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Mobile Marathon: Technology Investment Guidance from ICMI Research

Along with a good training plan, most marathoners rely on some standard tools to make the miles go by more effectively and efficiently. Proper shoes, good nutrition, and a great hydration system are usually paramount for a successful race. In a mobile marathon, tools (technology) are just as important.

Arguably, the most important piece of technology for mobile customer service is a unified platform that combines the entire customer experience across any combination of voice, text messaging, mobile web, smartphone and social interaction channels.

It may sound counterintuitive to not consider the mobile app as the first piece of necessary technology, but it is imperative for companies to understand that mobile customer support extends far beyond communication through a mobile web app or native/smartphone app. Any customer that requires customer service directly from their mobile device is a user of mobile support.

Tobias Goebel, Director of Mobile Strategy for Voxeo, (the underwriter of the ICMI mobile research), agrees. "True mobile customer care is about much more than just saying 'we now have an app'. A holistic approach will include other mobile technologies like SMS, Location-Based Services, or outbound IVR, and linking or combining the channels to utilize each for what they are best suited for.”

In the maturity model for benchmarking mobile customer care that was recently released by Ovum, Principal Analyst Keith Dawson also iterated the need for a unified multichannel interaction strategy. “Companies have to provide a sensible way to manage the transitions between apps, browsers, and phone calls, or risk a disconnected interaction that forces the customer to repeat steps.

This may sound daunting, but once again we encourage a Mobile Customer Service Strategy to eliminate poor decisions and guesswork.

Fewer and faster steps by the customer inevitably can lead to greater satisfaction. The right multi-channel technology platform aids an organization in accomplishing many of their KPI goals, such as metrics like higher FCR, containment, and CSAT.

It’s not solely about the customer though. Contact centers need to look at the desktop systems used by agents as well.  In the upcoming webinar sponsored byUSAN, “Customer Engagement: The Agent’s Value to the Multi-Channel Contact Center”, we’ll dive more into how the agent’s experience with all the disparate channel tools is impacting the customer as well.

From our April 2013 emerging channel research, we discovered that only a third of respondents have a unified desktop platform in place for their agents. And of the 59% that still have agents toggling, almost half are doing so between 4-9 different systems! This is without a doubt impacting agent morale and engagement, which then directly decreases the holistic customer experience.

And contact centers realize this. In the same emerging channel survey, when companies were asked what the three primary reasons were that they were motivated to implement a unified agent desktop system, almost half responded with “improve FCR”. Improving the overall agent experience came closely behind at 44.4%, and speeding response rate to customers (40.7%) was third. Clearly, companies see and appreciate the value in tying the agent and customer experience together.

Kim Martin, the Director of Marketing at Voxeo said it best, “Effectively implementing a Mobile Customer Service Strategy takes an understanding of how to build and manage customer relationships in an evolving, multi-dimensional communications landscape. It’s not enough to simply give customers new ways to interact with your business. Customers expect a unified experience and superior service regardless of the communication channel.”

When asked why they didn’t have a unified system in place to handle all customer service channels, contact centers responding to the emerging channels survey predominantly (49.7%) said that it was because of a lack of budget.  Again, it all goes back to the Mobile Customer Service Strategy.

Create the Mobile Customer Service Strategy training plan. Understand what your customers want, what your competitors are doing, and what your company is building. Get involved in the ownership so that you can get the budget and buy-off you need, and the technology you require. By preparing correctly, your mobile marathon will be a medal-worthy success.

You can read the first two segments of the Mobile Marathon here:
Customer Insights and the Competitive Landscape

 Get Your Boss on Board