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Going Mobile in the Contact Center

Note from Sarah Stealey Reed, Content Director for ICMI: Although we realize that the month of mobile was back in May, this article from one of our community experts was just too good to pass up! Mobile has been one of the hottest customer service conversations occurring in 2013, and we don’t see the interest slowing down. In fact, later this month ICMI is re-releasing the Voxeo-sponsored research report, “A Mobile Customer Service Strategy”, with updates and 4 key best practices for getting started with mobile customer support from our very own Brad Cleveland.

In the article below, Matt McConnell talks about mobility and technology innovation as two trends happening in the contact center right now. You can hear firsthand how companies like Teleperformance, five9, and American Support are planning for, building, and leveraging these concepts in our upcoming webinar, “Management on the Move: Making Call Center Managers More Effective”. Let’s keep the mobile conversations going.

Mobile technology has reshaped both business and our society. Collectively, it is our preferred method of communication. We pay, shop, learn, bank, document our world around us and even maintain our closest relationships – all through our phones.

A recent poll by TIME Magazine found that one in four people check their phone every 30 minutes. One in five checks every 10 minutes. In fact, the study found that three-quarters of 25-29 year-olds even sleep with their phones!

It should come as no surprise that the call center industry is also taking advantage of our obsession with our phones and advances in mobile technology.

Mobility in the contact center

Everywhere you look, contact centers are optimizing current technologies to support mobile customers and improve agent performance and productivity.

More and more supervisors are being equipped with mobile devices – primarily tablets – so that they are able to more freely walk the floor and spend time with agents, answering questions and shadowing calls. Because mobile interfaces enable them to have all the information they need right at their fingertips, managers and supervisors can now be as effective on the go as they are sitting at their desks.

As this trend continues to gain in popularity, many call center technology vendors are moving towards the concept of responsive design, creating browser-based versions of their software to work well on any device within the browser. This allows technology providers to build their solution once and then format it so that it can adapt to any screen size, whether it be on a desktop, tablet or phone.

Customer interaction

Contact centers are also embracing mobile technology to improve the overall customer experience, pushing self-service technologies to mobile devices.

For example, some innovative telecom call centers are using collaborative chat and co-browsing to provide customer support for mobile devices themselves. If a customer has an issue with his or her phone, they can call into the center for support and an application on the phone allows the agent to “take over” the phone to troubleshoot the problem.

There is also an increased use of text to interact with customers to authenticate users, which helps agents better serve customers and decreases the number of incoming calls for non-complex issues such as lost passwords and delayed flight information.

Intraday staffing

Supervisors and customers aren’t the only ones in the contact center leveraging mobile technology. Contact centers are also taking advantage of agents’ personal mobile devices to increase communication through text messaging whether agents are physically in the center or not.

Not only does the use of texting increase agent communication and interaction, it can also be used for intraday staffing purposes, ultimately creating a more agile contact center that can respond to call volume in real-time.

Technology exists for a contact center to use text capabilities to automatically offer overtime to agents when the center is expected to be understaffed. Under these conditions, groups of agents with specific skill sets or performance levels are sent a text message to their mobile device offering voluntary overtime. The same method can be applied for overstaffed conditions and voluntary time off.

Once an agent receives the text message, if he or she chooses to come in, they can either call their supervisor directly or respond to the text message itself. This same mobile technology can also be used to send alerts to managers or groups of agents based on certain events and conditions in the call center.

The result is a preferred communication method for increased labor savings, improved employee performance and a better customer experience overall.