While overall growth in the mobile phone market is slowing, recent IDC research shows smartphones are still experiencing strong growth, with IDC forecasting a 38.8 percent year-over-year increase in smartphone shipments in 2012.
So it’s not surprising that providers of contact center software are introducing applications that allow customers to initiate service and support interactions through their smartphones.
According to the company, Jacada Mobile Agent will reduce inbound call volume by enabling contact centers to create and offer self-service capabilities to users of smartphones and mobile devices without waiting for approval and deployment processes. The app allows customers to connect to a live agent, without having to repeat information such as their name, account number or nature of the call.
“One of the top sources of customer frustration when calling customer care is the IVR. In fact, IVR has become synonymous with poor customer service because it isn’t designed to handle complex customer questions,” said Gideon Hollander, Jacada’s CEO. “Traditional self-service only works if the problem is easy. However, when customer problems become complicated, the user experience breaks down. With Jacada Mobile Agent, customers will finally be able to take advantage of mobility and experience continuity when starting a self-service interaction, having the ability to complete the interaction in a traditional voice or chat channel.”
While IVR and Web self-service have seen limited adoption among consumers, Ventana Research’s Richard Snow predicts mobile self-service may be more popular – assuming companies design them properly.
Snow wrote in a blog post: “… Our research into the use of customer interaction technologies shows that in the past IVR and Web-based self-service have had limited success, with many users ending up calling the contact center. However, the popularity of mobile apps could make a difference. I predict that if companies use these tools to design mobile self-service apps with customers in mind, the apps could become popular with consumers and help organizations meet their operational and business goals.”
Currently in beta testing. Jacada expects the Jacada Mobile Agent software to become generally available in the third quarter of 2012. The company is currently accepting applications for the beta program as well as those interested in a proof of concept or pilot.
Jacada isn’t the only contact center software provider trying to capitalize on the growing popularity of mobile apps. In April Genesys rolled out a mobile customer care solution called Genesys Mobile Engagement that the company said enabled customers to use their smartphones to connect with customer service agents.