Feb 10, 2013
This episode came from a video interview of Shai Berger of Fonolo. We talk about how they are able to add a layer into the fabric companies already have to improve the customer experience. Plus some hope for 2013 and scoop on their upcoming new customer.
Berger: There is this growing gap in what is seen as the norm on one side but has not been met from the other. Many companies are hobbled by legacy call center equipment. Customers today using their phones, their smart phones it must seem like something from another era when they finally come through to an agent and have to repeat their answers to multiple agents. There is a huge potential here.
Berger:There are 3 main problems; phone menus, waiting on hold & repeating information to agents. We are working to solve these main problems across the web no matter how they approach the companies.
Berger: We build on top of those processes already in place. There is a huge investment already in place and we place ourselves on top. the key to make that work is the simple callback. Fonolo sits in the middle to manage that process. One way this is done is by placing a widget on the website. the customer sees the contact us page and the visual interface let s the customer chose how they want to interact with the company and ask for a callback when they are ready. Behind the scene is Fonolo making the inbound call to the call center. The call center sees the call like any other inbound call. We navigate the IVR and wait in queue. The agent gets a regular inbound call, we place the callback then to the customer, bridge the two together and the customer has this great experience and nothing had to change on the call center side.
Berger: Right, people have set up Fonolo in a matter of days. The customer adds the widget to the website and Fonolo navigates the IVR as a gateway to the call center. The same is the case for mobile apps. Lots of companies have mobile apps. This is a huge trend in customer service. You can add a Fonolo component to the mobile app it does the same process. It is a visual representation of the IVR. They tap the choice they need and some time later a callback is made to the customer.
Berger: It is a cloud based service which makes it easy to deploy and makes pricing very low. We have companies with 5 agents which use our solution at $100/month. This is nothing really new. There are solutions from Avaya "Callback Assist" and Cisco has "Courtesy Callback" but these have been totally out of reach for smaller companies. These are much too expensive for them and here at Fonolo we wanted to make this the "norm" for them as well.
Berger: There are a few macro trends playing here and one of the big ones is the smart phone revolution. We've hit a tipping point with just a few months ago we've passed 50% smart phone penetration here in the US. So, when a platform becomes so ubiquitous it is hard for companies to ignore the kind of advantages you can have for your company by using this platform. I always cringe when I got to a mobile app which has all this functionality and then there is a "contact us" tab and they just have their regular phone number. You are throwing away all the functionality that platform is giving you. So my vision is that within a few years there should be no smart phone apps doing this anymore.
If you have a smartphone app it should be a lot smarter than just displaying the 1800 number
Berger: We need a change in attitude among the larger companies. The bigger banks, airlines, retailer need to recognise this value, We have had a long trend of looking for the cheapest way to serve customers. We need to see a change to invest in the technology and enable the agents to better serve the customer.
How we can find out more about Fonolo.