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Contact Center Managers Get Some Mobile Mojo

Contact Center Managers Get Some Mobile Mojo

At long last, mobile technology is coming to the aid of contact center supervisors and not just agents. In this case, Five9's latest cloud contact software application offers an iPad app for managers that includes functionality such as text chatting with agents, the ability to monitor queues, stats and agents, and the ability to listen in on calls.

By Erika Morphy CRM Buyer ECT News Network
06/18/13 5:00 AM PT

Another day, another mobile app release; except in this case, the app is aimed at the contact center supervisor -- not exactly a role that has been inundated with mobile functionality to this point.

The application in question is Five9's latest cloud contact software application, which includes mobile functionality. Released earlier this month, enhancements to the suite include multichannel capabilities, Mac support and an iPad app.

This mobile app was developed for contact center managers specifically -- as opposed to agents -- and it provides them with functionality such as text chatting with agents, the ability to monitor queues, stats and agents, and the ability to listen in on calls.

Moving in this Direction

There are not many apps aimed at this particular role in the contact center space, said Liz Osborn, vice president of product and solution marketing at Five9.

In fact, in the bigger picture, "mobility has been a hot topic in the CRM space but has struggled to find a home in the contact center industry," Osborn told CRM Buyer.

Certainly there is truth to this observation. As CRM mobilizes, vendors are focusing their firepower on the low-hanging fruit -- their customers, in other words, who are clamoring for ever-more-sophisticated mobile sales and marketing apps. Further down the food chain are customer service and contact center apps.

Changing Contact Center Trends

Now, however, that trend is shifting, Osborn said.

For starters, it's been the case for years that agents have been becoming more dispersed as contact center operations decentralize, but now it's moving to management as well.

Contact center managers were typically expected to remain on site -- at least, that's how many workforce management applications were designed in years past.

Today, though, that assumption no longer holds true in many cases.

"This functionality extends the remote workforce capabilities even more," Osborn said.

Upcoming versions from Five9 will add mobile reporting capability for managers.

"Supervisors will be able to access a variety of reports as well," Osborn said.

Five9 is not the only contact center application to mobilize its supervisory functions. Other examples include Aspect Workforce Mobile, a mobile application for supervisors and managers, and Arise Virtual's Starmatic, which includes a mobile scheduling version that has email and SMS notifications.

Adding the Consumer to the Mix

Incorporating mobile into the back end of the contact center -- that is, the workforce management piece -- is only the start, however.

In fact, the contact center has been woefully undermobilized, but technology exists that could bring consumers into the contact center via their mobile devices, Robb Hecht, an adjunct marketing professor with Baruch College, told CRM Buyer.

"Current contact centers cannot see what the consumer is seeing," Hecht explained. "The brand contact center of the future will be armed with apps giving the consumer user the ability to share what they see with the brand/customer service agent -- and hence the customer experience will be strengthened."

Hecht envisions the consumer of the future able to take pictures of their particular problem -- say they cannot assemble a product they have purchased -- and then uploading them into the app. Then, the customer service rep will be able to respond to the customer in real time with answers on what their next move should or should not be, he said.

"As mobile apps move completely into the mainstream consumer use," he predicted, "they will become tools for consumers to communicate with companies about defective products and for real-time queries on how to use products or put them together."


Erika Morphy has been writing about technology, finance and business issues for more than 20 years. She lives in Silver Spring, Md.


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