If a picture’s worth a thousand words, how many instruction manuals and FAQ web pages could be replaced by simple visuals? Now that field service operators have access to mobile tools, they’re taking advantage of video capabilities during installations, troubleshooting and customer communication.

Video is more than face-to-face interaction; the feature allows the agent to see a user’s screen and, in some cases, draw on top of it. “Both sides can point to things making it a superb added value versus in the usual telephone call scenario, where most of what is needed to be understood is lost in the conversation or it takes too much time to get to the root of the problem,” Alex Gouaillard, CTO of Temasys Communications, tells CITEworld.

Here’s a look at how service techs are using video to improve their work — and, ultimately, customer service — in the field.

For Highly Mobile Communication

Last year Salesforce rolled out Service SOS, a Service Cloud feature that gives users of any supported Android and iOS apps access to human support via video calls. Philips and Stanley Black & Decker are among companies already using the SOS button in their customer-facing applications.

For Documentation

U.K.-based James Automation designs, installs and services automatic gates and doors. Service techs use videos to record and document their work. If a customer has a damaged lock, for instance, the service tech will take a video of the damage prior to repairing it.

For an Extra Set of Eyes

Technicians at San Diego-based Sullivan Solar Power use Google Glass this year while they install and repair solar panels, according to The New York Times. They turn on the device during an inspection and consult co-workers back in the office for troubleshooting. The company created its own software to show techs pertinent information on Glass, such as the electrical characteristics of a certain roof.

For Screen Sharing

Amazon — not technically a field service company, but definitely on the cutting-edge of customer service — offers some lessons for creating video applications. The e-commerce giant introduced a “Mayday” button on its Kindle Fire tablet that summons a human tech support representative to users’ screens. The representative also can access the users’ screen, cutting down on the time it takes to solve a problem.

For Interactive Instruction

Dell provides useful content for its business customers at Google Hangouts on topics ranging from migration to Windows Server and IT management. Most of its 50-plus hangouts focus on customer service, allowing viewers to troubleshoot technical problems.

For Enhanced Assistance

HVAC providers are testing Resolution Tube, an app that uses augmented reality to help them fix broken machines. Workers using the app can access files and information about the products they’re fixing, snap photos and get instant feedback from colleagues, and connect with teams via video.

For Reference Guides

Business cloud communications company Nextiva created a YouTube channel where they post videos in response to tweets, questions, support issues and inquiries from customers. In addition to winning points for customer interaction, Nextiva gets the added benefit of creating reference materials for future customer questions.

What are some other uses for video technologies in field service?