Real Time Communications Featured Article

WebRTC and Real Time Communications are Evolving the Call Center

July 11, 2014

The call center is no more. In its place is the contact center, which encompasses the phone-based call center  -but now also often includes chat, SMS, email, social media communications and even, in the case of companies such as Amazon and its Mayday service, video communications.

Many call centers have already been transformed into contact centers, but the trend should pick up in pace thanks to the emergence of WebRTC.

Basically, WebRTC allows real-time voice and video connections between multiple web browsers without any plugins or third-party software. To initiate a voice or video call, a user only needs to have a recent version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Other browsers will be following suit, too.

The reason this changes things in the contact center is twofold.

First, it makes rich communication between customers and the contact center much easier. Currently, there is the issue of using the same platform when it comes to communications beyond simple calling, and technology gets especially challenging when it comes to video. But WebRTC makes it as simple as visiting a web page, which will drive adoption of the technology among customers.

Using WebRTC technology with friends and colleagues also will make rich, real-time communications something that customers start to expect.

The second big change from WebRTC will be the ease with which contact centers can operate. Currently, most contact centers still require a software platform and computer terminals, but with WebRTC agents can work from home or be more easily added to cubicle life at the contact center. This will improve agent performance and allow for contact centers to find better candidates.

Even before WebRTC changes the game within the contact center, however, real-time communications already is changing how customers interact with agents. It no longer is acceptable to merely provide call support. Customers are used to calling, texting, chatting and connecting with each other via social networks. They expect the same from the companies they buy from.

Savvy companies are realizing this and wowing customers by using real-time communications to raise their customer service above and beyond the competition. One good example is Amazon and its Mayday service, which is video chat built right into its Kindle devices.

Most businesses are not going as far as Mayday, but they still are delighting customers and differentiating themselves by being able to respond by SMS and through social media.

A friend of mine recently complained on Twitter about a soap product she wanted being out of stock at the local store. The company saw the tweet and sent her a free bar of the soap from its warehouse. You better believe this friend is now a customer for life.

This type of interaction is the future of the call center.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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