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4 ways WebRTC will boost the power of contact centers

Tsahi Levent-Levi, Consultant,, special to Network World | Jan. 7, 2016
WebRTC enables web browsers to support voice and video calling without special software on the client.

Contact centers continue to evolve rapidly and a relatively new technology, WebRTC, promises to make it easier than ever to enhance customer support by enabling users of web browsers to support voice and video calling without downloading any client software.

How does WebRTC fit into the contact center mix? Here are four ways WebRTC will play out in the contact center space 2016:

1. Caller uses WebRTC from a website.  When WebRTC was developed, most use cases focused around video conferencing (competing with Skype) and click-to-dial widgets for websites.  The click-to-dial widget approach assumed that if surfers were already on a website and a channel of communication was already open, why divert users to another, external channel (the phone)?

While call widgets were relatively popular, adoption wasn’t particularly high because the feature was supported by only some browsers (Internet Explorer and Safari still lack WebRTC support) and users had to deal with laptop microphones which they rarely (if ever) used.

In 2015 the number of vendors introducing click-to-dial widgets did not grow as fast as in previous years, and it doesn’t seem likely that it will pick up in 2016.

2. Agent uses WebRTC to receive a call.  The dominant use case for WebRTC in contact centers in 2015 was contact center agents using WebRTC to receive incoming calls.  Users dial in and routed through a company’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to the contact center. Once there, instead of being routed to a physical phone or even a software client on the agent’s desktop PC, the call gets routed to the agent’s web browser. This means IT has fewer vendors and less software to manage and maintain, and it enables the business to scale out of the physical contact center by allowing agents to work from anywhere. This same capability can be used by an agent or a salesperson to “dial out” from the CRM system in their web browsers via WebRTC to user phones.

This became the primary use of WebRTC in contact centers in 2015. Companies like LiveOps, Zendesk and Freshdesk use Twilio’s WebRTC client to drive this connectivity within their CRM and helpdesk cloud services. Expect this trend to continue strong in 2016 and trickle into larger enterprises.

3. Call surfers targeted via analytics. When people browse websites, a lot of information is collected, like how long have they been looking at certain pages, where they are from, what they clicked, etc. Some vendors have taken this a step further. Instead of simply collecting this information and using marketing automation techniques to send offers to these people, they can initiate a call from the contact center to the person browsing, directly targeting high value prospects based on real time information. One of the vendors active in this space is Altocloud.


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