Smart Businesses Support Smartphone Customer Contact by Robert Lamb, Practice Director, Contact Center Consulting Services, AT&T

December 7, 2012

Best Practices for Developing a Contact Center Strategy

You’ve picked up one of the hot smartphones and loaded it with all the cool apps.  Now, you’re using one of those apps to book a hotel room.  You’ve authenticated with your preferred guest number, entered your trip destination and dates, and targeted a short list of fun properties. However, you can’t find the amenities list to decide which hotel best suits you.  So, you abandon the app and phone the call center.  Here’s the end result:

  • You’re now less satisfied as a customer because you’ve lost all of the authentication and contextual data as the process for booking the hotel starts over.
  • You taught yourself to use the most expensive method of contact (phone call to live agent) both for this time and in future.
  • Your image of the hotel chain is lessened by the poor experience from the cool smartphone app that you wanted to use but took you longer anyway.

Or worse – you decided to try a competitor hotel’s smartphone app to book your room. A 2011 Harris Interactive study found that 63% of all online adults surveyed said they would be less likely to buy from the same company via other purchase channels if they experienced a problem conducting a mobile transaction.

Soaring Smartphone Use Brings Customer Service Issues to Forefront

As consumers, more of us are using smartphones to handle tasks more efficiently—and the number of users continues to grow. Nielsen estimates that 44% of Americans use smartphones today (and over 50% in some other developed countries).

Business is driving smartphone adoption, especially in the retail space where mobile shopping is soaring. RSR Research found that 92% of B2C winners (retailers who outperform their peers in year-over-year sales growth) have decided that consumers are using mobile as part of their shopping experience and they need to be there.  Projecting that into the future, Tealeaf Technologies suggests that mobile devices will become the No. 1 medium for digital commerce by 2015. That’s why it is disturbing that so many adult smartphone users (84% in the U.S., according to a recent Harris study) reported problems with mobile transactions.

Apps to the Rescue – Customer Service within Smartphone Apps

A proactive and potentially more satisfying solution to this dilemma is to make customer service resources available within the smartphone app.  This function effectively links mobility to customer service in the channel the customer chose, increasing customer satisfaction. Remember, you chose to use that app as your preference for a reason, and making that interaction into a satisfying one honors your choice.

When you, as a customer, feel your desires are valued by the company you want to do business with, you get a stronger impression that your business is valued, which encourages customer loyalty.  And, since the cost-per-contact is lower in the app than for a call to the contact center, keeping the customer in the mobility channel also reduces customer service operating expenses.

Leading contact center technologies have developed and are enhancing capabilities that provide that link of mobility to customer service.  Functionally, ranges from opening a chat window in the app for customers to connect with a live contact center agent to enabling a voice conversation within the app that brings the context and customer data as a screen pop to the agent.

Options for Deployment – Start with Strategy

There are many choices for how businesses can deploy app-based customer service based on cost to procure and deploy, meeting the specific customer contact requirements of the business, and finding interaction with the best-suited contact center resources that are integrated both into the smartphone app and the host environment.

In our experience at AT&T Consulting, we find that the most actionable and accurate way for businesses to sort through these choices and find the solution that works best is with a comprehensive contact center strategy. A contact center strategy provides definitive and custom recommendations and a cost/benefit analysis that aligns with your business objectives and customer preferences.

Read Robert’s official blog post at: http://networkingexchangeblog.att.com/enterprise-business/smart-businesses-support-smartphone-customer-contact/

Robert Lamb will be speaking at Customer Experience Management in Telecoms Global Summit 2013.

View the Final Agenda for the conference.

If you would like to receive more information about the event, or secure your place, or if you have any questions, please write to us at telecoms@iqpc.co.uk and we will be happy to help.

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WiFi offload will be a huge topic for operators looking to deploy LTE

April 5, 2012

LTEAs some industry analysts predict that a whopping $10.84bn will be spent on global LTE infrastructure in 2012 alone, it’s no surprise that LTE deployment was a hot topic for operators and device manufacturers at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

At the dedicated LTE Forum key questions surrounding LTE were posed by the operators in the room:

Questions including:

– How can you optimise your LTE network deployment?
– How can you ensure that you successfully monetise your LTE network?
– How can you ensure optimal user experience from your new LTE network?

Following some general discussion from the floor, KDDI, Telecom New Zealand, Etisalat, Telenor and Reliance 4G took to a panel discussion where some important issues were raised by the panellists:

• Operators need to learn how to market LTE services correctly to ensure that they make a profit
• Network sharing is going to be a big topic over the coming few years if operators are going to keep costs down when deploying LTE – how do operators overcome the challenges associated with network sharing agreements?
• Operators need to determine how to ensure seamless connectivity  between WiFi and  LTE
• Operators need to know how to become super pipes not dumb pipes!

The panel went on to state that one of the biggest areas of investment for them was going to be E2E experience and transparency using performance analytics tools.

Additionally, as statistics show that 60-65% of people are using data in a home or building, it became clear that WiFi offload will be a huge topic for operators looking to deploy LTE.  Alongside this, mobile operators are placing more and more importance on working with their fixed line counterparts as they try to improve these relationships and leverage them to enhance user experience and monetise their networks.

A huge problem that was discussed in-depth was how to provide seamless connectivity across both fixed and mobile.

With huge growth in LTE investment predicted between 2012 and 2015 it’s clear that there are still a lot of hurdles for operators to overcome.  As critical questions remain unanswered, just how are operators going to ensure that they adopt the best LTE deployment methods and strategies that ensure both optimal user experience and the best ROI?

If you interested in LTE, topics will be covered at Mobile Network Performance Management in June. Additionally, LTE Deployment Strategies will be taking place November. If you are interested in hearing more about these events, please email telecoms@iqpc.co.uk.


M2M marks the spot: path to profit mapped out

March 5, 2012

M2M path to profitIt was standing room only at the Connected Day of seminars at Mobile World Congress this week, as key players from across the ecosystem debated the value and opportunities presented by the M2M market.

Experts from AT&T, Everything Everywhere, Orange France Telecom and Telenor Connexion demonstrated how they are already making money from home security, automotive, healthcare and consumer electronics solutions.  But discussions really centred around two key themes: business models and operational strategies.

Looking at the business models, there was clear agreement that operators need the flexibility to develop different models for different verticals.  But there are still significant question marks over what the appropriate model actually is for each vertical.  And once the business models are in place, what KPIs should you use to measure the success of your M2M solution?  Marc Overton, Vice President of Wholesale & M2M at Everything Everywhere, was clear that, contrary to everything else that operators do, ARPU was not the best indicator in this case.  It was suggested by different members of the panel that the number of connections, revenues or the lifetime value of the solution should be used instead.

From an operational point of view, it’s all about the partnerships!  Operators have a clear role to play in the M2M ecosystem but, as Marc Overton said, operators don’t know everything about M2M solutions and need to work with those people that do.  And of course operators need to make it easy for people to partner with them.  One member of the audience asked what operational changes operators need to make in preparation for M2M.  The panellists responded with a range of answers including:

– Increased flexibility in the platforms, to manage complex deployments and different speeds to markets for different verticals.

– Ability to manage the mass deployment of connected devices through, for example, provisioning and peak loading.

– Changing your way of working to give your partners the operational support that they need to deliver M2M solutions.

And, finally, the key barriers to market were seen to be developing new ecosystems, ensuring system integration, poor ease and speed of certification, and standardisation.

The discussions from the day showcased a wide variety of experiences and opinions from across Europe and the US, and it is clear that M2M is happening here and now!  The questions are, how do you develop the business models and find the partners that will generate revenues in this field and, critically, which verticals should you invest in?

Let us know what you think in the comment section below or on Twitter @TelecomsForum.

Telecoms IQ’s M2M Forum Europe takes place from 11th – 14th June 2012. For more information, visit www.m2mforumeurope.com.


How will mobile technology develop?

July 12, 2011

Earlier in the year we spoke to Aimes Bositampen, CEO at Gtext Media, about the current state of play within Mobile Advertising, Mobile Data and Mobile Apps. This is what he had to say…