Apple Support for WebRTC Accelerates Customer Service

Apple support for WebRTC set to accelerate browser-based customer service – Stuart Dorman, Chief Innovation Officer, Sabio

webrtc.image.april.2016For the last couple of years we’ve been highlighting the potential of WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) – the Google-owned open source project that effectively turns the Web into a powerful open communication platform.

The ability to have customers making audio and video calls, sending IMs or posting documents, images and other media directly from their Web browsers will make for dramatically-different customer journeys. However, the fact that approaching a billion Apple users worldwide weren’t able to take advantage of WebRTC has meant that until now the technology couldn’t claim to be a universal solution.

That’s why the news this week that Apple is now developing support for WebRTC within its Safari browser WebKit spec is important for organisations looking to interact with the huge numbers of iOS and MacOS users out there.

Adding Apple’s support for WebRTC, it’s also reasonable to assume that we’ll now see acceleration in the development and deployment of the technology. According to research firm Disruptive Analysis, it’s likely that by 2019 there will be over six billion devices with WebRTC support already built-in.

From an engagement perspective, near universal support for WebRTC across consumer devices provides customers with the ability to initiate voice, video or collaborative interactions into the contact centre without the need for any additional software. No more annoying pop-up screen dialogs telling you to update Flash or load a new video codec, just interactions directly from your standard browser.

With audio and video communication built directly into the web browser, it becomes much easier to support ‘click-to-call’ or ‘click-to-video’ chat directly from apps, as well as more advanced features such as live product demos or remote video support. WebRTC opens up the prospect of embedded service right at the heart of the web browser. This makes increasingly smart sense with over 50% of customers already going online before engaging with a contact centre.

Given the likely acceleration of WebRTC, organisations need to move quickly to find out how embedding service options within their web pages can work for their customers. In addition to running a click-to-dial as your main point of online contact, now is the time to be running trial WebRTC-enabled services in your Customer Experience Labs – and considering the impact these innovations could have on your core contact environment.

For example, WebRTC customer sessions would route through directly to the agent desktop. Questions you need to consider include ‘are you resourced to support these kind of interactions?’, ‘is your contact centre environment appropriate for hosting video interactions?’, ‘do your agents have the right skills to support the sales opportunities available through more collaborative contact?’. Thinking about the answers to these questions will, I suspect, open up new kinds of sales engagement opportunities, with all customer-facing employees needing to get much better at story telling.

Organisations will also need to think about how they’re going to re-engineer their customer journeys to take greater advantage of WebRTC-enabled sessions. That’s where technology platforms such as Avaya Breeze – the next generation of the Avaya Engagement Development Platform – can help in making it easier to create entirely new customer experiences. With a range of snap-ins or Avaya Breeze applications available via the Avaya Snapp Store, you can quickly build workflows, customer journeys and other applications to create entirely new customer experiences via the browser.

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