Friday, March 28, 2008

The impact of mobile devices on call centres

Chris Skinner over at Finextra has a great article "Numbers, Part Eleven: Mobile and Cellphones". Chris writes mainly from a financial services perspective but has some really good statistics on how traffic from mobile devices has grown. Examples include:

  • there are three billion mobile telephone subscribers worldwide, 1.1 billion PC users and 1.8 billion credit card holders;
  • 1,000 new mobile telephone connections are added every minute;
  • 60% of subscribers are in developing countries, and 80% of new mobile telephone subscribers are from developing countries;
  • there has been a 10% increase in mobile usage in the last year, resulting in a 1.2% rise in GDP;
  • a 2.5% reduction in the cost of remittances results in a 60% rise in volume; and
    mobile payments users average 26% more transactions than card users (according to NTT DoCoMo's Edy studies in Japan).

The rise in mobile devices has had a huge impact on call centres because customers can call an organisation from anywhere. In the past you could assume that the phone channel meant a customer at home, while if the customer was out and about that meant they had to go to branch.

Now customers can call their bank from outside the branch to see if they can get a better deal in the call centre channel. Similarly, mobiles now allow voice and data to presented, rather blurring the distinction between internet and voice channels. I suspect video might well be the next thing for mobiles, from evidence for insurance claims to helping with complex transactions. I've written a bit on this last week (though not specific to financial services) at: Video and contact centre - some thoughts.

I suspect in the future we may not look at the distinction between channels, but the instead think of the distinctions between end-user devices and their capabilities.

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