Industry Research : Saudi Contact Centers to Spur Customer Service
The rise of smart devices in Saudi Arabia and a focus on customer loyalty has created the proverbial "perfect storm" for enterprises that want to reinvent the customer experience around smartphones and tablets.
Gartner research indicates that 39.7 million smartphones were sold in the Middle East and Africa last year, and this is expected to grow to 65 million units this year. Global smartphone sales stood at 676 million last year and tablets at 116 million. A report issued by the United Nations (UNCTAD) in 2012 positions Saudi Arabia as the number one worldwide in the use of mobile phones, with penetration levels reaching 188 percent. Smartphones account for a sizeable and fast growing portion of this.
Abdul Nasser Bangcola, country manager, KSA at Interactive Intelligence, said that these devices can help solve some of the challenges that have plagued the contact center industry for more than 30 years. For example, caller identity, intent, and call context (what the customer tried immediately before calling) can be easily and passively established before a call begins. Caller expectations can be better managed, and enterprises can smooth the arrival rate of calls with intelligent, resource aware call-back.
Once calls are set up, interactions can be augmented with the use of data services in parallel to voice, for example by pushing content to a user's device. Mobile is a "hot initiative" in many organizations today, but the ability to translate momentum into the development of customer care capabilities varies widely based on organizational dynamics and the center of gravity for mobile strategy within an enterprise. Simply put, the biggest challenge to the rapid implementation of smart, connected interactions is for customer care teams to collaborate effectively with teams they may not have worked with in the past. The ownership of mobile strategy within an organization dictates the approaches that care teams must take to bringing mobile capabilities to market.
Serving consumers in a world where the frame and basis of customer engagement is rapidly shifting is one of the biggest challenges for organizations today. With the consumerization of customer service communication taking root, implementing a successful customer care strategy means enterprises need to look beyond traditional measures and explore how they can serve the customer on the customer’s terms. A growing number of enterprises are supporting social media, SMS, web chat, and video in conjunction with traditional voice, web, and email channels. However, despite the proliferation of these alternative customer service channels the voice channel remains the most popular for customers attempting to resolve issues at the first attempt.
Mobility is upending how customer care is delivered
With voice still the dominant component of customer care, it is fair to describe most service environments as reactive. In most cases a business does nothing, takes no action, until a customer makes an inquiry. Things change slowly in this environment, but change they do.
The last decade has brought a series of incremental changes to the operation of customer care. Of late those evolutionary developments have sped up quickly and become revolutionary. The context that governs the transactional relationship between an enterprise and its customers has expanded beyond landline calls into multiple channels spread across numerous media.
This is challenging enough for customer care planners and the vendors that support them. When you add mobility you create a technological and operational combination that upends many of the traditional notions of how to care for customers.
Smart devices represent paradigm shifts in the way customers relate to the companies they interact with by simplifying consumer access to customer service across multiple channels.
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Published: Monday, September 2, 2013