Mobile Customer Interaction Technologies for Supervisors
Mobile technologies for customer service are hot - but most of the attention has been focused on how customers can get customer service and support from their mobile devices. This is all well and good, but there's another aspect that hasn't received as much attention - yet. With the growth of mobile devices in the workforce, managers and supervisors no longer have to be tied to their desks. They are free and untethered, allowed to move from place to place while accessing the information they need at their fingertips.
It's difficult for supervisors to spend time with their staff while maintaining visibility into the contact center operations. This is changing. By using tablet devices, supervisors should be able to see in real time how the contact center team is actually doing and keep a pulse on activity from any location, while also being able to walk around the contact center and interact with agents, thus increasing productivity and effectiveness.
Demand for mobile supervisor technologies is currently limited, but is expected to increase as the "bring your own device" (BYOD) movement increases in most organizations. In fact, a 2012 study by the Ponemon Institute found that 81 percent of survey respondents allowed BYOD to access organizational data. According to a Morgan Stanley research report, 29 percent of companies currently purchase tablets or allow user-owned tablets on their networks, with 67 percent expecting to move in that direction in the next year. The contact center has for the most part been left of out this growing phenomenon, as most organizations do not provide tablets and mobile devices to contact center personnel. This is starting to change, and more and more contact center supervisors and managers are either bringing their own mobile devices, or having them provided by their employer.
Depending on the application used, supervisors can view historical reports, real-time statistics and activity, review recent call recordings, drill down into agent and group activity, and more.
They can view in real-time when service levels are not being met, and ideally should be able to intervene and take the necessary steps based on current data.
Most of the contact center vendors now offer some type of mobile supervisor capabilities, with more on the roadmap. However, most of these offerings are limited to simply viewing the activity, without being able to take the necessary actions to remedy a situation.
An Overview of Mobile Supervisor Offerings
Most of the contact center vendors have focused their attention on enabling users to connect with contact center agents from their mobile devices, while ignoring the need of mobile capabilities for supervisors. While most of the leading contact center vendors have some basic mobile capabilities for supervisors, they are not as rich as their desktop-based capabilities.
The following provides an example of some of the products available in the market. This is not a comprehensive review of all of the vendors and their offerings.
Mobile Supervisor for IQ
To support supervisors and management in the contact center, Avaya has an iPad-specific mobile supervisor app that works with its Avaya IQ product and is available from the App Store. This application is aimed at providing contact center management a 360-degree view of the contact center to manage the day-to-day operations as well as the ability to communicate and collaborate with agents from a mobile app.
The iPad app is designed to let managers walk around the floor to see what's going on in real time, enabling them to see the same information on screen as in the real-time reporting solution. Using an interface similar to the Flare Experience, the right side of the screen shows agent information, and the left side shows queues and various statistics. Users can drill down and see what agents are doing in real time. The top of the screen displays current statistics. Summary data for the last 15 minutes can be seen in a pop up window, allowing managers and supervisors to view what agents have been doing since the start of the day, as well as what skills and skill levels the agents are assigned to. For each queue, users can see a real-time view of agent state that is updated every three seconds. By clicking on a queue, supervisors can see the number of contacts waiting, expected wait time, maximum wait time, percent in service level, percent of abandons, number of calls handled, and number abandoned.
For each agent, users can view agent status and duration, as well as agent performance data including average handling duration, average active duration, average hold duration, average wrap up duration, redirects, handles, held contacts, and transfers.
Avaya Aura Performance Center Mobile Supervisor
In the near future, Avaya will be evolving Avaya IQ to Performance Center, Avaya's new portfolio-wide common reporting and analytics business intelligence platform to support Avaya Aura Call Center Elite, Avaya Aura Contact Center, and Avaya Interaction Center. This includes developing both real time and historical reporting and analytics capabilities within Performance Center, ultimately providing cradle -to-grave insight and intelligence across Avaya Customer Experience Management applications and external sources.
Avaya plans to develop a mobile application for Performance Center to let agents, supervisors and managers view adherence levels by component, call, agent, profile, etc., and drill down and compare agents
Avaya plans to expand its mobile capabilities to more advanced report users and business owners, and will create mobile-optimized reports and dashboards across the various analytics modules within Performance Center.
Cisco's Supervisor Mobility solutions include two separate products - Mobile Supervisor and Mobile Reskilling. Cisco believes that the future experience will be browser-based, rather than native app-based, and will develop more browser-based capabilities. Cisco is one of the few vendors enabling supervisors to make changes to queues and to move agents in and out of queues using the mobile device.
Cisco Mobile Supervisor is a free, native application available from the Apple App Store used to provide real-time information, including reports and visual cues when key metrics are out of bounds and service levels are not being met. Mobile Supervisor works specifically with Cisco Contact Center Express platform. The native iOS app is an extension to the Cisco Supervisor Desktop (CSD) on a mobile device that shows real time statistics such as calls in queue, number of agents logged in, agent state for a specific queue, etc. Going one step beyond the ability to view information, Cisco Mobile Supervisor lets supervisors take action using the iPhone or iPad, and can log agents out and change their state (move to ready or not ready).
Cisco Mobile Supervisor is currently only available for the Express product. In the future, Cisco will use a browser-based approach and leverage the web interface to provide mobile capabilities for the Cisco Contact Enterprise product.
Mobile Skill Manager
Mobile Skill Manager is a browser-based app for iOS 5.x and Android mobile devices. As opposed to being a native app, Mobile Skill Manager uses the browser on any device to display information and to allow supervisors to add a new skill, assign/modify skills for an agent, and modify the competency of an agent. The app is extensible and one example includes a mobile version of Cisco's search and playback app for their MediaSense recording platform.
Going forward, Cisco will move to a hybrid approach, leveraging both native apps and web browsers when appropriate. Cisco views web apps as easier to deploy and able to work on any browser, although the user experience is going toward leveraging the device and having a native device experience. Cisco will make the user experience web based, but will have a skeleton app that leverages the specific Android and iOS device capabilities and can invoke web based capabilities.
Mitel provides mobile supervisor capabilities using VMware View to access supervisor tools remotely on a tablet.
Contact Center Desktop Client Support in VMware View Supervisor Mobility lets Mitel provide the ability to run its Supervisor Client on any tablet OS that VMware View supports, including Android and Apple IOS. Supervisors can invoke functionality to change agent skills, redirect calls, etc.
Supervisors can view real time stats using the virtual desktop capability and can manipulate agents and assign them to different queues and adjust service levels for queues. With the View client running on the tablet, whatever the supervisor can see on the desktop they can see on tablet, with no loss of functionality in the View environment.
Mitel's next release, Contact Center 7.0, will support a fully functional Supervisor Client natively on Windows 8 Tablets, enabling, supervisors to view all real-time screens on Windows 8 tablets natively. Supervisors will be able to route calls, redirect calls, and put agents in different skills, etc.
Voice4Net's CCHD - Tablet Edition, which will be released in the summer of 2013, lets supervisors view reports and flip through them in a book format on the iPad using a viewer built into the device. Supervisors can go to the agent level and move agents in and out of queues, chat with them in real time, and change agent teams and queues using a simple GUI. Supervisors can click on a queue and assign queues to teams, and move agents in and out of teams, while being able to be mobile and move around the contact center.
Using a touch screen, supervisors can view real-time dashboards, move agents to different queues, reskill agents, change media types, and do weighted load balancing. Voice4Net claims that the offering focuses on ease of use and administrative power, and is so simple that a contact center expert can be up and running in an hour, without the need for training or large training documents.
While not as pervasive, the explosion of mobile devices is making its way to the contact center, allowing supervisors to walk the floors and provide guidance and assistance to agents as needed, while monitoring activities in real time. Organizations recognize the value of ensuring that supervisors and managers have access to real-time information in the contact center regardless of whether they're at their desk, at a meeting, or while coaching an agent. As demand for these types of solutions increases, contact center vendors are enhancing their mobile supervisor capabilities at a rapid pace. While most products are currently limited to viewing metrics and activity, expect to see more solutions that enable supervisors to take necessary action and move agents as needed by using tablets and/or smart phones. Your customers are now mobile, why shouldn't your managers and supervisors be as well?