Smart(er) Customer Service for Smartphones

As Smartphones increase their market presence and more and more newer devices appear in the market, the complexity of the Smartphones has the potential to cause significant problems for the subscribers and carriers. A typical life-cycle of the Smartphone includes – Purchase, Activation, Network on-boarding, Configuration, Control, Check/correct(Diagnostics), Update, Lock/wipe (Security), Backups, New application downloads and more.  Users obviously are accustomed to the reliability and ease of making phone calls and expect the same ease in operating their emails, their phone books, their Internet access, facebook, twitter and other applications.  When there is any trouble with any of these services, the first line of help is the carrier.  And, the help request is always urgent and immediate – therefore starts with a phone call to the carrier.

Yet, as the carrier receives the phone call to solve the subscriber’s problem, there could be potentially many “cockpit” problems with the handheld device that have nothing to do with the network.  Such “cockpit” problems are typically setup, configuration issues where the user may have inadvertently set something incorrectly – as a result of which the device may not function appropriately.
The list of such issues may include:

  • E-mail configuration and setup
  • Link with PC/Mac
  • Network setup for Internet access
  • Wi-fi setup
  • Firmware upgrade
  • Device failures
  • GPS functionality
  • Other

In order to address the “cockpit” issues, a Customer Service Representative (CSR) may have to spend over 30 minutes during just one conversation to help the subscriber configure her email on the new device or set up the link with PC/Mac. Multiply the 30 minute phone conversations by over 40 million Smartphones shipped each quarter and that amounts to a 1.2 billion-minute problem for the carriers for just one quarter!

Mobile Device Management (MDM) for fast problem resolution

Jim Barthold, of points to a couple of vendors, Innopath and Mformation who have created solutions to this massive customer service problem.  Providing the CSR with limited access to the subscriber’s device using Mobile Device Management, this 30-minute plus conversation can be easily reduced to 5 minutes or less.  Which means – Happy, loyal subscribers who can go back to using and consuming more voice and data services;  Happy, loyal subscribers who recommend the service to their friends and family; Lower costs of service to the carrier; and Happy, loyal Customer Service Representatives who have more time to up-sell and cross-sell.
In addition to helping serve the subscribers quickly, MDM can also help in passively monitoring and benchmarking the customer’s experience by monitoring call quality, bandwidth consistency and other measures of quality of service.

Future –Cloud-based Services for your Mobile Device?

The incorporation of MDM into providing faster customer service points to a future where many of the services required by subscribers will be cloud-based and served effectively through the cloud.  As one can see from the “Everdream” offering by Dell – the services may include: Software/firmware distribution; Security software (anti-virus/anti-malware); backups; data encryption; remote access to the device and many more.

Future – More Personalization?

MDM also opens up tremendous opportunities for personalizing subscriber services provided by the carrier. For example, a carrier may use MDM capabilities provide a premium subscriber with a higher quality of service, time-limited access to various paid applications to entice the subscriber to add them to their services, time-limited access to content such as music, streaming video,  games etc. as an up-sell offer, upsell offers for value-added services such as Person-to-Application (P2A) SMS and more. Additionally, the carrier could continuously update the subscriber’s firmware using Firmware Over the Air (FOTA) updates.


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