According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 41% of all U.S. households have ditched their landline and were ‘wireless only’ by the end of 2013 (don’t be surprised to see that stat go up when the next report comes out). As we pointed out in this post, 55% of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices, with an amazing 48% coming via mobile apps (beating PC-based traffic for the first time in 2013). However, when it comes to contact centers, most businesses are not taking advantage of the customer service possibilities, not to mention cost savings and enhanced revenue opportunities, associated with providing enhanced services for mobile first customers. We are still being treated the same way we were when calling in from a landline while sitting next to a desktop computer.
To dig into how contact centers are looking to change that equation, I spoke with Eric Wright the Manager of Contact Center and Integrations at Mutare Software. “Most conversations I have now with forward thinking contact center executives revolve around mobility,” says Wright. “There are so many advantages for business to capitalize on when it comes to interacting with mobile first customers.” There are many opportunities inherent in the mobile experience that contact centers can take advantage of like location awareness, the ability to take and share pictures and video, identity awareness and texting. This is especially true for customers that have downloaded a company’s app.
Connecting Mobile App Users to Contact Centers Can Mean Big Savings
According to Wright, one area in particular that has been top-of-mind with businesses is connecting their high-value, app using customers directly to the contact center via their mobile apps. “Companies are finding that their best customers are the ones that use their mobile app,” says Wright. “They are looking for ways to serve these customers more effectively and efficiently and to deliver not only happier customers, but also enhanced processes that can shave a minute or two off the time a rep needs to spend on each session.”
An example of how this might work is embedding a secure chat application directly into a company’s mobile app so customers can connect with customer service regardless of location. Simply by clicking a button, a significant amount of information can be securely delivered to the contact center as the chat session initiates, including the customer’s name, location, call back number and access to customer history via integration with the company’s CRM/ERP and contact center software (no more need to answer those questions over and over…..wouldn’t that be nice).
Once the chat session is initiated, questions and answers can be initially handled in the chat window via a virtual agent, guiding the customer to the most common solutions and delivering answers and data where appropriate. If the virtual agent is unable to resolve the issue quickly, the chat can be seamlessly escalated to a live agent where they will quickly see the history of the chat to date, take advantage of mobile capabilities like photo or video sharing and provide additional information – including potential upsell opportunities as necessary. If the agent determines that the issue would be better handled via a voice call, they click a button and call the user on their mobile. From the customer’s perspective this means no more waiting in queues and hoping you can find the person you were chatting with.
Delivering Security, Efficiency Key Concerns for Businesses With Mobile Chat
According to Wright, when it comes to taking advantage of this opportunity, businesses have two concerns that must be addressed: Security and Integration.
“IT teams consider texting the worst possible way to communicate from a security standpoint, This is amplified with contact centers where personal and financial information is often shared” says Wright. “There is generally a learning curve for IT as they educate themselves about ‘secure text’ because they’ve never seen it before.” As Wright explains it, by keeping the chat/text “enclosed” in the mobile app, all information can be encrypted while at rest on the mobile device, while in motion, and while being used by the contact center agents. “By using military grade encryption throughout the entire process, even contact centers that are required to be HIPAA compliant have no issues,” says Wright.
The other area of focus quickly turns to integration with contact center apps in order to deliver on the potential efficiencies associated with serving mobile customers. “Secure Mobile Chat can be turned up in a week, but it really takes off when it is integrated into the contact center solution,” says Wright. “This allows the agents to have access to all relevant information and helps the company keep track of every interaction”
By looking at mobile first customers and delivering customer service in the way they want (on their devices, using their thumbs), companies and contact centers are beginning to catch up to the times. Don’t be surprised to see this type of service embedded in most mobile apps in the near future.