Article : What Is WebRTC And How Will It Impact Customer Service?
You're on a web site looking to buy a holiday. After registering personal details you search through flight/villa/car combinations for the perfect family break. But what about parking? Does the villa have wheelchair access? Does the insurance cover you for sailing? You probably have a million and one questions, many of them unique to your set of circumstances.
How much easier life would be if you could simply click on a single web page button and instantly connect to an adviser who knows who you are, what you’ve been searching for, your holiday preferences from previous bookings, and what feedback you’ve previously given. And how much better would that customer experience be?
Sounds like the contact centre of the future. But in fact it’s all possible today thanks to a new technology called Web RTC.
WebRTC, or Web Real-Time Communications, is a communications standard developed by the W3C and supported by Google, Mozilla, storm(R) and others. WebRTC allows Web browsers and other HTTP-based applications to send and receive real-time media with the aim of allowing browsers, mobile platforms, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices to communicate via a common set of protocols.
Using WebRTC-enabled applications, consumers can make audio or video calls from Web pages, with the media sent directly and securely from one device to another - and without the need for them to download an application or use a browser plug-in like Flash.
For software developers WebRTC is major news. It means they can now simply and securely integrate real-time communications into mobile and web applications and, like in the example above, interact with greater context, creating a much more efficient information exchange. It also means developers can control telecom and other comms applications without requiring detailed knowledge of telecom technologies and protocols. All they need is web development know-how.
WebRTC and customer service
One area where WebRTC is predicted to have a massive impact is customer service. And there has already been plenty of activity in this area.
As early as 2013, Amazon took live agent support to the next level with its WebRTC-enabled Mayday ‘video contact centre’ for Kindle HD users. Mayday is a single-click support solution that lets users work with remote tech support personnel to solve problems with their tablets. The service enables users to see the remote tech support people in a small window on their screens - and remote tech staff to see users’ screens on their computers. Remote staff can not only watch what users are doing online but also co-browse, annotate their screens and tap through their interfaces.
WebRTC developers have also been active in communications-enabling Customer Relationship Management applications - giving CRM users quick and easy access to live agent support via phone and web chat - as well as using WebRTC to integrate WebRTC with other media streams such as PSTN or SIP to provide more unified customer communications.
The success of these initiatives has already gone some way towards proving the potential worth of WebRTC to service operators. However, we’ve really only scratched the surface of what is possible.
Developers are now looking to use WebRTC to:
- Enable customers (or prospective customers) browsing a website, whether on a mobile device or at their computer, to initiate a chat or call with an agent by clicking a single button.
Turn text chats into calls or video chats by sending URLs to customers via text
- Launch Visual IVR apps (i.e. to send mobile users visual IVR trees that appear as apps on their devices)
- Create in-app customer service features (i.e. enabling app users to directly talk to - or web chat - an agent, without leaving the application or its context)
Integrate multiple data streams and share screens to facilitate greater collaboration - and even introduce augmented reality into the customer experience
- Combine client information with communications, enabling incoming calls initiated from a browser to be automatically matched with customer information such as personals details and account history
- Close the ‘context gap’ - i.e. the gap that exists when customers have to re-explain issues to an agent after providing the same details to another agent (via phone, email, web chat, text etc.) or previously entering them into an IVR, web site, CRM or other system
When it comes to creating faster, seamless and more personalised customer experiences, WebRTC is clearly a potential game changer.
ContactCenterWorld.com is the Global Association for Contact Center and Customer Engagement Best Practices and is the largest networking group for contact center industry professionals with over 145,000 professional members. Founded in 1999, ContactCenterWorld.com helps members improve service, performance, reduce costs, enhance sales and employee engagement.
About the Top Ranking Performer Awards
The annual Top Ranking Performer Awards was established in 2006 and is regarded by some as the Olympics of the contact center world as companies from all around the world compete for these prestigious awards and recognition. The 2016 awards are open already – details at www.ContactCenterWorld.com/worldawards
About the Top Ranking Performers Conferences
The annual Top Ranking Performer Conference was co-established in 2006 to run alongside the Top Ranking Performer Awards and is the most recommended industry conference in the contact center World. Delegates from all over the world attend and hear best practices shared by those who run centers. 4 events are run annually – one in Asia Pacific, one in Europe and 2 in North America – details at www.ContactCenterWorld.com/conferences
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About Martin Taylor:
A graduate from King’s College London, Martin worked as a futures analyst in Asia before returning to the UK to help launch Redwood Technologies (1993) and Content Guru (2005). Martin speaks regularly at international conferences and sits on the CBI Intellectual Property Committee and King’s College Department of Management’s Advisory Board.
About Content Guru:
Content Guru helps organisations to communicate better, enabling them to satisfy the increasing expectations of both customers and colleagues. Our innovative cloud-based technology reduces the cost and complexity of managing diverse channels of communication, making it easy for organisations to give people access to relevant information – whether that comes from a person or a database. By allowing people to use the channel of their choice and work from any location, we allow organisations to drive transformational service improvements while making the most of their existing technology.
Published: Monday, January 25, 2016