Next Big Thing – social networking customer services

Dell has suggested using Google Plus Hangouts for customer services. What video will they use for on-hold?

What do social networking and customer service have in common?

It’s a pretty natural step; lots of companies already use Twitter to help customers without the pain of waiting for call centers on the other side of the world. Dell has suggested using Google Plus Hangouts for a new type of video-based customer service.

I don’t want to talk to a call center, let alone see it

Think outside of call centers, and imagine talking directly to the Dell offices. They could guide you through a problem while on the computer you need fixing. Call centers could be replaced by models on a video chat line that help you with your problems. Computer problems, not those kind of video chat lines.

But Google Plus is invite only

True, it’s not a possibility at the moment but it’s a good suggestion ahead of the business services that Google are promising to release soon. Once the initial invite-only hype dies down Google will likely open the medium to everyone – failing that you’ll probably be a member soon with 20m sign-ups in the three weeks it’s been alive. Give us a good reason to invite you on Twitter @StuffTV and we’ll get you on Google Plus.

How does Hangouts fit in though?

It’s a service offered by Google Plus that lets someone invite people into a virtual room for a video chat – could be a great free conferencing option in the future too.

So no more waiting?

If lots of people had a similar problem they could all be dealt with at once in a single video chat. But there’ll probably still be a waiting time, only you won’t have to listen to a tinny version of Lifted by the Lighthouse Family, you’ll be able to chose what video to watch, ahem, Iron Maiden.

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