Smartphones Rock The Contact Center
“Visual guidance such as diagrams, forms, pictures and live videos will slowly supplant more sterile voice or text interactions.”
It may be hard to believe that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the Apple iPhone. This spawned the creation of a new category of consumer products called smartphones. By any account no other recent invention has achieved such widespread adoption in such a brief time. In 2017, it is estimated that 30% of the global population uses a smartphone. Think of that. That’s 2.25 billion people! The mobile app market is valued at $120 billion. This is a business that did not even exist prior to the launch of the iPhone. And it could be persuasively argued that no recent invention has had such a profound impact on culture and communications behavior. Here are a few fun facts that help illustrate this point:
- 85% of American adults own a mobile phone.
- 28% of U.S. adults have used their smartphone for job seeking and 9% for mobile dating applications.
- 51% of U.S. adults have made online purchases via their smartphones.
- 57% of consumers say it’s very important for companies to provide an easy-to-use mobile experience.
- 51% of millennials agree that they run their lives from their mobile devices.
- Mobile applications are the second most preferred channel for consumers under age 35.
- About one-third of contact centers support mobile applications.
- 75% of millennials sleep with their smartphones next to their beds.
- 35% of respondents said their first thought in the morning is about their smartphone. 10% said their first thought was about their significant other.
- Only 6.5% of U.S. households are landline only.
Sources: National Health Interview Survey, Center for Disease Control, Pew Research Center, Salesforce Research, Dimension Data, Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association
Effect on Contact Centers
Given the statistics above there is a better than 50% chance that the next interaction with your contact center will originate from a smartphone. This has many impacts. First, the caller could very well be in a vehicle or location different from their home. In that case, they are less likely to have access to verification data such as account numbers. Call clarity and reception could be constrained by background noise and spotty wireless service. If they are on the go, there will be tighter time constraints. They will have little patience for navigating multiple layers of IVR menus or waiting for the next available agent.
The good news is that callers will very likely also have access to the internet during the interaction. In fact, they probably found your toll-free number while attempting to navigate a self-service application on your website. Simultaneous access to the internet opens the opportunity to leverage technology tools such as texting, co-browsing, interactive video and visually guided IVR menus. Think how much easier it would be to provide technical support or assist in completing forms by sharing a workspace or shooting images to the caller. The other piece of good news is that 80% or more of your call center agents will have smartphones. Innovative vendors have developed tools that facilitate customer and employee engagement.
Jacada Mobile Engagement simplifies and accelerates customer service to users of smartphones and mobile devices by providing visual self- service flows that substantially reduce the number of calls to the contact center. Customers can engage in a self-service session that visually maps out the steps of the customer service process (SEE FIGURE 1). No more need to try to remember all the menu options—they show up on your smartphone. And when integrated with the telephony system, Jacada Mobile Engagement can present communications options to the customer for continuing the interaction. It even displays hold times so the customer can choose to hold or select the “Call Me Back” feature. The caller gets answers faster and the enterprise saves money because more calls are contained within the self-service function. Mobile Engagement is just one of several mobility features offered by Jacada
Aspect Augmented Chat is one of nine applications which comprise the Aspect Mobility Suite. Among other things, Aspect Augmented Chat empowers customers and agents to share photos, links and documents that supplement the conversation and provide additional context, or to engage in video chat for real-time, “face-to-face” help (SEE FIGURE 2). With the right agent, the right context and the right information, the likelihood of first-contact resolution is increased, as well as overall customer satisfaction and retention.
Short Message Service (SMS) Alerts is one of the simple yet elegant cloud-based mobile solutions provide by Toronto-based Fonolo. For callers on mobile devices, Fonolo offers optional SMS capabilities that improve the call-back experience for customers. Interactive SMS functionality allows callers who are waiting in a “virtual queue” to stay informed about their progress, receive important notifications and more.
Bunchball Go is now available for mobile devices via the Bunchball platform. Bunchball is a leading provider of gamification software. Gamification software is becoming broadly adopted by contact centers to engage and motivate employees. With Bunchball Go, employees can receive real-time updates of scoring and leaderboards from their smartphones. They can view of performance metrics and participate in contests such as quizzes and videos that are readily available on mobile devices.
Verint Mobile Work View, included with the latest version of Verint Workforce Management, empowers agents to manage their schedules remotely. The application displays agent daily and monthly schedules. From their smartphones, agents can execute shift swaps and request time off for vacations or other approved purposes. They can be notified of changes to their schedules and when their time-off and shift swap requests get approved or denied. Agents can also view their performance against KPI goals (SEE FIGURE 3). Further, Verint Mobile Work View saves supervisors’ time by presenting agent performance data to help manage their teams while they are remote, and enables them to approve or deny time-off requests from their mobile devices. The solution can even be programmed to automatically approve or deny time-off requests based on work rules and department policies that are configured into the software.
Verint Mobile Enterprise Feedback Management empowers customers to give feedback from anywhere using their mobile device (SEE FIGURE 4). Organizations can devise custom surveys that appear on the customer’s smartphone with the company’s brand. Feedback can be provided while the experience is fresh in the customer’s mind. It is even possible to know the specific store or branch where the contact originated. If the customer’s mobile number or email address is known, surveys can be pushed out to customers as they leave the facility.
Where to From Here?
The widespread adoption of smartphones makes it possible to deliver a rich 360-degree experience to customers and other constituents. No longer will the interaction be limited to voice or text only. Visual guidance such as diagrams, forms, pictures and live videos will slowly supplant more sterile voice or text interactions. We have previewed only a handful of the many innovative applications that vendors have recently brought to market. Contact centers also have an opportunity to better serve their customers by leveraging smartphone technology. This will require mobile-friendly websites, agents comfortable with multiple channels, and a willingness to experiment with emerging voice, video and data technology via the smartphone.
Dick Bucci is the Founder and Chief Analyst at Pelorus Associates
– Reprinted with permission from Contact Center Pipeline, http://www.contactcenterpipeline.com
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