Who Mobile Cares? MetroPCS and Nuance Do

Today, Nuance Communications and its partner, mobile carrier MetroPCS Communications, made public an agreement to launch an on-device self-service account management solution, Mobile Care, on the carrier’s network.

Mobile Care, MetroPCS' iteration, allows customers to manage their accounts by dialing 611. The service keeps customer information so that they don’t have to constantly enter it in, as well offers them information via their mobile device’s screen. It gives the appearance of being a phone call, but actually, via the screen, handles many operations without using airtime. The solution also allows for automatic updates without prompting the user at all.

MetroPCS was the first carrier to partner with Nuance, but it is only the last of three to announce. Before it, partnerships with T-Mobile U.S.A. and Vodaphone worldwide were made public. Aggregated and averaged across all of its partners, which include these three, Nuance is claiming anywhere from 10 percent to 20 percent uplift in self-service rates. In some instances, particularly in countries that don’t have as strong a showing of speech-enabled interactive voice response systems and use touch-tone systems instead, as Nuance has seen with Vodaphone, self-service rates have been higher.

According to Hetal Pandya, director of product management and marketing for Mobile Care, the solution is a product of Nuance’s consideration of the growing number of users who have a mobile device as their primary and only means of telephonic communication. Drawing on data from Nuance’s customers, who include a number of original equipment manufacturers and mobile carriers, the Mobile Care solution was first developed to pre-emptively capitalize on the increasing number of calls to call centers coming from mobile phones—about one-third now and an expected two-thirds by the decade’s close.

People are letting go of their landline phones, Pandya claims. They’re not even using landlines when they call into call centers and have them. In researching the reasons, Nuance found that the largest mass of users was not particularly reticent to changing its behavior unless the new behavior was “entertaining.” 

“Just look at the Web,” Pandya says. “The Web was considered to be something that was going to change the face of customer service. People were going to all move towards the Web, but today, after 10 years of pushing to the Web, people continue to call for customer care. That’s still the largest door that people enter through for an enterprise.”

“It hasn’t changed,” she adds. “It’s maybe created an island where some people do do some interesting tasks on the Web, but when it comes down to something where they need to get help, they make a phone call.”

As long as that remains the case, it may be good news for Nuance.

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