It has been a busy time for Genesys, a company best known for computer/telephony integration (CTI) and routing software for contact centers. In February it split from Alcatel-Lucent and announced that with financial backing from two investment funds it was going forward as a stand-alone company. Over the last few years Genesys has diversified its portfolio to include workforce optimization, agent desktop, intelligent customer front door (ICFD) and analytics. Amid the current economic uncertainties, going it alone might seem risky and lead it to focus on these core products before expanding more. Not so; at its recent customer event, it announced a new product, Genesys Mobile Engagement, that it says “links mobile apps to customer service agents.”
At a glance this may not sound new to people who use a smartphone or tablet. There are apps that allow you for example to carry out basic banking transactions and speak to an agent by tapping the “call me” icon or selecting the contact record and tap to dial the center. But in taking either of these actions, you leave the app and when you get through to the agent basically you have to start again. The agent doesn’t know who you are, what you have been doing or other information such as where you are currently located. Genesys Mobile Engagement allows developers to embed a “call me” icon in the app that allows the users to stay in the app after using the icon. This allows the agent to see who the user is and what actions were taken in the app, and to pick up contextual information about the user through integration with other business applications or smartphone capabilities, such as location intelligence. These capabilities turn the interaction from being merely transactional – such as making a payment – into an electronic customer service conversation, but one in which the agent is better informed about the context of the interaction and what the customer is trying to do.
Genesys Mobile Engagement also has three other capabilities associated with mobile devices. It uses GPS information to identify the location of the caller and provide information such as directions to the nearest branch office the user might need to visit to complete the interaction. It uses a snooze capability that allows the caller to ask for a callback at a time of their choosing. And it uses the mobile device’s capability to deliver proactive alerts, for example, about service updates.
These capabilities enable developers to build what I call true customer service apps that have qualities of systematic, dynamic self-service that go beyond the simple menus you find on IVR or lists of FAQs you find on the Web. If developed with the customer’s perspective in mind, they should reduce interaction times and limit the need for customers to speak with agents. All the Ventana Research research agendas for 2012 include the premise that mobile technologies will be among the five technologies that deliver business innovations this year, so I expect products such as Genesys Mobile Engagement to improve what until now have been poor self-service experiences for customers.
Have you considered mobile self-service? If so, please tell us more and collaborate with me on this topic.
Richard Snow – VP & Research Director