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Transforming the Customer Experience with WebRTC

October 09, 2014

At the recent Oracle OpenWorld 2014 event, I had the opportunity to spend quality time kicking the WebRTC tires. This led to my conclusions as to why WebRTC is needed now in contact centers to improve the customer experience (CX).  And, when I say now, I mean ASAP.


The one thing that became apparent was that the WebRTC community is rightfully looking at contact center interactions as what industry analysts call, “the low-hanging fruit.” That said, I thought it would be instructive to give a short explanation as to why.  With a tip of the hat to Jim Donovan, Director Product Management, Oracle Communications, for sharing his insights in a fascinating session at the event, “WebRTC: What Is IT and Why are Enterprises Excited by It,” along with his and the Oracle Communications team’s patience for answering my questions, below are some observations about that question of why.

It really is all about enhancing the customer experience (CX)

The reason that WebRTC and contact centers are and should be perfect together starts with some basics. We already are at over 60 percent of the world’s browser being WebRTC capable. That number is growing thanks to the device explosion and the complementary explosion of applications and our reliance on them for business as well as personal use. In fact, we actually crossed the 1B WebRTC device threshold in Q1 2014 and projections are that by 2016 there will be over 4.2B devices with an anticipated active WebRTC user base of over 1.6B.

In short, much of the world even without the current support of Microsoft and Apple who hopefully will come to their senses and realize the value of having all the boats rise as the WebRTC tide rolls in, is going to be ready, willing and enabled to use WebRTC on devices. This will only continue to grow as those devices become the dominant interaction platforms of preference. 

Obviously, this includes for multiple and multi-media interactions between contact center agents and customers with in many instances other enterprise resources as enabled by such things as SIP trunking and unified communications (UC)  Indeed, in the emerging omni-channel environment that will be the modern contact center “E”vironment (whether premises-based, cloud or hybrid) the need to accommodate and integrate the full panoply of channels will be paramount, along with giving frontline people the tools they need to bring in additional resources and having deeper real-time access to customers’ context for interaction including their history/customer journey. That is where WebRTC becomes the perfect enabler for meeting present and future customer experience real-time interaction requirements.  

As Donovan and the team pointed out, there are two key areas where WebRTC really delivers for CX on two fronts:

  1. Screen sharing:   The ease of use in terrific. The benefits are the ability to improve the quality and speed of resolving customer questions thanks to the ability of incorporating addition channels into the mix if needed.
  2. Enhanced mobile experiences: Realities are that most mobile apps today do not have voice and video interaction capabilities beyond simple click-to-call. WebRTC enables what can be characterized as full engagement.  This means no call-backs required; the ability to share call context and simpler customer authentication as well as the leveraging of WebRTC’s media stack for embedded voice and video.

On the latter, the Kindle Fire’s Mayday is a prime example of just how much more responsive and agent can be.

Donovan also walked through an interesting explanation of myth versus reality that is of note when it comes to CX via WebRTC.  On the myth/current perception side of things, it was noted that: WebRTC inclusion does not mean adding cost by adding better live interaction capabilities, and does not mean ripping out existing infrastructure.  The realities are that:

  • WebRTC-based access will reduce inbound toll-free expense
  • Multi-channel via WebRTC can increase agent efficiency
  • Live support can complement self-service in well-built apps
  • Most customers do prefer multi-channel engagement options.

This really is a case where the bottom line is the bottom line. The use cases are starting to demonstrate WebRTC’s superior value to the customers and to the enterprises serving them. In fact, contact center implementations are what should drive WebRTC adoption out of the early adopter stage toward widespread use, and the reasons are simple. WebRTC enables full customer engagement in real-time on multiple channels and with multiple people if necessary, while also giving the contact center the tools and enables the creation of actionable data. This means tracking the customer journey from start to finish so that agent and channel effectiveness can be measured, deeper insights about levels of customer satisfaction can be gleaned and long-term customer engagement can be improved. 




Edited by Maurice Nagle

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