Whether it’s polyester leisure suits or rotary phones, times change and preferences evolve. But one thing remains the same: contact center challenges.
Modern times mean modern issues. The year 2020 saw the advent of a pandemic that’s had lasting effects on how Americans work, play, live, and communicate. This was followed by worldwide supply chain woes and The Great Resignation, impacting how (and whether) consumers obtain goods and services.
Even new technology has the potential to wreak havoc. While the lockdown inspired the proliferation of new platforms, our increased connectivity can leave consumers vulnerable to cyberthreats, identity theft, and more.
How can contact centers respond? With increased trust and reliance on WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communications) for inbound customer contact–and more.
WebRTC: The Real Deal for the Real World
Just as the name suggests, WebRTC gives websites and mobile applications the ability to communicate in real-time via APIs. This enables real-time chat, voice, and video to be embedded in common, everyday browsers without plug-ins or downloading native apps.
WebRTC allows apps developed for browsers, mobile platforms, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices to communicate via a common set of protocols for fast, easy data transfer.
My company was one of the first to adopt WebRTC more than a decade ago, and we have a firsthand understanding of the benefits the technology delivers.
Having embraced the technology from the beginning, it’s gratifying to see how it’s taken hold and taken off. Considering the advantages, it’s really no surprise.
WebRTC has endured the test of time for several key reasons:
- WebRTC is fast. Just under 500 milliseconds-to-delivery fast. In fact, WebRTC is the fastest internet protocol available. This makes WebRTC ideal for speed-critical endeavors, as well as efficient transfer of data for scripting and other agent/customer interactions.
- WebRTC is secure. WebRTC is built for security from the ground up. Because of its real-time nature, encryption isn’t just mandatory, but also enacted in triplicate via three encryption specifications. This ensures that sensitive data is safeguarded from end to end, adding peace of mind for customers, whether they’re making a purchase or disclosing medical information.
- WebRTC works anywhere: Since the rise of the necessity for flexible work environments in 2020, work from home is now work from anywhere.
- WebRTC enables contact center employees to work in-center or at-home with reliable connectivity and security in just a few clicks. No supercomputers or softphones are needed, saving on hardware costs, as well as time and energy to train employees for these devices.
- WebRTC also allows supervisors to monitor agent/customer interactions to foster excellence and help centers hit key metrics.
- WebRTC is affordable. Part of WebRTC’s staying power is its infinite affordability. WebRTC continues to be a low-cost option, making it attractive to contact centers worldwide.
Real + Artificial: The WebRTC/AI Connection
In addition to being compatible around the world, WebRTC works hand in hand with artificial intelligence (AI). AI depends on resilient, reliable technology to create accurate data with no lags or jitters, and its benefits, as outlined below, are as broad and compelling as those for WebRTC.
Our customers have little patience for long waits, multiple handoffs, and unresolved issues. It only takes one bad experience to send them headed for the hills–or another provider. We are always cognizant of this fact.
With WebRTC, AI enhances agents’ superpowers while improving the performance of the contact center…
Fortunately, AI maximizes existing teams’ strengths, and this is a big help considering the tight labor market. I recently read Gartner’s 2021 Technology Roadmap Survey, and learned that more than 65% of customer service and support leaders are optimistic about the value that AI can provide, and plan to substantially increase their adoption of AI capabilities over the next two years.
Furthermore, new research conducted by The Harris Poll revealed that improved customer experience (CX) is now the most frequently cited driver of AI implementation decisions, above cost reduction and the ability to drive top-line revenue.
Advanced technology solutions are not new to the contact center industry; call-routing and IVR systems have been in use for decades. But today’s AI-powered options are taking the CX to new heights.
With WebRTC, AI enhances agents’ superpowers while improving the performance of the contact center and increasing customer satisfaction.
There are many ways AI is used in WebRTC to strengthen agent performance and improve processes.
- Personalization. Tailoring the experience based on information that the platform has learned about the caller/user.
- AI-based customer routing. The ability to match customers with the best resource or agent.
- Chatbots and Conversational Assistants. Interacting with customers, either by text or voice, taking care of simple and/or repetitive issues, and freeing up contact center representatives to focus on more complex assistance needs.
- Workforce management. Data analysis capabilities that help predict when agents and resources are needed.
- Post-call wrap-up. AI assists representatives in entering call-action summaries and wrap-up codes.
Leveraging WebRTC allows contact centers to augment AI, empower agents, increase security, and speed data transfer. The result: streamlined processes, better customer experiences, and stronger customer/brand relationships.
Managing Multiple Platforms and Systems
Now more than ever, people want their communications their way. A single company may have several different communication systems to manage, such as email, fax, SMS, chat, voice, and video, each with their own logins and even hardware, such as phones and computers.
Previously, the necessity of agents logging in and out of platforms to switch channels or changing phones and computers midstream would require additional staff, time, and training, making scaling and equipment management difficult.
With WebRTC-enabled ACDs, contact centers can rely on a single skillset for all media to serve up any type of communication.
As long as they have an internet connection, they’re in business. Agents stay busy, supervisors have visibility across the entire network, and contact centers can rely on the platform’s ranking system to automatically route the media to the next best available agent when callouts occur.
And should disaster strike, WebRTC enables agents and supervisors to readily connect to the applications and manage them from anywhere, without being dependent on onsite servers. (Provided that your staff are in safe locations and have both power and connectivity).
WebRTC is a win-win for the vendors that use it and the contact centers they work with. It is another example of how human ingenuity can pair with optimal technology to deliver exceptional results. It’s like I say with our teams and our clients, we are all better together.