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The Impact of Mobile Technologies on the Contact Center

Mobile device adoption continued its torrid pace in 2013. In fact, a recent Nielsen U.S. Digital Consumer Report revealed that 65 percent of U.S. consumers now own a smartphone, up from 44 percent in 2011. Tablet ownership shot up from five percent to 29 percent in the same timeframe, and U.S. consumers own an average of four digital devices. It’s safe to say, consumers are more connected now than ever before, providing unprecedented levels of communication with family, friends and even brands.

But how are today’s advancements in mobile technology playing out in the contact center? Here are five mobile mega forces at work today that are impacting the contact center and customer experience management at large:

  1. Proliferation of Mobile Devices – The sheer number of mobile and connected devices is the biggest force affecting the contact center. Estimates reveal that the number of mobile devices is expected to surpass six billion units in 2014. It’s hard to believe that they will soon exceed the world’s population. What’s even harder to believe is that this number will more than double between 2015 and 2017.
  2. Constant Connectivity – Not only are analysts expecting six billion mobile devices this year, but each of those devices is Internet-enabled, providing more ways to interact 24/7. Consumers are connecting through phone, text, online chat, email and social media. More points of connection mean more touch points for a contact center.
  3. Variety –Mobility produces a variety of data types, including structured and un-structured data, which contact centers need to take into consideration. This includes contact information, transaction information, interaction history and interaction information across phone, chat, email, social media and SMS. Couple that with the burgeoning global mobile data traffic that will surpass 15 exabytes by 2018, and you have a tremendous wealth of information regarding consumer behavior. Contact centers must identify the various data associated with customer journeys and aggregate them to get a 360-degree view of the customer. This will allow them to deliver great customer service and ultimately an amazing customer experience.
  4. Volume – Mobility allows consumers to transact and interact at any point-of-contact, which has dramatically increased the volume of customer service interactions. For example, a customer may engage with a retailer’s customer service agent via an online chat. Perhaps they grow impatient and close the chat box. They then take to Twitter to voice their complaints about being left on hold, opening up another avenue of interaction with the brand. This is a far cry from the days of the single channel call center.
  5. Velocity – Mobility and constant connectivity have accelerated the immediacy of customer service. Pair that with the speed at which social media interactions take place, and you have a new wave of consumers that expect service in real time. According to LiveOps Research, 85 percent of consumers feel that how a brand handles issues on their website or on social channels, like Facebook or Twitter, is a good indicator of their customer satisfaction and the quality of their support. Meaning, a brand needs to not only be present on these channels, but engage with customers in real time to keep them happy.

These powerful mobile forces have affected the contact center in several ways. Let’s take a look:

  1. Your job just got harder. Mobile customer service went from a “nice to have” to a “must have” in the contact center. It is particularly crucial to integrate self-service with live-service, as mobile consumers tend to favor self-service.
  2. You have the chance to be a service hero. Rather than looking at these forces as threats, view them as opportunities that uniquely position you to be the savior by delivering memorable customer experiences when and where the customer expects.
  3. You’ll need a new plan of attack. As the saying goes – if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Start by identifying gaps in your customer service and prioritize your most glaring issues. Develop your core cross-functional team, develop solid KPIs and chart your progress.
  4. Legacy processes and technologies are a cost burden that prohibits innovation. As you evolve the agent skill set required to service today’s mobile, omnichannel customers, don’t forget to take a hard look at your contact center processes and infrastructure technology. A simple upgrade often provides the quickest route to immediate success. 
  5. Promoting small wins becomes key. Pick your battles and demonstrate your value from small wins, as well as the business benefits from your mobile campaigns. This will go a long way toward sustaining your progress.
  6. You have to be flexible - measure & optimize! When it comes to adopting mobile solutions in the contact center, one size definitely does not fit all. Develop a timeline with checkpoints and measure the results of your efforts. Make tweaks and adjustments as you go.

If you do all of the above consistently, there’s indeed a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Not only will you increase your job satisfaction and get yourself that next big promotion, but you’ll also gain a legion of happy agents. This becomes a critical element when you consider that 92 percent of consumers report that a customer service agent's perceived "happiness" has an impact on their customer experience with the brand. 66 percent of consumers agree that their experience with a brand's customer service agents has a major impact on their impression with the brand overall. Creating a frictionless experience for consumers that, thanks to more powerful mobile devices, expect resolution immediately will lead to fantastic business benefits, such as higher customer retention, greater loyalty and share-of-wallet, higher sales conversion and lower abandonment. What are you waiting for? Mobilize your contact center!

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