Customer service transformed by mobility

OvumMobility is changing the way enterprises approach customer service. The rapid adoption of smart devices by consumers is already having an effect on the deployment of customer care technologies in enterprises.
Ovum expects that as consumers become savvier about using the mixed-channel mobile environment for complex self-directed service, enterprises will be able to begin tapping the full capabilities of the smart device on multiple levels.
This will occur over the course of the next few years. An important determinant of quality in customer experience will be whether smart, connected interaction (SCI) capabilities are embedded within an enterprise’s mobile apps and contact center infrastructure, as described in Ovum’s recent report The Future of Customer Service in a Mobile World: Smart, Connected Interactions.
SCI enables enterprises to leverage basic contextual and historical information about the customer, along with data that is unique to the mobile experience and the multichannel connectivity of the phone. When these elements are combined, the enterprise can perform triangulated and much more sophisticated analyses of the customer’s needs, and provide a personalized interaction that better manages the overall customer experience.
At the time of writing only a handful of organizations are using SCI capabilities in their mobile customer care, but this is expected to change over the coming years as customers increasingly use smart devices as their entry point for customer service.
Mobility becomes mainstream for customer engagement
Over the next five years there will be notable shifts in the US, the UK, France, Germany, Brazil, Russia, India, and China when it comes to how consumers engage with enterprises for customer service. More than 50% of inbound customer service calls across these eight countries will be made from a mobile device by 2016, and a significant proportion of that percentage will be from smart devices.
Enterprises need to be prepared to handle customer interactions that emerge from different, more complicated contexts. Issues such as the customer’s location and ability to access the internet will become relevant, and these changes are happening very quickly. Enterprises will have to do a great deal of conceptual rethinking of what constitutes a “good” and “appropriate” customer experience.
Even with the proliferation of new channels and self-service capabilities, consumers will seek out assistance from live agents. Given the expected changes in the way consumers will engage with customer service (from a device standpoint), it is imperative that enterprises begin to devise strategies to integrate mobility into customer care and to ensure that SCI capabilities are folded into mobility.
Form to follow function for customer service on smartphone
Ovum’s research shows that more enterprises are in the early stages of assessing the impact that mobility will have on customer care than are yet designing strategies for mobile care. Many organizations have already rolled out rudimentary mobile apps to their customer bases, but most of these apps have no underlying integration with existing care infrastructure or data.
SCI capabilities are used by only a handful of enterprises today, but the smart device is a powerful connected tool that enables multiple channels of communication. There are many possibilities, and we expect form to follow function. It is up to the enterprise to understand customer dynamics and device capabilities, and to constantly innovate in this area to help drive customer satisfaction higher and thereby improve customer retention.
Over the next few years the market will witness a race to deploy more advanced, integrated technology, and there will be a shake-up of the internal political structures that hamper quick reaction time. Mobile customer service demands that an enterprise be quick, agile, and adaptive. Those companies that streamline their decision-making across multiple departments will have an advantage in terms of customer engagement and customer experience.
Daniel Hong is a lead analyst for enterprise telecom at Ovum. For more information, visit