Interactive Intelligence announced Interaction Mobilizer, the latest application in its growing portfolio of products. As I recently wrote, Interactive Intelligence has come a long way since it launched its first software-based PBX in 1994. It was a pioneer in offering contact center applications in the cloud, which now include communications in the cloud and products for workforce optimization. The latest announcement follows similar ones from other vendors also announcing applications to support mobile self-service. Each of those products supports slightly different sets of capabilities, but all of them follow the trend to provide organizations with another channel through which customers can interact with them, and support customers who want self-service capabilities from their smartphones or tablets.
An increasing number of companies have developed applications so their customers can transact business with them. But customer service is more than that; it requires a series of capabilities that allow users to execute various self-service tasks such as looking up the balance of their account, searching for product information or tracking the status of an order. Interactive Intelligence has developed what it terms a “software platform” that allows organizations to build functionality within a shell that performs different tasks in response to user input. The shell takes care of interfacing with the device’s operating systems and capabilities such as presentation, allowing user organizations to focus on developing task-related functions that it then renders on the user’s particular device. The first release of Interaction Mobilizer will require developers to learn to code applications, but Interactive Intelligence says it is working on “drag and drop” capabilities to make it easier to develop applications. Built-in capabilities already allow developers to take advantage of common mobile device features such as touch screens, selecting data by spinning a dial and accessing location information.
In the past, most contact centers deployed self-service applications to save money by deflecting calls from live agents. My research into customer experience management shows this hasn’t been very successful, as large numbers of users resort to the option to speak with an agent. If mobile applications are to avoid this rejection, they will have to deliver the information customers are looking for quickly and in ways easy to use, and will have to support prompt transfer to an agent if the need arises. Interaction Mobilizer provides a framework that should allow organizations to focus on task-related functionality that meets these customer requirements. Such applications for smartphones and tablets could have huge potential; customers might at last be able to take more control over solving their own issues without speaking to a live agent. Done right, that would be good for both customers and companies they buy from.
Have you considered mobile self-service? If so tell us more and collaborate with me on this topic.
Richard Snow – VP & Research Director