If there is one area ripe for WebRTC innovation it’s customer service, which has moved from in-person and telephone to the web. With WebRTC you can now turn websites into full-fledged multimedia communications vehicles. Sure, this was possible before, but it generally required Flash or a browser plug-in, which added another step. In order to test how this market is doing, we reviewed MostForce, a full-featured video chat service that allows web visitors to quickly and easily connect with live agents. Once connected, you can equate the functionality as something akin to Facebook (News - Alert) in that you can chat or speak in a video window.
We used the 15-day free install to check out the service, and for some reason it made two of our three computers hang. Technically we tried via two browsers on one machine which both hung. In one case where the system hung, we did get an email, which allowed us to complete the registration process. It is possible the email didn’t come to the other test user as a result of settings (for spam minimization reasons), which do not allow an email to come from yourself.
Once you log in you are shown code which you can paste into your website. Once you do this, a visitor can simply click it to chat with you using text or video.
We didn’t require any documentation beyond what the product itself offered. There are a number of self-explanatory settings we will be getting to very soon.
The system does a great deal of things well. However, you can only video chat with a single person at a time. The others involved in the interaction have to settle for text chat if the camera is being shared with someone else.
Beyond that, there is an array of settings that allow you to add social links, display your company logo, let the visitor send a chat transcript to her email, display the agent’s picture, change the various color themes, modify the pre-chat survey which provides identity information to your agents, set up a post-chat survey, and set a message for when your agent isn’t available. You can also set canned responses to ease the typing of repetitive information, ban visitors based on IP address and email, and determine how many concurrent chats your agents can take and how long you will allow visitors to be idle before they are disconnected.
There is also a good amount of statistics available, such as the number of visits, average visit duration, conversion rate, the average visit duration by territory, visits by traffic type, the number of pageviews, the type of browsers used, and more.
Agents can further set their status to away, online, or they can sign out. Agents or customers can start a video chat, and an agent can send the chat or can switch it to another agent.
The design is very straightforward with large white windows. We were able to move the video chat window around the browser, but we couldn’t enlarge it without resorting to a browser trick of hitting Control + at the same time to increase the page size. We then hit Control 0 to get the browser back to its normal size.
The client is presented with a small button in the lower right-hand corner of the screen and is then able to click on to start the chatting process.
We were able to initiate a few chats without any issues. We found the results of our testing were much better with the latest version of Chrome than with Firefox. Agents could switch between the customers and chat with each of them and, as mentioned before, use video with only one of them at a time.
The system worked well for us throughout the various tests we performed. We did note some grammatical and spelling errors, but nothing that prevented us from understanding what we needed to do to get the product to work properly.
There are other chat services on the market, but this is one of the first that allows video to be easily added to the mix. In addition, there are lots of nice touches, such as allowing agents to see satisfaction level, the ability to play a sound when a visitor is online, and the ability to play a sound when a message arrives.
Ease of Use
We were able to effectively use this service without documentation or a manual - we believe there isn't anything that can be done to make it easier to use. Agents wait for a person on the web to click on a chat button and connect to them online. They then communicate via text, audio, or video. Web visitors can rate the agent, and agents can quickly toggle between visitors to communicate effectively and click on canned responses to speed up the process.
Pricing starts at $19.99 per month for five agents and increases to $39.99 per month for 10 agents and maxes out at $69.99 per month for 30 agents. All of these plans are cheaper if you pay a year at a time – in fact you can pay only $48.99 per month for the latter plan if you pay all at once.
Support is provided out of Asia. We had no problems that needed addressing, but we have worked with this company before, and we know that it provides adequate to good support via email.
Room for Improvement
Grammar and spelling are the biggest challenges for this solution. Additionally, the program is not designed to work with IE because it doesn’t support WebRTC, and we would like to see better Firefox support. Having said that, in our experience it is not uncommon for WebRTC products to work best with Chrome.
We believe online chat is a great way to get new customers and keep web visitors from abandoning carts. Having audio and video makes text chat even better. But more importantly, by offering a choice to visitors you allow them to contact your company in the manner that is best for them. For $4 per agent per month on the high-end, we think MostForce provides a solid value for all websites that are looking to engage more easily with customers.
Ease of Install: 5
Ease Of Use: 5
Overall Rating: 5
Edited by Dominick Sorrentino