Leveraging Mobile Apps for Call Center Efficiency

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  April 30, 2012

This article originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of Customer Interaction Solutions

Call centers and smartphone are colliding in a big way. And now many companies, such as airlines, that already have their own mobile phone apps and also have large call centers are starting to realize they can leverage those smartphone apps to ask pre-call questions for more efficient call center operations and customer responsiveness.

So says Shai Berger, CEO and co-founder of Fonolo (News - Alert), whose cloud-based call center solutions provide companies with visual dialing and virtual queuing services.

Asking customers pre-call questions via their smartphone apps can make future interactions between company and customer a whole lot faster and more efficient, Berger says.

As discussed in a past TMCnet article, Fonolo says it’s now important for customers to add intelligent agent calling to a mobile application without a requirement to make any changes to the call center. Mobile apps offer the ability to reduce operational costs and improve agent efficiency; create a differentiated customer experience; provide a uniform interface between the web and mobile; capture rapid, informative caller feedback; and convert more web visitors to callers.

Fonolo, in the article by TMCnet contributor David Sims, outlined what they see as three of the major challenges this addresses:

Decreasing cost-per-call without sacrificing the customer experience: Now, more than ever, financial companies place extremely high demands on their call centers. Agents must be highly trained to deal with the increasingly complicated and sensitive demands of their customers. It’s no surprise that financial companies have the highest agent costs of any industry, leading to a high cost-per-call and a desire by companies to keep call handle times as short as possible.

Using the investment you are making in mobile applications to improve call center performance: Broad adoption of the smartphone has created opportunities for dramatically enhanced interaction with customers. This trend has been embraced by financial companies that were early adopters of mobile applications. But a key piece is missing from these applications: connecting intelligently to the call center.

Reducing the burden of authentication for callers and agents while maintaining sufficient security for the transaction at hand: Naturally, caller authentication is a common aspect of call center transactions throughout the financial industry. This authentication process often has an automated component through the IVR as well as a live challenge and response component with an agent. Both components tend to increase the frustration of the caller. The latter can add significantly to call handle time and thus increase costs.

Fonolo recently extended its solution with the introduction of virtual queuing, another effort to improve customer experience and loyalty, and increase call center efficiency.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi