Majority of online retailers already have or are developing a mobile strategy

In Canada, estimates say that 30% of all wireless users will be on smartphones by the end of the 2010 and 50% by the start of 2014

– Convergence Consulting Inc. as reported in “We’re flocking to smart phones”,
Iain Marlow, January 12, 2010, The Globe and Mail

As smart phones continue to become more common, companies that value customer service are embracing the platform by releasing dedicated mobile applications.

For the banks it’s a must-have

See my recent post “Third Canadian bank in 2 months releases an iPhone app“. Four large banks have released iPhone apps in the last few months. CIBC was first in early February followed — a week later — by BMO. TD followed in mid April. ING Canada released theirs in March. Who’s missing? Of the five “majors” only Scotiabank and RBC. And they are certainly working rapidly to release before the end of the year.

Retailers are adopting the mobile platform

Forrester Research and Shop.org release a study last week on this phenomenon. It states that nearly three-quarters of online retailers either already have or are developing a mobile strategy. The average investment is $170,000 but large retailers are spending several times that.  (“The State of Retailing Online: Marketing, Social Commerce and Mobile Report” is available to Shop.org members and can also be purchased directly at www.shop.org/soro.)

The future of the call center is a visual interface

At Fonolo, we believe the rise of the smartphone is a driving force for the next generation of the call center experience. And we believe that experience will center around a visual interface. To understand why, consider the context of the customer when he calls in the call center. For the last decade a growing fraction of callers have been in front of a web browser (often, the company’s site) when placing a call. (In a recent conversation with a large bank’s retail group, we learned that 30% of their callers are on the website when they place the call.)

Fonolo makes it easy

Now combine that with the growing number of callers that are on a smartphone. The sum of those two will soon be, if not already, a majority of callers. And what’s special about those two contexts? In both cases, the caller has an interactive visual interface at his disposal. An interface that, if used properly, can vastly improve the calling experience while reducing the cost for the company. Our job at Fonolo is to make that possible and, more importantly, easy for any company to do.

Fonolo iPhone widget