WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communications) is a capability built into modern desktop browsers like Firefox, Chrome, Opera, or Microsoft Edge (Windows 10's new browser). It brings access to fantastic features that easily let consumers set up voice, data, and video interactions with companies at the click of a button. Smartphone users are also able to take advantage of WebRTC right from within downloadable apps.
In the enterprise world, WebRTC provides companies the opportunity to have a warmer interaction with customers. Video calls are a friendlier and more convenient way to communicate with contact center agents and with WebRTC they can now be implemented by financial services institutions, airlines, or any large enterprise. The end result is significantly reduced customer effort required to speak with a representative. WebRTC also makes implementation very easy because it's already integrated in most modern web browsers.
Let's say you're a bank customer who just received a credit card statement. As you're looking through the list of most recent transactions, you come across something that looks like it could be fraudulent. You decide to contact the bank for help and notice there's a button right on your screen labelled ‘Talk to an Agent'. By clicking a single button, you're connected with an agent who has access to all the information you see while you're logged in. The agent can speak to you using the microphone and speaker on your computer. If you grant them permission, you can even have a two-way video chat session.
The beauty of this interaction is the fact you don't have to go through all the steps of phoning the contact center. That would have first involved looking on the back of your credit card for the support number. Then, you'd have to go through the automated system asking you to press the correct button to speak with an agent. Finally, you would have to identify yourself and provide authentication to prove you are the authorized account holder.
By simply clicking on a button from within your web browser, you can be brought right to an agent who sees the complete context of your issue. They will then be able to act appropriately with an unparalleled level of insight. It's a very high tech way of simplifying the connection between the customer and the institution.
Spurring Broader Adoption
The functionality for point-to-point communications is already out there and the required bandwidth is widely accessible. For example, in a one-to-one situation you can initiate a voice or video call fairly easily. The challenge arises if you're a large multinational bank that required the ability to serve 10,000 simultaneous customers. A substantial amount of work needs to be completed in order to mediate the required connectivity and assure the voice/video streams are transmitted smoothly.
Another current barrier to wider adoption is the construction of the required infrastructure. In some cases, it has to be installed in parallel or replace some of the already existing infrastructure. It also takes significant work to figure out how to build the network to make sure it works reliably. The end result needs to be high quality, effective, and efficient. Building infrastructure that works every time for end users is what's most important.
Yes, WebRTC will change the way we communicate. In some instances it is already doing so. As adoption of the technology grows in the enterprise space, organizations will seek to use the improved customer experience as a key differentiator to competitors. Will you be ready?