By Alleli Aspili
Nowadays you’ll be hard pressed to find consumers without a smartphone in their hands. In the United States alone, mobile analytics company Flurry said that in 2014 each person owned four digital devices and spent about three hours per day using them. It is estimated that twelve billion mobile devices will be used in the next two years, surpassing the world’s population.
And yet in the face of this widespread usage, you’ll be equally hard-pressed to find call centers using their own mobile app for customer support. When GetApp ranked the top twenty-five call center applications in a recent survey, only five of them had both an iOS and Android app, and three had only either one. That leaves seventeen with none.
This has to change. Most customer service journeys today begin on a mobile device. It makes sense to engage with consumers with a mobile app. Some forward-thinking call center outsourcing companies are starting to recognize that customers are increasingly going mobile, which is why these companies are slowly integrating mobile software into their operations.
Here’s why your customer support should go mobile sooner rather than later.
1. Improve Customer Experience: With consumers’ mobile lifestyles, a better customer experience now means the transition from searching a website to talking to a support representative should go as smoothly as possible. What could be simpler than using a mobile app? Customers now have several options with which to interact with frontline service staff. Whether via email, chat, or voice, callers now have options that they can select based on their preference.
2. Enhance Frontline Efficiency: This is especially true for companies with higher security standards, such as the financial services industry. They typically have pre-authentication procedures to verify a caller’s identity, which in turn helps agents decide which types of information can be divulged. This can be a tedious process for callers during call transfers, where the burden of authentication begins anew and customers having to answer questions again to verify their identity. A mobile app can make this unnecessary, thus reducing frustration and the burden of proof of identity on the part of the caller.
3. Reduce Overhead Costs: Less time undergoing pre-authentication measures means shorter handle times, which in turn means lower cost per call. It also lessens incidences of having to deal with irate callers caused by a time-consuming and tedious verification process. Overall operational costs will be reduced considerably. Not only will this shorten call times, it will also provide a better interaction with the customer.
4. Capture Customer Feedback: There are now so many ways to capture customer data by simply keeping track of your customer’s digital footprint. You can use this wealth of information to create a more holistic, 360-degree view of your customers, thus being responsive to their needs based on what you know. A mobile app can be used to capture all this data to ensure that you’re delivering excellent customer service that will win you loyal customers. It also makes you more accessible to customers, making interaction a breeze.
5. Add Flexibility for Call Center Workers: Let’s turn our focus on how call center software can benefit staff as well as customers. A mobile call center application can allow workers to do their job at a remote location. This means they don’t need to be tethered to their desk in an office to perform customer service functions.
This simply mirrors the customer’s mobile lifestyle, and it also provides workers more options with which to perform their duties. Greater flexibility can result in happier workers, which can enhance how they interact with their customers. More empowered agents typically perform better than those who don’t have as much freedom.
The bottom line is that we are living in a mobile-centric world, and call centers need to evolve with the times. Mobile technology gives both clients and call center agents varied ways of interacting with one another, and it also has the capacity to enhance the customer experience. Traditional call centers need to respond to these changes if they want to deliver a differentiated customer experience.
Alleli Aspili is a senior specialist for business development at Infinit Outsourcing, Inc., an ISO-certified BPO company that caters to the inbound call center and provides finance, accounting, and healthcare outsourcing to SMEs.
[From Connection Magazine – November/December 2015]