Mobile applications for smart and intelligent customer service
51.3% of the UK population has a smartphone (comscore, February 2012). We may also safely assume that they are all customers to brands that offer some form of Customer Service. 0% of the UK market offers intelligent access to assisted Customer Service via these devices! 100% of today’s customer service applications on smartphones only offer a CONTACT US page where they publish the telephone numbers for the customer to call in. We therefore begin to define the opportunity to improve the situation for both the consumer and the customer service representative.
What is Smart or Intelligent Customer Service?
I would define this as being “contextually relevant access to information, resources and guidance through all key milestones of the customer journey”. Specifically to the customer using these services they should have ready access to the right person, at the right time and with the right information.
To the Enterprise Contact Centre the opportunity to offer intelligent service offers the chance to ‘right channel’ and to find a self-tuning balance between supply and demand. Despite incredible algorithms in Workforce Management tools the average contact centre staffing model is incredibly inefficient. Available resources sitting idle with limited demand on one hand (this is rare for obvious reasons), or worse, on the other, the typical situation where demand for access to the contact centre far outweighs the ability of the centre to cope. What happens? Queue’s, waiting times and significant pressure on the working resources to feed the demand in order to meet self-defeating customer service satisfaction or resolution indicators. In order to reduce cost, the Enterprise finds itself striking a view that it is ALWAYS better to offer limited resources whilst constantly measuring performance against this demand as a level of “how much frustration and waiting have we caused out customers?” It’s almost as if the contact centre industry resigns itself to mediocre service that passes the ‘good enough’ test. I argue as well that a digital native will suffer inefficiency and delays far less than a digital immigrant. Digital natives are used to “JIT” (Just in Time) methodologies in everything around them. Can we begin to use technology to train the enterprise customers to accept some latency? I think we can if we begin to be intelligent about it.
Smart Customer Service offers the ability for the Enterprise to allow the customers themselves to have a role in describing the demand they wish to place on their suppliers. Customers may offer suggestions as to when they want to have the dialogue and even how it should happen. In other words; if we can find a clever way of describing our current and planned resources and share that intelligently with our customers then they may be able to choose how to engage and importantly when and how to engage. The only challenge then is to isolate an efficient mechanism for that ‘agreement’. Smartphones and the ubiquitous data environment (the internet) around all of us offer the perfect solution.
Let’s put intelligence into the Customers context and at the same time share with our customers the current resources we have available to assist them. Let the Enterprise and their customers decide in advance on a contract for service. Many factors may influence the decision in real-time. The measured prospective ‘value’ of the customer and the ‘resource availability’ are two simple as examples. Map this to the nature of the enquiry and the stage of the ‘customer journey’ and we can begin to make intelligent choices based on simple rules.
Smart mobile solutions for self and intelligent assisted service
The following video, in 7 minutes, describes a few simple use-case scenario’s where a customer using a typical smartphone is able to engage in ‘interactions’ that form part of the customer journey. They can do so initiated by their own perceived needs and the Enterprise can also reach out to these customers with ALERTS or any call-to-action as driven by the business.
Alerts could be simple, for example, “Dear Customer, your credit card is about to expire” all the way through to a powerful sticky call to action like “Congratulations, you have just qualified for an upgrade!” If we address these ALERTS to be coincident with our staffing and resource availability we can finally begin the process of truly planning workforce to the underlying service opportunity.
Please watch this video. For best results use HD quality in fullscreen mode and press ESC to return to this article when finished.
Afterwards ask yourself these questions from the consumer perspective;
- Would you use this type of technology if it helped you to avoid the IVR experience?
- Would you use this type of solution if you could avoid queuing for an agent?
- Would you react to an alert from your supplier if it provided you with a real and perceived advantage or benefit?
Also, ask yourself these questions from the perspective of the Contact Centre;
- Will it be beneficial to see why a customer wants to speak or interact with you BEFORE they do so?
- Could the physical location of the caller be relevant to your business? (e911, Roadside Assistance, Insurance etc)
- Would I like to shave the two big peaks in my customer services loading curve each day? By 10%? By 15%?
- Would I like to be able to survey across any media type or any type of interaction?
The technology you have just seen in this video is the simple use of the existing Genesys customer interaction management platform and tools that ship with it extended by innovation from the Anana team. It uses RULES and CONTEXT to decide what to show, how to show it, and what options or ACTIONS are available in each case. The application itself is simply a presentation layer and may be easily added to existing customer self-service applications. Even simple concepts like showing the customer that you have 16 billing specialist available right now for Chat, and 3 to talk about the upgrade could have a big impact on the choices that the customer makes in interacting with you. Instead of reaching out to you BLIND you have the chance to share your resources with your own customers; helping them to make INTELLIGENT choices about how and when to interact with you. Simple, yet profound?
A quick shoutout to thanks the Genesyslab Team for Tweeting this Article
— Genesys (@Genesyslab) 17. Juni 2012
Tags: Anana Applications Framework, Call Centre, contact centre, Custom Modules and Extensions, Customer Effort Score, customer service, eServices, Genesys, good customer service, Mobile Apps, multichannel, multimedia, Social Media, Twitter, web chat