New from Contact Solutions – My:Time Is Quantum Leap for Mobile Customer Care
Hosted voice and self-service specialist Contact Solutions has debuted a new service platform called My:Time. A couple of its features have the potential to change the mobile customer care paradigm permanently. First and foremost, the company has made good on the promise of putting each customer in control of their interactions by adopting at “Start, Pause, Resume” model for asynchronous conversations. It sounds sort of “out there” but believe me, it is something that mobile customers can quickly grow to like and use.
The second feature is closely related to the core “Start, Pause, Resume” conversational model. It is the support of “App to Agent” connectivity that does not require initiating a phone call and makes sure that metadata associated with the real-time conversation (such as the callers identity/account number, location, previous activity on Web sites or chat, status and entitlements) are transmitted to the agent desktop along with the real-time conversation. Users don’t have to know or even dial a phone number; nor do they click on a “call your customer representative now” button embedded in an app. Instead, they are informed of the wait time for an available agent and they can choose to initiate a chat, leave a voice memo or wait for the right person to talk to.
To validate the power of My:Time, Contact Solutions has a strong reference from Robert Saurer, Director of Customer Experience and Innovation at Boston Globe. The publisher has been been part of the beta launch of My:Time for a number of months and will now roll the service out to all of its subscribers. In an interview Sauer notes that newspaper subscribers found it easy to get started, that they quickly discovered the value of the service for routine queries, like account status or to arrange for alternative delivery. He had praise for the platform’s ability to enable subscribers to move from chat to live discussion and to, in effect, elect whether they preferred self-service to interacting directly with an agent. To assist in that decision making, the My:Time platform enables The Globe to let subscribers know how long they will have to wait to talk with a person. They can use that information to decide whether to switch to chat, schedule a callback or leave a voice message for an agent to listen to when he or she become available.
According to Contact Solutions executives, beta testers like The Globe are finding an economic benefit arising from customer control. More often than not, they choose a low cost channel as the most efficicient way for them accomplish their tasks. This is where the “Start, Pause, Resume” capability of the My:Time platform makes itself evident. In addition to the Globe’s real-world experience, Contact Solutions has built a use case for a government agency that debit cards that beneficiaries use to pay for everyday goods like groceries. In the demo, the recipient uses the mobile app to inform the agency that the card has been damaged. She uses the camera on the smartphone to take a picture of the damaged card to validate her claim. She is informed via chat that his claim has been received and that the agency will send an SMS text to alert her when the new card is being sent through the mail.
The beneficiary accomplishes her desired task without necessarily involving a government employee to assist. It is a true Win/Win.
There’s more to the Contact Solutions My:Time Platform story, including tools and an SDK for developers to bake My:Time controls into existing mobile apps, software and support for displaying My:Time originated conversations and metadata on agent desktops, hooks into leading CRM systems to help support marketing and sales goals and, finally, the use of advanced analytics (including chat analytics) to help predict the purpose of each conversation. Yet the real news, from Opus Research’s perspective, is around the asynchronous conversational model that recognizes (a) that the 70% of the calls into contact centers originate from mobile phones, (b) that the majority of those phones (at least in North America) are smartphones and (c) that smartphone owners accept and benefit from the fact that media converge on their mobile devices.
This could be the start of something big in terms of defining the next mobile customer experience.