Michael Dell is a big fan of Google Plus. How do I know? Well, he likes it so much that he's talking about having his company use it for customer service purposes. Specifically, he wants Dell Computers to use Google Plus' group video chat service, Hangouts, to assist customers around the world with their various customer service needs.
According to GigaOm, Dell has used the Hangouts video chat service more than a dozen times since signing up for Google Plus, and then posted the following note to his Plus profile on Sunday:
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?
Um... yeah. Yes I would, Mr. Dell. That's an outstanding idea.
The GigaOm article points out that a lot of customers have the same problems that other customers are having, and perhaps Dell might use Hangouts to have one service person guide multiple unique users through a solution at the same time.
Or how about a Dell salesperson making a presentation or holding a Q&A with multiple members of an organization's management team--many of whom might be in different locations?
I can also see the "group" feature working the opposite way, where more than one Dell technician could hop on the Hangout session, or at least come and go. It would be a much more appealing solution to the current escalation system used by most phone support techs. Instead of patching a customer by phone to a different call center to escalate a support issue, they could simply invite a higher-level tech into the Hangout, and the customer doesn't have to go anywhere.
It's all just brainstorming right now, of course. Remember, Google Plus isn't ready for businesses just yet. Besides, Google Plus Hangouts aren't able to be integrated on Dell.com or any other external website. But they could be in the near future, particularly if Google pays attention to what Dell is saying.
I'm betting Google's already well aware of Hangouts' potential. Whether we're talking about business applications or education applications, there are hundreds of ways businesses could use such a solid group chat service. Anything businesses are already using one-on-one chat for (such as online sales and support) is also a great candidate for group chat. Something tells me Google's already hard at work on exactly that kind of thing.