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It's tough to overstate the effect of mobility on the unified communications and contact center markets, but contact center specialist Interactive Intelligence is among vendors looking to tackle the opportunity head-on by bridging the traditional gap between self-service mobile applications and help from an agent.
Interactive on Monday launched a new platform, Interaction Mobilizer, that allows businesses to provide self-service applications to customers using everything from iPhones and Android devices to corporate Facebook credentials and tie those applications back into contact centers.
Mobilizer offers the ability to develop and deploy mobile apps in a device-independent format that can then be pushed out to the various mobile platforms and social media sites that Interactive Intelligence supports. Among the many features, Mobilizer provides contextual information -- such as a customer's name and call history and, if enabled, GPS coordinates -- to assist contact center agents as a pop-up on their screen.
Bridging that self-service/agent interaction gap is a bigger issue than it seems, said Brad Herrington, Interactive Intelligence's senior manager, solutions marketing, in a recent CRN interview. Most corporate mobile applications do little more than list an 800 number somewhere in the app interface for customers to call if they require further assistance. In fact, nearly two-thirds of customers engaging in self-service via a mobile application end up needing more detailed assistance from a contact center agent, according to data from Ventana Research.
Customers can also use Mobilizer to request call-backs from service representatives and receive updates as to when they can expect those call-backs. Future versions of the service will offer chat, text messaging and video, as well, Herrington said.
Customers can brand their own mobile applications using Mobilizer and then publish them in the applications store of their choice, be it Apple's, Android's, Microsoft's or other sources, or they can offer them through a corporate website.
"We're not trying to change the app store process," Herrington said. "We don't see the point of doing that."
Customers don't have to re-publish applications when updates needed -- Mobilizer handles that -- and they also have the ability to test changes to applications before they make them available. Organizations can also use the software track mobile app usage as a form of analytics, and the platform further integrates with customer data systems such as those by Microsoft, Oracle and Salesforce.com.