Social media provides customers with a direct route to business for handling customer queries and understanding more about the organisation. In turn, organisations continue to use social media in a way that makes them more transparent to the wider market and increase their outreach. WebRTC has the capability and will begin to overthrow the likes of Facebook and Twitter in being the main connection between organizations and their customers. The relevance of social media will begin to decline and the demand for instant browser-to-browser communication will quickly rise.
By no means are we saying social media will become extinct or irrelevant but will become less relevant, in a similar way to emails. Consumers continue to use email for contacting the organisation in question but the initial method is social media. Social media allows a direct tweet or comment within the public domain. Organisations are pressured into responding to the comments due to their visibility to the wider community. Organisations can be seen as irresponsible or negligent if they don’t respond. However this method of communication is still not instant.
More often than not it is a social media expert who handles all queries through this method of communication rather than a customer care executive. Larger organizations will often have a customer service twitter feed but are rarely exposed to the wider community and subsequently have fewer followers. In addition, customers would still be required to be ‘in the club’ to be able to communicate via social media. Although this may be a minor barrier to entry it is still a barrier none the less.
WebRTC functionality provides a unique and open environment for all customers to instantly communicate with organisations to either complete purchases or have queries resolved. Customers are not required to be a social media user and will not be required to download flash or additional software to enter a WebRTC chat environment. The instant communication and ease at which customers can access the customer care or sales team is likely to hinder the effectiveness of social media. Consumers will no longer be required to take several steps (visiting social media website and then sourcing the correct feed/page etc.) to gain access to the organization.
It is also benefits the organization to encourage direct and private interaction with the customer. Any complaint can be kept private preventing potential and current customers from being exposed to negative viewpoints and experiences of other customers. At the same time, customers will not be exposed to the positive viewpoints of and experiences of other customers. At first this may appear like a double-edged sword with no scenario appearing more beneficial than the other. However negative views affect a customer’s perception more than positive views.
Marketing Land conducted a survey on over 1000 consumers to understand why consumers become disgruntled and how they feel their issue was resolved effectively. A significant 72 percent of respondents were especially frustrated by the amount of times they were required to explain their issue. This process may have led from the consumer making initial contact through social media to then be passed onto general customer services. The customer services team are likely to pass your query to a specialist team to ensure you receive the full service. However by this stage customers would have been kept waiting a significant amount of time with frustration levels increasing.
Whereas a real time browser to browser WebRTC tool instantly removes these issues and provides the customer with a direct route to resolve the issue. The easier and simpler the process of resolving issues, the more likely consumers are to complete a positive online review with:
“90 percent of customer purchasing behavior is influenced by online reviews.”
WebRTC will not replace social media… it is hard to see right now anything replacing social media and what it brings. But it will revolutionise social media in a way that it becomes less relevant for the customer service experience. This is likely to cause interaction and activity to drop, causing organisations to alter their strategy on how to communicate with customers using this method.
Do you see WebRTC and social media standing alone or as part of a wider communication strategy for organisations?
Laurence Chandler is the Marketing Manager at Drum Web Meetings who regularly shares his thoughts on the industry and WebRTC developments. He is more than happy to be contacted to discuss the industry in more depth. Drum Web Meetings is a tool designed using WebRTC to communicate within your browser.
Edited by Maurice Nagle