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How WebRTC Benefits Call Centers
August 23rd, 2017

How WebRTC Benefits Call Centers

Ian Linton

WebRTC, which stands for Web Real-Time Communications, is a technology that enables call centers to improve the quality, scope and productivity of their customer service operations without investing i...

WebRTC, which stands for Web Real-Time Communications, is a technology that enables call centers to improve the quality, scope and productivity of their customer service operations without investing in additional software, plug-ins or other infrastructure elements.

The technology enables both the caller and call center agent to make and receive voice and video calls and other types of messaging from within their web browsers, rather than using dedicated software or services.

This enables WebRTC to support the four scenarios typically found in the call center:

  • Click to talk, where customers communicate with agents using the WebRTC capability of their browsers.
  • Conventional customers call on landline or mobile phones. Agents take the calls on WebRTC-enabled browsers.
  • Agents use WebRTC to call customers or prospects directly from a browser-based CRM (customer relationship management) system, with no need for physical phones.
  • Agents use WebRTC to proactively contact customers and prospects who are visiting a company website, offering help or additional information.

WebRTC is now regarded as a mature technology that is supported by all major browsers, including Safari, which was a latecomer to the change. While enterprise adoption or consideration is growing strongly – up to 69 percent of respondents compared to 56 percent a year earlier, according to the 2015 WebRTC State of the Market survey – call centers represent the fastest growth sector.

Driving this growth are a range of cost, operational, productivity and customer service benefits that are accelerating the evolution of the call center. Find out all the ways webRTC benefits call centers below.

Cost savings

One immediate benefit of using WebRTC in the call center is cost saving. Agents no longer need dedicated desk phones or softphones to handle calls. Making and taking voice and video calls are now browser functions. Businesses do not have to invest in hardware or software or incur the cost of managing and maintaining equipment from different vendors.

To take the cost savings further, call centers and vendors are looking at solutions that combine VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) call center functionality and CRM technology in a single integrated service. The thinking behind this approach is that the Web provides a common platform for both CRM and VoIP, and WebRTC can be integrated into the solution.

Already, a number of vendors have recognized the potential and released CRM solutions with call center functionality. Although the call center functionality is limited compared to dedicated software, the combined solution appeals to businesses with simpler call center requirements.

Scalability

The use of browser technology also makes WebRTC call center solutions very scalable. It’s quick and easy to add new permanent or temporary agents without installing new equipment or software and incurring further set-up or licensing charges.

For businesses that want to set up new call centers to provide a local service in another part of the country or in an export territory, WebRTC provides a fast, simple solution that offers rapid start-up for minimal investment.

Combining WebRTC with VoIP from the cloud makes it easy for businesses to manage multiple call centers from a central location and provide a consistent set of services across the network.

Operational flexibility

WebRTC increases call center flexibility. Because WebRTC reaches any location, agents can work from home or any other location with Internet access. Agents are no longer tied to the main call center.

That means supervisors can eliminate over provisioning by supplementing the core team with remote agents in line with traffic demands. They can also bring in specialists to handle more complex customer service issues or inquiries. If necessary, they can set up virtual call centers with remote agents handling out-of-hours calls and providing other services.

This level of flexibility makes it possible to reduce the cost of hiring full-time agents and providing facilities for a large central team.

Productivity

A WebRTC deployment can improve agent productivity. Agents no longer have to switch devices if they want to move a call from voice to video collaboration or any of the other channels supported by WebRTC.

This technology also supports self-service applications, enabling customers to get answers to simple queries without having to make a phone call. That improves convenience for the customer and reduces the workload of the call center team, improving productivity and giving agents more time to concentrate on more complex inquiries or problems.

WebRTC can also improve productivity in the IT department. Technicians are freed from the burden of managing, maintaining and upgrading multiple devices and services to handle different types of call.

More options for customers

Customers and prospects want to contact call centers by a communication channel of their choice, which could be a phone call, video conference, call from a mobile, Instant Message, email, chat or text.

WebRTC makes these options available to callers through their web browser and enables call centers to handle the range of communications in an equally simple, cost-effective way. This improves convenience for customers and can help to increase customer satisfaction.

WebRTC capability can be posted on a website, replacing earlier click-to-dial widgets. The new technology improves convenience for customers because they do not have to leave the web browser and switch to a phone or other device. This facility works equally well on a smartphone using either iOS or Android operating systems.

Increased interaction

Video sessions delivered via WebRTC help build more collaborative relationships. Agents can create a more personal face-to-face experience which improves relationships.

A video conference can be useful when callers need to hold more detailed discussions on a technical problem or want to find out more about a product or service before buying. It can also help outbound sales teams demonstrate products more effectively, increasing opportunities for growing additional revenue.

Video delivered over WebRTC eliminates problems of incompatibility that have acted as barriers in the past. Despite the simplicity of the solution, video quality over WebRTC is higher than the equivalent results when Flash is used as the delivery mechanism.

Supporting higher-value customers

Although WebRTC allows wider use of video conferencing in the call center, businesses can use its capabilities to differentiate service and offer higher-value services to more important customers.

For example, a financial services firm might offer one-to-one consultancy or advisory services on investment or taxation to its higher net worth clients. A technology firm could provide its largest enterprise clients with a dedicated service, such as a virtual CIO or CTO to advise on IT strategy or investments. WebRTC enables direct real-time communications between clients and advisers in the client’s channel of choice.

Converting visitors

Real-time communications help call center sales teams move prospects from a website into the sales funnel. By reviewing the website analytics on a CRM system, agents can identify buying signals. Using information such as the initial search term, the length of time on specific pages, downloads, and requests for further details, agents can plan follow-up actions to capture warm prospects.

They can either use WebRTC technology to follow-up immediately, contacting the visitor and making a special offer or providing further information, or move the prospect to a marketing automation program with regular relevant offers.

Keeping visitors on site

Adding WebRTC facilities to a website improves convenience for customers. It also encourages visitors to stay longer on a website, rather than making a quick exit and visiting a competitor’s site. And, it can promote real-time interaction with the call center, helping to build relationships and increasing opportunities for sales and enhancing customer satisfaction.

Self-service options

Many customers do not want or need to speak to an agent; they simply want to gather information from a website before making a buying decision. By setting a WebRTC facility on the website, call centers can provide an option on the IVR system that routes callers to the site where they access helpful information via their browsers. This can take the form of frequently asked questions, useful tips, articles, instructions, how-to videos as well as diagnostic tools for service websites.

The WebRTC feature can also include a chat or contact facility so that customers can request additional help. Agents can monitor visitors’ activities and contact them if they appear to be struggling with navigation. Using text or chat, the agent can offer the visitor advice on suitable content without getting into detailed discussions.

The self-service feature can be used for routine administrative tasks that tie up call center staff, such as account openings or registrations. For account openings that require identity verification, call centers can use WebRTC video sessions, allowing customers to present their identification visually. This saves the customer the inconvenience of visiting a branch or scanning and forwarding documents.

Evolving the call center

WebRTC makes an important contribution to the evolution of the call center. It enables businesses to offer a wider range of services and contact options without major investment. The technology helps meet the demand for real-time communications and a faster, more efficient response to customer inquiries. The wider range of services and the convenience of self-service help increase customer satisfaction and provide differentiation and a strong competitive advantage.

The technology also provides operational and cost benefits. Businesses can deploy new services, scale their operations or set up new call centers quickly, with minimal investment. And WebRTC can improve agent productivity by giving the team access to all communication tools in a single browser-based interface. Self-service facilities reduce demand on call center staff, allowing them to focus on higher-value and more complex calls.

Given all the way WebRTC benefits call centers, it’s no surprise that 90 percent of respondents to the 2015 WebRTC State-of-the-Market Report believed WebRTC has the potential to improve contact center services.


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