Published: March 07, 2014 | Comments
The following story might be so simple that it likely does not even apply to your contact center. This very basic proposition for getting started with Mobile Customer Service is really intended for contact center managers who haven’t implemented any mobile strategy at all. However, it may be useful to contact centers that already have a mobile strategy but perhaps feel it isn’t quite working out yet. The simplicity of our own experience might seem incredible, but it’s truly what got our contact center started in Mobile, and quickly made us comfortable enough to grow it from there.
Mobile has Become Overwhelming
The main reason I believe that “Mobile Customer Service Strategy” is so hard, is because the term “Mobile” has been turned into such an array of spinoff buzzwords that it has driven us to a point that both providers and consumers are simply overwhelmed.
We Made this Happen
The complications start with us, the providers.
There isn’t a single meeting about Mobile Strategy I have been to where the people involved didn’t fall into a death spiral of ever-increasing feature requests for their Mobile solution. They all end up wanting something that sounds sort of like this: "We want the App to automatically detect the caller with caller ID, so that it can connect directly to the CRM, so the agent can pull up the account instantly, also it should turn on the camera if the customer wants to video chat like they do in that Amazon Kindle commercial, and after the call our system should send the caller a text message or a push notification, which we need to make sure is interactive and can automate responses like an IVR, but if a customer is stuck they can press a live assist icon which will instantly reroute them to a live agent so they can chat again, oh and we’ll build our own inhouse Whatsapp service, because Whatsapp is so cool… etc etc."
We as providers need to stop thinking that our mobile products should do everything we as consumers wished our mobile phones would do for us. We need to keep in mind that as consumers many times what we say we will do is not what we end up doing. We say we want almighty apps and mobile solutions, but in reality the apps that have had the highest success in the world are the simplest ones.
The message to providers is: keep mobile simple.
Click-to-Call: The Simplest, most Basic thing you can do in Mobile
As contact centers, there are many ways we can leverage mobile in simple ways. The simplest of all is the famous “tel:” hyperlink or href tag, which can turn anything in an email or website (a word, image, button, number) into a telephone number that a user can simply click to initiate a call. This is more commonly known as click-to-call.
You can get started with Mobile Customer Service rvery easily today if you add the “tel:” hyperlink to some of your web properties, even some of you email templates (a very basic tutorial on how to do this is included as an appendix to this article)
Start with a Basic Click-to-Call Implementation
At Nearsol we did two basic things.
First: We created a very simple mobile website with click to call buttons.
We called it the IVR Bypass, it was simply a vertical listing of our keypad options from 1 to 7, each button assigned to a different DID that would directly connect to the department of issue the customer was dialing about.
Second: We told customers about the new IVR Bypass.
We used our existing channels to share this new feature with customers. When customers called in, our agents would offer the new website/feature so they could bookmark it to their mobile browser. We did one simple email campaign to our customer email list offering the new bypass feature (we simply copied the mobile site and pasted it as html into the body0. Finally, we sent a short 100 character text message describing the bypass and included a short URL to our SMS opt-in customer list (which was a small list at the time).
In a few short weeks, we had a mobile database and an entirely new channel for customer interaction (one could even argue that we had an actual mobile customer service strategy).
Growing it from There
With click to call as a starting point, we have been able to grow into other areas of mobile, armed with better information and more confidence in what we are doing. This is how our contact center led the creation of a very simple Antigua Guatemala Hotel booking app, for instance. It has also allowed us to have a more proactive role when working with clients and their campaigns; we can share our mobile experience with them and offer ideas to improve theirs. It is amazing at simple glance, but once you have people calling in from the click-to-call URLs, you immediately can catalogue them as mobile phones, and you can treat them as such for future communications with customers, and significantly improve their customer service experience.
Appendix: How to enable Click to Call using HTML
We are going to illustrate the simplest way that you can embed click to call into a website or the body of an email. Note: this is for illustration purposes, and assumes that the implementation will be similar to our original IVR Bypass solution using different DIDs assigned to different extensions. We hid the actual telephone numbers, it was not until the user clicked on a button and his smartphone keypad was launched that the number was revealed. This method avoided the appearance of too many numbers, which would confuse customers. It also prevented automatic click-to-call hyperlink overlaying that smartphone operating systems place on properly formatted phone numbers.
We are using one of the simplest and most universal tools, which is Gmail. This is only because the simplicity of Gmail helps to better illustrate the simple hyperlinking process, and is applicable to any web programming tool, content management system, or email marketing platform. So don’t be alarmed by the simplicity.
1. Create a blank email, below is an example, and embed your own image to represent the buttons and the icons you will use to represent different extensions at your contact center.
2. Select the icon/button image and hit ctrl+k or choose “insert link” from the menu options. Once prompted, customize the Text to display section and make sure the web address is formatted as tel: and the number (it can be either tel:555-867-5309 or tel:+15558675309 with or without hyphen or parenthesis or international country code)
3. Send the email to your customer and it will be enabled with click to call functionality on their smartphone. This same email can be used as the html code for a simple website, and once you have the code hosted on a website, you can tell customers about the new mobile site/service, either when they call in, by sending the URL address via SMS, or by any other traditional channel.