SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Edwin Margulies
SHARE



Edwin Margulies | August 25, 2014 |

 
   

One App, Multiple Channels: The Holy Grail

One App, Multiple Channels: The Holy Grail We explore best practices in the orchestration of disparate customer contact channels on mobile apps.

We explore best practices in the orchestration of disparate customer contact channels on mobile apps.

Customer service executives constantly hone contact center best practices to produce a superior customer service experience. Today, practitioners are faced with even more complexity by being able to call, email and chat on a single device. But smartphone apps that include all communication channel options, within the app itself, are rare. Here we explore best practices in the orchestration of these disparate channels.

Unfortunately, smartphone in-app communication channels rarely are actually communicative. In order to contact a company's customer service, users must hop out of the self-service app and go to stand-alone service channels. When does this madness begin? It begins when mobile app teams work in a separate silo from the Web team, as well as separate from the contact center team. Sound familiar? Sadly, you end up with mediocre results.

To solve this, start with putting the chief architects of these systems in the same room. Then, challenge them to design an app that actually communicates. Let's count the ways...

Beyond the Call
Smartphone applications should be as smart as the phone they are on. But most smartphone app designers give short shrift to phone calls. For example, few smartphone applications will intelligently put callers into the proper automatic call distributor (ACD) queue. This should happen automatically based on the customer's profile and standing. Most smartphone apps unceremoniously dump users into the general ACD queue when they use the built-in speed dial. That's assuming there's even a speed dial capability built in to the app to begin with.

It is a best practice to leverage customer-specific data. Imagine the customer's frustration in having to go through generic IVR menus and other useless prompts. You know who the caller is. Re-use the data from the smartphone app and put them in the right queue. Or offer callback so you can connect them to agents at a time more convenient for the customer.

Email Phishing Shark Repellant
Scam-based emails often masquerade as legitimate communications from vendors. Financial providers and insurance companies alike are plagued by these phishing scams. That's why there are so many proprietary, Web-based email systems. The standard is to send an SMS or email alert that your customer "has real mail" on your proprietary Web-based messaging system.

Fortunately, message alert tools let you "badge" a smartphone app or push an alert box to users. Take Apple Push Notification Service (APNS), for example. If you already invest in a Web-based email app, it makes sense to fold that into the mobile app. Now, you can simply pop the badge on the app instead. With a little forethought, you can deliver both the alert and the message in the app itself.

This beats leaving the smartphone app only to open an email and then following a hyperlink to read yet another message in a different app. Having to go through several apps does not provide a good customer experience. It is better to keep them inside the app and reduce the amount of clicks needed to deliver what customers want.

Chat Inside, Not Outside
Some companies deliver real-time chat capability from within a smartphone app. This can be emulated inside of customer service-based applications as well. Imagine offering self-service inside your smartphone app but also offering a built-in chat help line. Self-service can only go so far; sometimes the customers want to interact with the vendor directly.

Companies can add real-time chat to their app in two ways. First, use the standard XMPP protocol implemented in a variety of open source libraries that are available for smartphones. Tie this to the chat server, and it saves the customer the headache of having to exit the vendor's app, including its credentials and helpful electronic data, and jumping to a completely separate application. Second, embed a Web-based chat implementation into a browser window tied to the smartphone app. Either way, it provides a more seamless experience for customers.

Conclusion
Just having a smartphone app is not good enough. Besides self-service robustness, good customer service makes it easy for customers to traverse multiple channels on their smartphone and take their credentials with them as they do so. The result is a superior customer service experience. By taking advantage of these tips, you can ensure excellence for your customers.

Edwin Margulies is the Vice President of Social & Mobile Product Management at Five9. Ed is an industry veteran with significant expertise in customer service, voice and social technology. Ed has designed hundreds of automation systems and contact centers for both network and enterprise deployments. He’s also an author, having written more than a dozen books on contact center and social technology.





COMMENTS



August 16, 2017

Contact centers have long been at the leading edge of innovation in communications technology, given their promise of measurable ROI and the continual need to optimize customer interactions and sta

July 12, 2017

Enterprises have been migrating Unified Communications & Collaboration applications to datacenters - private clouds - for the past few years. With this move comes the opportunity to leverage da

May 31, 2017

In the days of old, people in suits used to meet at a boardroom table to update each other on their work. Including a remote colleague meant setting a conference phone on the table for in-person pa

August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.