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Remember When Mobile Technology Wasn’t Considered Important to Contact Centers?

The rapid evolution of mobile technology has kept contact centers on their toes over the past decade and continues to be a preferred method of communication for many customers, regardless of industry. For many organizations, mobile will likely become the primary media of contact with customers.

Looking back a decade ago, the buzzword we all heard was “multichannel,” but it only referred to landline phone, email, and chat, not mobile interactions. The Federal Communications Commission approved mobile number porting starting in 2003, but it was just the beginning of a long and cumbersome process. Six years ago, the FCC made the process faster and more seamless for the consumer; this caused households to rapidly do away with traditional home phone lines. This shift, alone, required organizations to think differently about how they routed calls through their IVR, as well as how they could leverage mobile to enhance customer communication.

Few were ready for such a shift. A decade ago, I was working at a financial institution where the average customer was 57 years old. One would have thought then that a more mature customer base wouldn’t require the business to focus on extensive investment in mobile interactions, as traditionally our customer preferred to talk to a live representative. Yes we had online banking and even a mobile app, but take rates for these methods were low. Now, that investment is a necessary part of doing business.

Today mobile is expanding beyond basic text message and chat, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is anticipating customer needs and preferences to help businesses cater to the consumer and drive additional revenue. In the organization I am a part of today, 76% of our customers that use chat do so via a mobile device.

I predict that the future of mobile interactions with customers will include ongoing innovation with self-service bots, immediate video chat, and virtual reality capability; these will potentially provide consumers more insight into products and services. Businesses may eventually even abandon mobile apps to simplify things for their customer base. Ultimately, though, the last decade tells us that we should be ready for the unexpected leap forward in technology, and be prepared to quickly adapt.

I have been blessed in my career to work in both small and large contact centers, some which kept pace with technology and others which fell behind. From this experience, I can say that part of your organization’s future success depends on learning from the past. Think about where your organization has come and how it has adapted to something as key as mobile communication.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you truly understand your customer base and their preferred communication methods?
  • If you could go back in time, how would you have invested in your organization’s mobile technologies differently?
  • Can you identify your missed opportunities over the last decade and pair that knowledge with what your customers are asking for today through your customer experience processes?

Don’t miss an opportunity to consider all this now, as 2030 is only 10 years away!

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