Modern “smart” devices enable their users to communicate in various ways. Texting, tweeting, browsing, chatting, talking… are some of them. Each of these channels are used for different purposes. Or put differently: each of them shine at different “disciplines”. This is the case for private communication, but also for customer interactions.
SMS and Twitter are great for quick and concise message exchange, either in a more private or a social setting, respectively. The mobile Web and “apps” are good for performing more complex transactions, getting information that doesn’t fit in 140/160 characters, or for managing accounts and services. While chatting is generally a great way to get in touch with companies for support or service inquiries when a serious keyboard is available, it can be cumbersome on smartphones without one. The voice channel, however, is what phones were originally made for. Today, customer service often starts with IVR applications or voice portals (good or bad), and ends in the contact center if problems are of more complex nature (or the IVR was ill-designed).
Given the diversity of the channels, it makes sense to use each channel for what it is best suited for. At Voxeo, we support all of said channels for automated communication. Let me demonstrate how you can, e.g., combine SMS and (Web) apps to kill two birds with one stone: provide great service, and save money (or increase revenue).
Utility companies provide regular services that are fundamental to your everyday life. Every one of us has a relationship with one. We need to pay our bills, monthly. While we understand the need for these payments, we don’t always remember them. For the utilities, this human trait can have immediate financial impact. The sooner the bills are paid, the better. How can they solve this problem? Through pro-active communication.
A customer could sign up for text alerts. For outage restoration notifications, for energy bill saving programs, or for payments. Using Voxeo technology, companies can send a simple and convenient payment reminder to a customer’s cell phone, driven through integration with the billing backend. With existing payment information usually on file, the payment could be made right through texting: A simple response to the message could authorize companies to withdraw money from a registered account or credit card. Anything more complex, such as making a payment using a new card, could be done through a mobile Web site (or “Web app”) that the text provides a direct link to – literally.
Check out the following example:
After receiving this text message, I can choose to pay with the card on file, or switch over to an SSL-secured mobile Web site which gives me more options, such as paying with a different method, scheduling a payment, talking to a customer service representative right within the app, or getting a callback. How convenient! I can get to do a household necessity on the go, and the utility will get their money in time.
Note that both the SMS experience and the Web app are configured as one application in Voxeo VoiceObjects, our multi-channel Application Lifecycle Management Suite. Through our approach, you only need one front-end tool for development, which reduced development time and required skillsets. You will also benefit from consolidated backend integration and cross-channel reporting and anlytics!
The different channels are put to best use. Customer service is improved. Revenue flows. I call that win-win!