Dell (s DELL) could soon use Google’s (s GOOG) new group video chat platform Google+ Hangouts as an alternative to the traditional customer service call, according to the company’s chairman and CEO, Michael Dell.
Hangouts has been hailed as the next big killer app, and Michael Dell is obviously a fan as well. He’s used the video chat more than a dozen times since he joined Google+ in early July, and this Sunday, he posted the following question on Google+:
I am thinking about hangouts for business. Would you like to be able to connect with your Dell service and sale teams via video directly from Dell.com?
The reaction to his post was overwhelmingly positive, with hundreds of comments agreeing that this would be a good idea for Dell. And the idea is indeed intriguing: Some customer service needs are very similar, so having a service representative talk to a small group of customers at the same time could be more economical than the traditional one-on-one call. Using video could also humanize tech support, and group settings could even initiate self-help between customers.
One should note that Dell’s idea of launching a Hangouts session directly from Dell.com isn’t currently possible; Google+ is still invite-only, and Hangouts can only be started or joined from within the network. Google also hasn’t opened its social network for businesses yet, but the company is currently evaluating how to integrate brands and businesses into Google+.
Customer service has been one of the applications that has made Twitter attractive to companies like Comcast. (s CMCSA) Having the ability to directly talk to customers via group video chat could be the next step for many of these companies as they look for ways to take customer service beyond the traditional call-center script.