Ask someone about a recent customer service experience, and you’re likely to get a diatribe about self-help menus that don’t help, voice response systems that fail to understand you or what you want, having to repeat (or enter) the same information over and again, and so on. The rant typically ends with the oath, “I’m never going to do business with Company X again.”

It’s a far cry from every enterprise’s desire to “delight the customer.”

The Numbers

According to Forrester’s Customer Experience Index 2012, only 37 percent of brands received good or excellent customer experience index scores this year. Sixty-four percent of brands got ratings of “OK,” “poor” or “very poor” from their customers. And 24 percent of the people who had poor experiences shared their frustration over social networks, making a business’ problems even bigger.

What’s the cost of a customer relationship lost to a competitor or abandoned? An average of US$ 289 according to a report by Genesys Labs, "The Cost of Poor Customer Service."

So, does it make any sense to take those same lousy customer service systems, processes and workflows and extend them to mobile devices?

The obvious answer is no.

NICE Systems Thinks it Has a Solution

“It’s time for new solutions,” says Assaf Frenkel, Head of Mobile Customer Service at NICE Systems. “The idea of mobile customers dealing with contact centers 'the traditional way' is unthinkable.”

Simply adding an “app for that” into Google Play or the iTunes store isn’t the answer. In fact, it might even make things worse because mobile users have come to expect their experiences to be effortless and seamless and, if they’re not, they’ll take their business elsewhere. Many of today's mobile users are “digital natives” who demand instant solutions and instant gratification.

Frenkel points out that technologies built into smart mobile devices can be leveraged to inform and document customer/merchant interactions and to cut down on the amount of data that a user needs to enter and the time he needs to spend getting assistance.

Consider that a smartphone, provided it’s set up with most of its features activated, can not only tell a customer support website, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system or live customer service agent who you are and where you are, but it can also leverage multimedia collaboration tools such as text chat, image exchange and document transfer.

“Smart mobile customer service strategies must allow customers to interact with enterprises via their powerful devices, with apps, converged voice-data capabilities, cameras and even GPS,” says Frenkel.

But the possibilities for improved customer service doesn’t begin or end with mobile devices alone, advanced systems contact centers employ technologies for interaction-capture, analysis and real-time agent guidance.

Combine the two and what emerges is a tremendous, untapped opportunity to create service experiences beyond customers’ wildest expectations, says Frenkel.

And this is precisely what the NICE Mobile Reach solution that was introduced earlier this week promises to do.

Broader Implications

It’s important to note that it’s not only information captured by mobile devices that makes them smart, their ability to pull in documents and media from repositories make them powerful, too. Documentum’s mobile app, for example, makes it possible for users to access and browse repository content, including rich media such as images and video, anytime from anywhere.

Field workers can use their smartphones to log into secure repositories and check out the documents they need to do their jobs. And managers on-the-go can use them to access, approve and collaborate with co-workers and business partners while remaining in secure, compliant environments eliminating the need to drag a laptop around.

“Leveraging smartphone capabilities in a smart way presents a win for everyone: the customer, the enterprise employee and the enterprise itself,” says Frenkel.