Smartphones, tablets shape the contact centre

MOBILE

|
Image: By BiztechAfrica
Smartphones, tablets shape the contact centre

By Deon Scheepers, Business Development, Interactive Intelligence Africa

The concept of integration in the contact centre has been widely discussed in recent years, with many companies having made great strides towards achieving a more unified environment. SMS, e-mail and web chat are gradually being incorporated into contact centres, and now afford customers the option to have their queries dealt with via a variety of channels.

But as businesses work to ensure that their contact centre offerings remain current, the increasing popularity of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets is about to change the face of the contact centre as we know it.

More smartphones were sold last year than PCs and tablets combined, and a new Forrester study indicates that mobile Internet users will outnumber those accessing the web via PC by 2016. As more consumers begin to search, browse and make purchases from their mobile devices, a new kind of contact centre will evolve in order to meet their ever-rising expectations.

The Rise of the Mobile Consumer

The surge in popularity of smartphone and tablet devices has created an unprecedented culture of immediacy. Users are now able to enjoy the convenience of checking their e-mail, downloading weather reports or conducting business transactions at a moment’s notice.

Additionally, the applications today’s customers use are becoming increasingly personalised, capitalising on built-in features like location monitoring to tailor offerings to a user’s specific requirements.

As a result, mobile devices are rapidly becoming the consumer’s number one choice for conducting all forms of business. The thought of having to turn on a laptop or pick up the telephone is almost inconceivable, particularly for a new generation raised in the information age.

As this type of empowered mobile user becomes the norm, contact centres are being forced to restructure their offerings in order to provide more immediate, intuitive service, or risk becoming obsolete.

Customised Self-Service

The rise in popularity of Internet banking and other self-service platforms reflects the mobile user’s growing inclination to resolve issues on their own where possible.

Unlike early mobile phone users, today’s consumers generally only decide to contact an agent as a last resort.

As such, companies need to start making allowances for this, and move towards the development of more intuitive, self-help applications.

By extrapolating location and device-based data, these applications have the potential to provide the user with a greatly enhanced experience, whilst at the same time alleviating pressure placed on the contact centre.

By moving more customer service queries into the self-help space, contact centres will be better able to streamline proceedings, whilst at the same time offering the customer the kind of personalised experience they would ultimately prefer.

Empowering Action

Whilst many customer interactions can be predictably automated or guided via a mobile application, there are just as many that are likely to be complicated, with variable solutions dependent on a customer’s specific situation.

As a result, contact centres need to find a way to incorporate both self-help and agent assistance into the mobile environment, creating a seamless process whereby customers can elevate their query to an individual in the contact centre.

Despite growing mobile user numbers, communication is rapidly moving away from the traditional telephony environment, with consumers tending to prefer the cost effectiveness that applications such as Skype afford them. As a result, it is imperative that companies begin to offer a greater variety of ways in which their customers can take action.

Rather than directing customers to a number which they can then dial from their phone, companies will need to begin to incorporate live assistance features within their application structures, using VOIP or video chat to allow users to make immediate contact with someone from the contact centre while at the same time providing agents with the customer’s interaction history.

This type of contextually aware escalation will allow customers to bypass standard IVR menus and be connected directly with a subject matter expert within or outside of the traditional contact centre. They can also be directed to agents that are specifically skilled and trained on various channels of preference, such as call, chat, text, social or video.

Not only will this type of application provide customers with a greater array of communication options, but it will also enable contact centre agents and other subject experts to be better equipped to deal with incoming queries, and allow the contact centre’s systems and processes to be streamlined accordingly.

Establishing a competitive advantage

In an increasingly cluttered marketplace, companies that set about providing their clientele with mobile customer care options have a real opportunity to set themselves apart from the competition.

Locally, organisations like FNB and Vodacom have already launched self-service applications that are proving increasingly popular, and are setting the standard for customer service in the South African market.

Companies need to realise that the shift into the mobile environment is not a distant eventuality that can be dealt with when the time comes. The mobile revolution is already well under way, and it is the companies that embrace this reality that will be the ones that succeed in attracting and retaining their customers in years to come.

 



Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus

MORE MOBILE NEWS

Glo unveils 9G Bumper Data Offer for subscribers

Globacom has unveiled a new bonus data offer for millions of its subscribers. The new package which has a validity period of one month also gives 9 gigabytes of data for every subscription worth N4,000. Read More

Unitel to launch VoLTE with SRVCC in Angola

UNITEL in Angola has successfully completed the first call through the LTE network (VoLTE - Voice over LTE) with continuity of the call in case of handover. Read More

Vodafone Ghana Grand Prize winner takes home GHS100, 000

It was an emotional moment for the winners of Vodafone “Yee Twi Kɔ” promo recently. Read More

MTN seeks relationship restoration with NCC

MTN has expressed a desire to restore its relationship with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), insisting that it has the highest regard for the regulator regardless of the current situation in the industry. Read More

LTE network launched commercially in Somaliland

Alepo announced today that Somcable, a major communications service provider in East Africa, has officially gone live with LTE in Somaliland. Alepo completed this LTE project in collaboration with Airspan. Read More

MTN launches first 4G LTE network in Cameroon

MTN has invested close to 60 billion FCFA over eight months to develop the first 4G network in Cameroon. Read More

ASUS enters Nigeria with ZenFone family

The ZenFone family from ASUS has made its entry into the Nigerian market. Read More

Samsung unveils Gear S2 in Kenya

Samsung Electronics East Africa has announced the next evolution in wearable technology with the introduction of the Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch. Read More

Tigo Tanzania launches 4G LTE

Tigo subscribers in Tanzania can now enjoy the fastest internet connection following the unveiling of the company’s 4G LTE service in the country.  Read More

Airtel Ghana commences 12 days of giving

Airtel Ghana culminates its impressive year of charity and goodwill with a programme led by employees to enrich the lives of individuals and communities, dubbed “Airtel 12 Days of Giving”. Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage EnterpriseSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoiceMicrosoft 4AfrikaNetworks Unlimited

FEATURED STORY

Viber Spreads Good Vibes in Africa with the introduction of public chats Viber Spreads Good Vibes in Africa with the introduction of public chats

Viber, one of the leading messaging and calling apps with more than 664 million unique users worldwide, has opened its latest social channel ‘Public Chats’ to partners in Africa and the Middle East. 

IN DEPTH

Poised for greater heights – Roshi Motman, AfricaCom CEO of the Year WinnerPoised for greater heights – Roshi Motman, AfricaCom CEO of the Year Winner

Roshi Motman is not your average CEO. Since taking up the reins as the first female CEO of Tigo Ghana in 2014, she has led the Tigo brand through a remarkable transformation. 

COMPANY NEWS

DStv Eutelsat Star Awards winners named

Students from Ghana and Zimbabwe have scooped top honours at 5th edition of DStv Eutelsat Star Awards organised by MultiChoice Africa and Eutelsat.

Arbor Networks maintains leadership in IHS Infonetics Report on DDoS prevention appliances

Arbor Networks was identified once again as the top supplier of DDoS mitigation appliances overall, as well as in the Carrier, Enterprise and Mobile market segments, according ...