Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Interactive Intelligence Enables Gen-Y Customer Contacts with SMS

November 24, 2008

Watch anyone 25 and under – a.k.a. “Gen-Y’ers” – how they communicate and are reached, and chances are excellent that they’ll be texting, that is, using a short message service. If you observe those over that age recently, the odds are good that more of them are using the same medium.

A report released earlier this year by the Direct Marketing Association reveals that SMS generated far more responses – 70 percent – compared with 41 percent to surveys and 30 percent to e-mail offers. Mobile Web and coupons are also much less effective than SMS in connecting with customers.
For those reasons, to enable contact centers to reach out and be reached by customers in their medium of their choice, Interactive Intelligence is adding SMS to its all-in-one multi-channel contact center software suite, Customer Interaction Center.
The new SMS features, which are planned to be released by the end of December, 2008 are designed to help contact centers increase customer retention and satisfaction by: enabling mobile customers to use SMS to communicate with contact centers; routing, recording and reporting on SMS on the same way as other media types; enabling contact center agents to reply using SMS; and enabling customer notifications via SMS.
“As the number of landlines in the United States has been surpassed by the number of mobile lines the customer care industry has struggled to keep pace with consumers who increasingly expect technologies such as SMS,” said Ken Landoline, vice president of research for Synergy Research Group. “As the first to develop a Windows-based, all-in-one multi-channel contact center platform, Interactive Intelligence is in a prime position to maximize the value of SMS for contact centers and their customers.”
CIC, which already includes the ability to manage calls, faxes, e-mail, and Web chats, will now include proactive ‘push’ features that, for instance, enable a bank to send an SMS alert when checking account funds reach a customer-selected threshold. It will also include routing features that will enable customers to send SMS messages, such as a request for a hotel confirmation number and address while traveling.
“With the evolution of mobile devices and the convenience and flexibility SMS offers as a non-intrusive, ‘anywhere’ type of media, companies need to start thinking about how this technology can be applied to ensure they are not only retaining existing customers, but attracting the newest generation of customer,” said Interactive Intelligence founder and chief executive officer, Donald E. Brown. “Imagine if you’re a retail company able to send SMS messages to customers about pre-selected items that go on sale. That’s a major service differentiator, particularly for today’s ‘power’ mobile user.”

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Brendan B. Read is ContactCenterSolutions�s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan�s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan