in the long term, I think this could be a sign of a new trend in the making within customer support and online shopping. It can be generally said, at least, that physical and virtual worlds are converging as technologies are becoming more sophisticated and ubiquitous, and that this includes vast business possibilities.
See the 3’s video about it (never mind the horrendous Swedish accents and the sales lingo):