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Keep Your Customers Close with WebRTC

By Peg E. Ventricelli October 10, 2016

Customers are fickle. And now more than ever, customers are behaving that way because digital tools and easy Internet access to your competitors allow them to jump ship for the slightest inconvenience.

Your business goal should, therefore, be to keep them once you get them—once a potential buyer has landed on your website, or reached out to you on social media, or emailed you an inquiry. Which is why your communications system should act like a steel trap (but maybe one with velvet-covered teeth), responding to every twist and turn in the interaction with an equally strong service response.

Say, for example: A potential customer does a Google search to find a pizza joint that delivers locally. He’s hungry and wants quick service. Instead, he ends up in an IVR queue with a music loop playing in his ear. He hangs up in frustration and calls one of your competitors.

Luckily for this pizza-lover, the next pizza place provides a WebRTC-enabled chat service that allows him to circumvent busy phones and IVRs entirely. Soon, he’s chowing down on a pizza, with the works, from his new favorite pizza parlor.

That’s WebRTC—the latest real-time communications standard for Web browsers and Internet-enabled devices—at work, providing the capability to enable features in applications like chat, video calls, file transfer or desktop. Until recently, this kind of in-app interaction wasn’t really an option—at least not without the hassle of first downloading special software applications or browser plug-ins to make it all work.

Let’s take this pizza and WebRTC example a step further. Consider that the Pizza Hut franchise already uses WebRTC to enable Xbox Live users to order pizza right from that popular online gaming platform. Reports indicate that the Xbox 360 version of the Pizza Hut app sold $1 million in pizza, just in its first four months of operations. That’s a lot of happy customers who neither had to put down their controllers until the pizza delivery guy knocked, nor had the need to open the door to a Pizza Hut competitor.

Since customer satisfaction is at the heart of any business transaction, WebRTC is growing in popularity with businesses looking to improve the customer experience with their brands. Many products and services are delivering functionality that crosses seamlessly between Web and native applications—based on standard APIs that are developed in the open community, and very often powered by built-in code.

In fact, the 2015 “WebRTC State-of-the-Market Report” indicates that more than half of the IT managers surveyed have either already deployed WebRTC-based support/applications or are planning to do so within a year. Some estimates suggest that there are over 950 ongoing projects and companies that base their businesses on WebRTC with a 70 percent year-to-year growth rate.

This is what Google hoped to achieve when it first launched the WebRTC project six years ago, knowing that the standard would enable every device—despite its maker or type of operating system—to become a user-friendly Internet communications platform.

For end users, WebRTC applications should work right out of the box. No Java, no Flash, no Silverlight, just pure video, audio and data communication on any Web page. Consider how this can change the customer experience for a financial institution, for example, that deploys a WebRTC communications app on its website to allow users to quickly speak to a financial representative vs. wasting time on a call with an automated voice and an inefficient navigation menu. How many of us start those interactions by repeatedly thumbing the “0” or the “#” key, preferring just to get advanced into the “speak to a human” queue, anyway?

Remember, WebRTC is a technology, not a product. It efficiently reduces the complexities of digital communication. It requires no software installation, no new IDs and passwords, and no need to learn the nuts and bolts of an entirely new product before it can be used. Your customers will certainly appreciate that.




Edited by Alicia Young

Contributing Writer

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