There’s a reason the word “app” became the American Dialect Society’s 2010 word of the year. Abbreviated from “application,” the terminology has entered the common vernacular thanks to the explosive growth of smartphone users. It sort of interesting to find myself saying the whole word “application” in the context of desktop and laptop programs, yet I use the short-form “app” when I talk about programs on my iPhone and iPad.
But we all love the apps on our mobile devices. From our fingertips we can instantly experience the joy of being entertained, to stay connected with friends and coworkers, and be productive with our work.
Companies have realized the power of apps to create another channel for customers to interact with. Users can buy products, share the experience, and easily lodge complaints — but still via emails or toll-free numbers. Others have gone farther to improve the interactive experience — Groupama’s app is a pioneering example.
Independent developers have realized the power of apps with novel ways to help consumers deal with companies. This is evident with apps such as Fonolo, LucyPhone, and FastCustomer. The value of these apps is they address the top complaint among users when dealing with companies: hold time.
Obviously, having an app wait for you is still far from ideal. Once connected to an agent, you’re still speaking with a representative who has no idea that you’re a loyal customer, a new customer, or what you want to discuss. In other words, the app can know a lot about you, but how come that information isn’t passed along?
The missing link is CTI, and Exodus Software’s HERA wants to bridge that gap, starting with support of Genesys, the leader in CTI.
I’d whetted your appetite about this recently. According to Wyn Owen, owner of Exodus Software and lead developer of HERA, the software opens enterprise-grade Genesys technologies to the smartphone app market. Data gathered by an app can be passed along securely with 128-bit encryption back and forth between the app and HERA server, which can reside as a cloud service (using Amazon’s highly reliable infrastructure) or as a premise-based solution. Other media types such as WAVs, JPEGs, and videos are also supported. These interactions originating from apps end up in the Genesys environment like any others, completely transparent to the end users.
For example, an airline can now build an app for its customers to buy tickets from an iPhone (Android or BlackBerry also supported) app by entering parameters such as destination, dates, and so forth. And if the customer has a question before purchasing, s/he can tap the “Contact Travel Agent” button and get connected to a representative who will already have the customer’s frequent flyer account, name, address, and other relevant information.
This would be an exceptional user experience originating from a smartphone. After all, we never like to be asked more than once about our account number, and shouldn’t have to suffer again just because we decide to use a smartphone app.