Are You Ready for Mobility Care?

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The ubiquitous smartphone is revolutionizing the way we communicate and access customer service. According to a Yankee Group survey, mobile data now surpasses voice traffic, 65 percent of consumers use their mobile devices to access customer service, and 62 percent of users who bypass automated IVRs would like to use their mobile phone screens to get help or complete a task.

 Consequently, more companies are looking to create mobility apps with interfaces and capabilities that tie into the contact center, to create a seamless customer experience.

As companies consider investing in mobile apps, however, they must remember that users still want the option to connect to an agent or communicate via multiple channels in one interaction from their mobile devices.

This leads to a familiar first-mover decision confronting companies whenever a significant innovation affects the market: Can I take advantage of the innovation to gain a competitive edge without disrupting my operations?

What to Consider
To develop a strong mobility application strategy, weigh the risks of being a first mover. For example, you could suffer a major setback if you make a capital investment in a technology early in its life cycle and that technology turns out to be poorly suited to meet the needs of the developing market.

To minimize those risks, an ecosystem of developers can create a cloud-based on-demand platform with an open API, yielding the advantages of new technologies without getting locked into them prematurely. These developers can create applications to overlay your current contact center infrastructure, letting your customers bypass your IVR and connect to a skilled agent. Doing so would spare you the time and cost of introducing expensive layers of integration. Using a multichannel on-demand platform with robust APIs, these mobile and client-care applications enhance the customer experience and reduce costs, while maintaining the flexibility to adapt to your customers’ needs. In addition, the following capabilities should play a role in your strategy:

• Integrate your self-help options: Improve self-service usage by engaging the customer with such tools as Web and chat.
• Allow customers to navigate your IVR visually: Enable thumb press for routine requests, rather than make customers listen to automated menus.
• Let your customers request an intelligent callback: Eliminate long hold times by letting customers opt to receive a call from a skilled agent.
• Tie your customer service to social CRM networks: Allow customers to self-publish sentiments on their favorite social networking sites.
• Drive your e-commerce with secure messaging: Communicate timely messages to the customer to drive revenue and encourage repeat business.

The underlying technologies in these ecosystems include application development tools and APIs, proprietary edge applications, and a modern architectural framework that dynamically retrieves and renders data from legacy sources. This approach would let you embed advanced service features without limiting the design of the application or the range of end-user devices you support. The edge services let you add depth to your service, sales, social, and security capabilities at your own pace.

Focus on Your Vertical and Customers
Banks, TV networks, travel, and insurance firms have led the way in providing consumers with mobile apps for service. But other industries also can adopt an integrated mobility care strategy to deliver efficient customer experiences:
• technology—self-service and live agent service for easier technical support;
• healthcare—personalized communication to keep members informed and healthy;
• communications—smartphone navigation features to improve routing and save time;
• retail—targeted offers to drive revenue and social CRM to allow customers to share deals with others; and
• government—intelligent callback with voice verification to improve service and privacy.

An outsourcing vendor skilled in customer care can help you tie the voice channel to a mobile channel to create a seamless interaction across all customer entry points.

This means you can quickly offer the new features that will encourage customer adoption as a natural extension of your service model. The question is: Are you ready for mobility care? The first move is yours.

Graham Allen is director for market and portfolio software strategy at Convergys. He has 15 years of experience in customer service technologies, product management, and implementation and strategy development and can be reached at graham.allen@convergys.com.

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