Frictionless communication, key to the adoption of "social care"?

By January 17, 2013
hand pressing "contact us" on a touchscreen screen

Social care startup Twelephone connects companies to customers through browser-based chat. With a simple link or web widget, companies can receive calls without customers downloading any software. Reducing friction for brand-customer interaction might be key in the adoption of social care.

As the “social care” trend continues to grow, customers will be expecting companies to provide prompt and full-featured customer service via social networks. One startup that hopes to provide for these companies is Twelephone, which gives corporate Twitter users a way to voice or video chat with their customers. When a customer has a problem, question or comment regarding a company’s product or service, they may soon find an @mention from that company with a link to a chat session that takes place within their browser. Twelephone works through the WebRTC project, “which enables Web browsers with Real Time Communications capabilities via simple Javascript APIs” and HTML5.

Direct interaction with customers through Twitter

Customers receive the Twelephone link from a company that they have contacted or posted about, and by clicking it they enter a peer-to-peer communication session. These conversations are private and encrypted, and available in high-definition. Companies install an extension that manages Twitter presence and routes inbound calls, with their Twitter handle serving as their Twelephone number. The WebRTC functionality is currently available for Chrome, but plans to expand to Firefox and Opera. With Twelephone integration, customers can see a Call option directly on the Twitter profile page.

Reducing barriers for brand-customers interaction

Users, or customers, do not need to install the Twelephone Chrome extension in order to use their service. All they need is the link they receive from a company (or that may be in the company Twitter profile or stream), or to use the CallMe widget on the corporate website. So the adoption barrier relies mostly on Twelephone clients, in respect to their willingness to install the Chrome browser or the speed of WebRTC deployment to other browsers. The Chrome extension is necessary for clients to use the service to receive calls, as well as other features. Company call receivers will see incoming calls with Twitter usernames, if available, and will soon be able to use more robust features, such as multiple call distribution.

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