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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

All Mobile Users Need Multi-Persona Devices

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October  29, 2012

Smartphones and Tablets Need “Multi-Persona” App Controls

It’s getting very obvious that it is “consumer BYOD” that is driving all kinds of customer service activities to UC-enabled, mobile, self-service applications accessible in public or private “clouds.” Whether the mobile application servers are located on premise or on a cloud service is also becoming a business option The bottom line is that “mobile apps” are shifting the emphasis of UC ROI away from just internal “collaboration” benefits to include servicing all mobile end users (customers, employees) , who can now be more accessible to automated business applications and to flexible, multi-modal communications with people (person-to-person).
I have been using the industry term, “dual persona,” to describe the way that a single, mobile device can be used to separate personal contact activities from business/job related contacts and information access. For a very detailed description of what “dual persona” entails for mobile application management, check out these two blogs here and here. 
However, the more I think about the consumer’s need for mobile access to information, self-service mobile apps, and lastly, access to live assistance, there really is a need for more than two (dual) mobile personas. Why?
Every User/Consumer Is A Customer Of Many Businesses And Services
Although business users must separate their job/role responsibilities from other personal communication needs, the latter really must be broken down further into relationships as customers with a variety of different business services they need to interact with. That brings the cloud-based, “multi-modal interaction center” into the picture to support customers with UC-enabled, mobile, self-service applications to minimize the time and costs of handling traditional telephone calls to legacy call centers.
Since each customer relationship must be personalized for the individual end user, the mobile consumer will need to be supported by different UC-enabled self-service applications provided by their different service providers. Whether it is from providers of health care, banking, insurance, government, retail, etc. services, each provider will have to control selective and contextual (“smart?”) accessibility by their different customers to information and assistance. Thus, we really have a need for a separate “persona” for each customer.
The question is, where will “persona” information reside - on the mobile device or in “cloud”-based business portals?
Inasmuch as online application portals have already evolved as practical points of inbound customer contact from PCs, it would seem logical that they can now be expanded to support both mobile, multimedia user interfaces, as well as proactive outbound notifications to end users through CEBP integrations. That combination of capabilities will provide a logical progression of self-service applications to integrate with UC-enabled live assistance. Giving mobile customers such flexibility will certainly enhance customer satisfaction and minimize support costs.
Making The Change To  Cloud-based “Multi-modal Interaction Centers       
Even while the mobile technology developers are putting all the pieces together for next- generation contact centers and services for multi-modal, mobile consumers, the challenge for CIOs is to start getting ready for the impact that technology will bring to customer service business and operational management. Although we may start off by making things more efficient and effective for consumers/customers, we also have to prepare for its impact on customer-facing staff and remote home agents.
Here are some basic issues to consider:
·        What kind of “click-for-assistance” contacts will come from what kind of customers?
·        How will  “contextual” screenpops change with UC enablement?
·        How will a customer authorize/control automated outbound notifications from CEBP-enabled applications?
·        How will different customer assistance modalities be assigned to customer-facing staff and what happens if a “click-to-talk/video” option is exercised from a chat session?
·        How will “always on” mobile customers exploit non-real-time assistance and “call return” options?
Note that these have nothing to do with what kind of mobile device a customer is using (customer BYOD).
Since most organizations don’t have enough experience to know all the answers yet, one of the big benefits of cloud-based services is that it is a practical way to trial new self-service applications as well as learning what skills live staff assistance will need in a multi-modal environment. I have addressed this approach in a recent white paper.