Brad's Blog

Four Best Practices in Mobile Customer Service

Mobile is developing at lightning speed—literally by the day. It represents a serious threat to organizations that don’t evolve their services—but is a significant opportunity for those who shape strategies that meet or redefine customer expectations.shutterstock_188425454

The following are important aspects of strategy and planning when building out mobile services and support:

1. Provide communication channel options—give customers choices in how they interact.
2. Cultivate unified tools and processes—enabling a similar look and feel across channels contributes greatly to simplicity, effectiveness, and the overall experience.
3. Establish direct links and easy transitions between the channels—some channels are more suitable for evolving issues than others (e.g., agent interactions can sometimes benefit from providing on-the-fly links to web resources).
4. Enable easy connections to agents— being able to reach help without leaving an app can boost the experience significantly.

Mobile can really shine when enabling combinations. Example: Moen, which provides a popular line of faucets, enables contractors to send pictures to support agents, who can provide on-the-spot assistance with specs and installations.

Brainstorm the possibilities, put yourself in your customers’ shoes, and in that context think through how these expectations are evolving and where they are likely to go in coming months.

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What Should Our Service Level Be?

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Best Practices in Mobile Customer Access Strategies

So, how do you get started? Let’s begin with a short note on definition. Mobile is often referred to as a “channel” in contact center circles… but it’s, of course, much more. Consider the sheer breadth of the mobile shutterstock_102132355services many of us use daily: travel, banking, navigation, shopping, productivity, news, social, service and support, videos and photos, and communication, to name a few. (I recall getting briefed on a new line of smart phones, and the company engineer added this to the end of a long list of capabilities: “It makes calls, too!”) We carry in our pockets and purses enough connectivity and computing power to put yesterday’s mainframe computers to shame.

From a contact center perspective, mobile can enable new channels (e.g., interactions that begin within mobile apps), can be a seamless conduit to existing channels (i.e., phone, chat, social communities, and others), and can enable new combinations (e.g., texting a picture or short video to a support agent or insurance adjuster while reviewing the case with them). Mobile is a fast-evolving and vast ecosystem, and I believe we need to think of and manage it as such.

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Should We Have a Chief Customer Officer?

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Forecasting and Staffing for New Channels

As mobile and social open up new channels and new types of contacts, it’s critical to forecast and staff for evolving workloads. Mobile and social impact staffing resources, and different types of interactions each require a specific approach to resource planning. The five most common examples include:

• Real-time, with single response. In this example, the organization handles interactions as they occur (e.g., text or phone conversations initiated by customers), with one response generally being sufficient. These are service-level-type interactions (meaning they need to be staffed so they can be handled as they occur), so the staffing approach is like that for traditional inbound calls.

• Real-time, with multiple exchanges. In this case, the organization strives to handle interactions when they are initiated, and the dialog involves multiple back-and-forth messages. These are service-level-type contacts with staffing considerations like those of chat. (Here’s an article that goes into more detail.)

• Interactions that can be deferred. This approach involves addressing inquires or issues that do not require an immediate response. In this scenario, staffing is response-time oriented, like that for email or outbound contacts that are scheduled. Think of Lucy in the chocolate factory and adjust staffing accordingly.

• Outbound. Here, the organization contacts the customer—in a mobile setting, often proactive through text or a call. Like traditional outbound calls, these interactions are easier to manage and incorporate than customer-initiated contacts, but must be staffed and managed nonetheless.

• Self-service. The requirement here is to be cognizant of how existing as well as emerging channels and interactions will be impacted. You’ll get fewer of some types of contacts, more of others. Perhaps most importantly, the content and complexity of interactions will evolve as mobile services mature.

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Today’s Contact Center – The Internal Engine that Engages Social Communities

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Shaping Your Mobile Customer Service Strategy

Mobile is developing at lightning speed—literally by the day. It represents a serious threat to organizations that don’t evolve their services, but is a significant opportunity for those who shape strategies that meet or redefine customer expectations.

Here’s a guide to getting started right.

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Quality Management Across Channels

As you role out the new channels made possible through mobile and social ecosystems, it’s important to uphold a strategy of quality management across all channels. The well-worn practices of monitoring, coaching and quality improvement for traditional channels should also be an inherent part of managing emerging mobile interactions.

I’ve found that the majority of quality criteria apply across channels—you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Objectives such as identifying customer needs, delivering the right information and service, and accurately capturing needed and useful information are uniformly important. And remember in building your quality approach that the most powerful potential is in capturing information that enables you to improve your products, services and processes beyond delivering customer service. New ways of interacting with customers offer powerful additional opportunities for sharing strategic (cross-functional) intelligence.

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Best Practices in Multi-Channel Support

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Customer Surveys Are Going Mobile

“Consumers have already decided for us: If you want to connect with them, mobile is the way.” That’s how Forrester analyst Roxana Strohmenger puts it, and I agree. As mobile soars, mobile-based surveys are taking flight, optimized for preferred channels, smartphone (small) screens, and succinct question sets. Mobile is also opening up opportunities for feedback that goes beyond text and ratings—e.g., through photos or videos. For more, see this article in Fortune.

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