If you read the many articles by industry pundits about mobile communications, you will see an emphasis on the flexibility offered to end users with multimodal (or omnichannel) smartphones and tablets. They can initiate any form of contact, ranging from messages to voice/video connections, and can receive any form of communication contact as well.
Unfortunately, however, the emphasis of such flexibility is still focused on person-to-person contacts, in the same way that legacy telephony has primarily done. Although there have been automated telephony calls generated for both telemarketing and customer care purposes, the ability for mobile devices to exploit more efficient, personalized, proactive business process notifications is still evolving.
It is time to recognize that real-time incoming telephony is being subsumed by near real-time proactive messaging notification, which is more cost-efficient and flexible for basic information delivery and self-service transactions. With new WebRTC options to click-for assistance, conversational live assistance can also be contextually and efficiently accessed on demand by mobile customers.
Recent studies have already shown that most consumers don’t call a contact center until after they have researched their problem online. Now, we can exploit the greater accessibility of mobile device users to monitor customer status and proactively notify them if there is a problem that they need to be aware of and take action on. It is also most efficient to enable customers to respond to such problems easily with self-service options, rather than force them to initiate voice calls in an attempt for assistance.
There are several vertical markets where such notification use cases can be very useful, including education, financial services, government services, health care, insurance, etc. However, it will be important that notification messages also allow recipients to respond easily and flexibly with their mobile devices. This will not only be to confirm receipt, but also to access self-service apps for follow up actions, or to access live assistance if necessary.
To do all of the above, whether with live agents or self-service applications, we have to starting looking at the contact center as an interaction center that can handle both inbound and outbound contacts between people and with online self-service apps.
Incidentally, there is also a need for customers to have control over the many automated notifications they may receive from business process applications, some of which will be important, others just annoying.
Edited by Maurice Nagle