How to choose a visual engagement tool?

According to Frost and Sullivan, visual engagement tools have been one of the disruptive technologies of 2020. Studies have shown again and again that customers prefer visual engagement, like video calls, over other channels like chat and voice. This was true pre-Covid, but the pandemic has made strong visual engagement a must for all brands. 

However, with so many tools out there, it can be hard to find the right one for your business. Here are three easy steps to help you make a decision. 

1. Evaluate your needs 

What are you using visual engagement for? Are you a fully remote company that relies on visual engagement for everything you do, both internally and externally? In that case, you need tools that let you replicate everything you would be doing face-to-face, from meetings to annotating contracts. 

Or maybe your business doesn’t use video at all, but you occasionally have to interact with customers online and deliver paperwork digitally. You might be fine with some simple, free document annotation software. 

2. Define your must-haves

Once you generally know what you’re looking for in a visual engagement tool, it’s time to define your must-have features. What are the key elements of visual engagement you can’t live without?

The answers will be different for every business, but some industries have clear dealbreakers. For example, the insurance industry has stringent compliance regulations. Any tools that don’t meet these criteria can’t be considered. 

Here are a few points to consider… 

  • Integration: How well do the visual engagement tools you’re evaluating integrate with your existing communications stack?  
  • Device & Browser Support: Does the solution support mobile apps on Android and iOS? Does it work as a desktop app? Is it compatible with most browsers? Tools with a wide range of supported devices and browsers are more versatile. 
  • Security: Does the tool you’re looking at include field-masking and other critical security features?
  • Compliance: This is a broader, industry-specific implication of security. The solution must meet all compliance and regulations regarding the security, auditing,  and use of individual data. This is an absolute must in highly-regulated industries.
  •  Speed: Speed is a key factor in CX. Some tools, like co-browsing, are optimized for speed. Others, like screen sharing, generate lag by design. 

3. Try some tools

Finally, once you know what you’re looking for and have narrowed your list of potential tools, you should take some of them for a test drive. Like most software, visual engagement tools usually offer free trials or a freemium version. 

For example, you can try Surfly for 14 days for free! 

How to choose a visual engagement vendor

Choosing the right visual engagement tools is about more than features and functions. You’re entering into a business relationship with a vendor. Getting this match right is as important as any feature of the digital tools you choose. 

  • Customer service: Evaluate the vendor’s policies like you would any feature of their product. Ask yourself how interacting with them makes you feel. A good vendor will make you feel looked after and understood, not like one client of many. 
  • Culture fit: Do the vendor’s values match yours? Do you have similar business goals? 
  • Cost: The pricing of products varies according to the type of visual engagement and usage plans, and it is important for organizations to pick the best-suited model to avoid massive overspending. Some providers’ price plans force organizations to pay for functionality they do not want.
  • Customer References: What do customers have to say about the vendor? Ask around. Read reviews.
  • Marketing value of your vendor partnerships: Does the vendor in question offer something cutting-edge that you’d be excited to announce on your blog, or are they just helping you fulfill a basic need? There’s no right or wrong answer here, but it’s worth thinking about whether you’re looking for innovative technology you can brag about or just trying to get the job done. 

To find out more about visual engagement tools and to understand which tool your business should invest in 2022, you can access the full Frost and Sullivan report for free.