The video enabled contact center: Give me an agent beyond the uncanny valley

There’s been a lot of talk about the video enabled contact center, be it on the front end IVR or the agent desktop. In the future IVRs may employ video interactions rather than forcing the caller to use a telephone keypad. Similarly, when the call arrives at the agent desktop, the video capability is used to help the agent see what the caller sees — a useful feature especially in troubleshooting.

As Jeff Dworkin of Dialogic also points out:

This is the case that Eric Krapf of makes a great case for in his blog a few weeks back.  That is ability for callers to show live videos to agents can improve agent effectiveness in certain support situations, including providing emergency assistance and solving a customer’s problem with installation-related tasks.  The ability for the customer to show and point creates a much more collaborative situation for problem solving than just describing alone.

Or more passively, via recorded video:

With the ability for callers can record to upload videos to show agents what they are seeing, the customer/agent interaction can still take place, but it can happen asynchronously, rather than in real time.  This also is a great form of record keeping.  The caller can provide the video, but the agent and then tag and file it based on their criteria rather than by the criteria provided by the customer.

For example, in situations in which callers are making damage claims for insurance purposes, they can upload a picture of the damages to the Customer Service Representative (CSR). This can alleviate the need for multiple adjustor visits, and can thus create a significant cost savings for the company.

But what I think is going to be the killer app in a video enabled contact center? A software to turn the average contact center agent into an image resembling Angelina Jolie (or any other person deemed attractive) in real-time. An angry male caller is likely to calm down when faced with Angelina Jolie over a video phone, right (as long as the animated agent is beyond the “uncanny valley“)? Bonus for customer stats! Better yet, if the software has an algorithm to sift through customer data to determine what type of facial features a particular caller may find attractive, then expect to see customer satisfaction scores shoot through the roof!

The technology is definitely available, especially in animation studios. Nobody has applied it to video telecom and the contact center yet. Celebrities (and other good looking people) could also license their likeness to contact centers. Win-win!

(Well, I suppose the drawback may be that call volume would also shoot up because there will be callers who’ll abuse this and think they’re calling a dating line. There will also be party spoilers…)


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