Rich Media ROI?
"Does rich media—specifically, video how-to clips—really
help resolve support issues? We're thinking about adding video to
our knowledgebase, but it's so expensive that we want to be sure
there's a positive ROI before we go ahead."
—Heidi from Heightstown
McAfee has found video tutorials to be an extremely effective and
popular supplement to its KB articles. We now have a dedicated
producer creating videos for all our top Consumer product line issues.
The ROI is great if you keep the video creation in-house. Look into
Adobe Captivate or Camtasia Studio (techsmith.com) if you are
addressing software technical issues. Both are good for screen and
audio capture, and easy to learn.
Knowing that some people learn best by seeing, and that a visual
representation of a solution can only add clarity, rich media is a
Consumer Support Product Manager
Palm made semi-pro videos for support before the Web 2.0 video-boom.
They had a modest response but were created at a low cost by
enthusiast film-maker staff. The cost of bandwidth was dealt with
by using an early peer-to-peer player, Kontiki. Kontiki has gone on
to bigger things such as hosting BBC iPlayer video content.
My personal theory on video howtos is that they are useful if put
into a leveraged distribution channel such as YouTube. There are
specialized howto channels such as VideoJug for step-by-step content.
The downside of YouTube is that channels for a specific company tend
to be associated with marketing content; look at www.youtube.com/htc
for an example. So if you post support videos in a branded channel,
it might be perceived that your product is more about problems than
about excitement and quality. So I believe in posting video on your
own site but also posting it in open channels where it can be copied,
linked to, embedded, tagged and otherwise freely distributed. Unless
you cheapskate on production, you are unlikely to get flack from
I have examined the videos on the iRobot support site carefully.
Roomba vacuums sit on their back like turtles while various
maintenance procedures are shown. There is a lot of subtlety to this
set of movies. Transcribe the script, watch the lighting, note the
hand movements, observe the quality and movement of the hands, and
listen to the voice talent. This is not an exercise for those with
little time on their hands.
In a cheaper vein, look at www.expansys.com and their low cost
method of asking customers to suggest video associated with a
product offering. Some are support, some are reviews. There is no
representation of professionalism. This is pure web 2.0 sharing.
Conversely, Dell Community site is a model of high end video
production posing as casual commentary by Dell staff—itís a
Regarding ROI, I believe you have to account for substantial internal
video production preparations (authoring and editing scripts,
sourcing equipment, vetting voices, legal review etc) and brand
oversight. A poor video could badly impact your brand. With regards
to support ROI, the video should have a locally hosted usage ROI and
a Web 2.0 usage ROI. The latter is hard to measure but you will see
the effects in contact volumes via indirect measure. The type of
issue covered by a video is key to ROI; you must produce something
worth watching. The payback has to be there for the customer. You
should not make a video for anything that is short or obvious like
removing a battery door. Make sure it is something that would strain
the patience of a customer; for example, if they had to read more
than about 7 steps to accomplish the goal or if text description
fails to achieve to goal. I also see value in videos to accompany
the out-of-box experience—finding suitable USB hookups on a PC,
attaching cables, best method of installation and configuration etc.
Director of Knowledge Management
[If you have any other advice on this question, please send an
email to membership director Jane Farber at firstname.lastname@example.org,
and we'll post your feedback.]