WebRTC World Feature Article

November 29, 2012

Does WebRTC Have a Future in Customer Service?

While the ability to make voice and video calls from a Web browser has been around for some time, they haven’t exactly revolutionized customer service. While users of Internet-based voice and video media are quite dedicated when it comes to peer-to-peer communications, the impetus simply hasn’t been there for the online consumer, largely because using these technologies required them to download something to enable them to work. Most consumers find it simply not worth it when they can pick up the phone and call a company’s call center.

Enter WebRTC, a new standard that allows users to make voice and video calls natively from a browser with no need to fetch a plug-in or download client software, such as Skype or Facetime. Needless to say, WebRTC, which runs thanks to simple Javascript APIs embedded in browsers, may have a brilliant future in the customer service industry, allowing shoppers or customers to simply click to call or receive video-based support from a call center or help desk agent.

Why “may have”? Because in-fighting among industry heavyweights could deal WebRTC a knockout punch before it ever finds its way into the enterprise, according to blogger Brian Riggs writing for the website IT Connection.

These predictable industry heavyweights include Google, which has voiced enthusiastic support for WebRTC, as have browser players such as Mozilla and Opera. Dragging its feet a bit is Microsoft (which owns Skype), expressing cautious approval for WebRTC providing some changes are made to the standard. The big hold-out is Apple, which thus far has not indicated it would support furthering WebRTC.

“If WebRTC can garner greater support among the leading browser developers, and if concessions made to garner the support of Microsoft and others does not irreparably fracture WebRTC – and if browsers with native real-time communications features ride BYOD’s coattails into the enterprise, then corporate IT department will begin to see WebRTC impacting them,” writes Riggs.

If not, it’s anybody’s guess what will ultimately happen to WebRTC.

Call centers, in particular, will see advantages with WebRTC, allowing them to service customers in new and more personal ways with little effort on the part of the customer. Companies will be able to provide customers with what they need when they need it, be it an instant messaging session, a face-to-face demonstration via video, or a well-timed click-to-call phone call that can improve the customer experience on the spot, also helping improve conversion rates and upselling.

Edited by Brooke Neuman


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