For many years, companies with global customer support operations could only dream of conducting voice communications with their customers directly through their web browsers. They have become tired of proprietary technologies that require time-consuming downloads and plug-ins that often crash because they have trouble serving real time communications. Since mid-2017, however, all major web browsers, including Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Mozilla Firefox, implement in-browser video and voice communications based on a set of open standard technology protocols and APIs called WebRTC, or Web Real-Time Communications, according to Computerworld. So now, with the dream made real, the sky is truly the limit for WebRTC.
Between 2014 and 2017, for example, the business adoption rate of WebRTC rose from 7 percent to 34 percent, per Aberdeen Group estimates reported in Destination CRM. The article also reports that the global WebRTC market will grow at a rate of 34.37 percent per year between 2017 and 2021. For global customer support, this growth portends a better contact center experience and a lower total cost of ownership (TCO). But how exactly will WebRTC in-browser voice communications work in global customer support? Let’s take a closer look.
WebRTC in Global Customer Support Scenarios
The way WebRTC is designed to work on a browser-to-browser, peer-to-peer basis opens up a wide variety of global customer support scenarios. Traditional contact center operations—typically the province of large enterprises—require a dedicated space with rows of cubicles, desktop phones, and on-premises call-routing equipment staffed by specially trained agents. But WebRTC-powered communications makes for a more flexible solution for smaller SMBs, such as one- or two-person tax preparation firms. In this scenario, a tax preparer with no special training in contact center solutions can receive voice communications directly from the firm’s website through click-to-call functionality routed straight to her PSTN line or smartphone and share screens to visually fill out tax forms.
Another customer support scenario substituting WebRTC voice communications for a legacy customer service approach involves personal banking. With many local bank branches disappearing and millennials, Gen Xers, and others having little interest in driving to branch locations, banks have been shifting toward online and mobile app financial services.
Not only can banks, credit unions, and other financial services providers enhance customer interactions and increase productivity by embedding real-time communications directly into a browser or mobile application, they can also gain the ability to use that app to engage consumers in new and different ways—whether through online chat or video conference—which can help them stay connected with customers. J.P. Morgan Chase and Barclays have already announced their support for WebRTC, and it won’t be long before this technology becomes standard, according to No Jitter.
WebRTC: A Critical Differentiator in Global Customer Support
While it’s typical for every customer-centric company to have an email address and phone number available for customer support inquiries, in today’s BYOD, omnichannel world, these contact details are not enough. With millennials, who often prefer to interact with companies through online communications, set to soon comprise the majority of the workforce, WebRTC video and voice communications have become a critical differentiator in serving customers on their own terms.
WebRTC enables businesses to embed specific rich communications as a cost-effective omnichannel methodology while allowing users to engage click-to-call technology from a web page or smartphone app for videoconferencing or voice communication. If the customer prefers, however, she does not have to engage with the contact center at all because WebRTC can enable self-service voice communications with AI-powered chatbots just as easily as with live agents in customer support channels.
Additionally, by providing the customer with as many ways as possible to communicate through his or her browser, WebRTC gives customer support a complete interaction history, which can be utilized for enhancing contact center integration with other business systems like CRM. With this integration, the contact center agent will be fully prepared to talk to the customer, programmatically engaging with the individual’s entire customer support history. WebRTC could be the customer support technology you’ve been needing to take your business to the next level.