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Apr 252012

Zor Gorelov, CEO of Speech Cycle, recently wrote an article in which he suggested that the call center “will cease to be the primary channel between companies and their customers. In its place, the smartphone will become the contact center of the future. He predicted this shift would happen by the end of 2012.

While there is no doubt that the rise of the smartphone opens up many new opportunities to interact with clients, for at least the foreseeable future, clients who need help are most likely to use that device to call customer support. (It is a phone after all.) Here are just a few of the reasons why the call center is the opposite of dead, according to a counter point by Jeff Valentine of Mashable.

  1. ZZ34B1FDC2.jpgReach. A phone number has (nearly) 100 percent reach, he says. Everyone can call a number. On the other hand, a service app that offers customer support would not have fare as well. According to one Comscore report, 11.2 percent of mobile phone users have an iPhone. So, if you build a customer service app for the iPhone, 88.8 percent of your customers won’t find, install, or use the app. They’ll just call. You could increase the reach (and triple your cost) by building apps for Android and BlackBerry as well. But even then, only 48.6 percent of smartphone owners use a downloaded application. This means you have to factor in how many of the roughly 50 percent of smartphone users who are inclined to run an app will be drawn to yours.
  2. Cost. According to the author, it costs about $1 per minute for the average call center to service a customer. So, 1,000 customer calls lasting ten minutes each costs $10,000. The average cost of developing, launching, promoting, and maintaining a mobile app is about $30,000. Will such an app result in call volume decreasing by 3,000 calls in a year? Reducing calls by 3,000 in a year doesn’t seem nearly as likely if fewer than 12 percent of your customers can use the iPhone app. Of course, you could increase your cost to $90,000 by adding Android and BlackBerry. Then, the math only works if you can decrease your call volume by 9,000 calls.
  3. Customer Service. The cost of providing high touch customer service using the most important channel today — voice — won’t change just because people have smartphones. What would you do if your new digital camera didn’t turn on? Search the app store for the digital camera manufacturer’s app, download and install it, register your camera, and then walk through a nice pictorial troubleshooting wizard? Or would you use that same phone to dial the toll-free number for customer support?

United Call Center continues to offer high-quality, professional and inexpensive call center services to our customers! We promise to answer. Always! And that’s a claim you can’t make with a cell phone or an app!

About Neal Lacy

Neal Lacy has written 82 posts in this blog.

Neal Lacy is an expert in professional call center services. He provides great content on a wide variety of topics concerning answering services, message services, order taking, and virtual receptionist. He is main writer for United Call Center.

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