Nuance Communications today announced Nuance Mobile Care, a mobile phone application designed to provide a “revolutionary” customer care experience. The company also said it signed its first U.S. wireless operator for the product, although it can’t yet disclose which carrier.
With the solution, subscribers dial the customer care number of their wireless phone service provider and they can check their balance, pay their bill or perform other tasks directly on the mobile phone screen. The call to customer care actually launches a data application on the phone rather than placing a call to a live agent. However, the customer can transfer to a live agent at any point.
Nuance is putting its money where its mouth is, so to speak. If a subscriber completes the transaction on the device, Nuance earns revenue; but if the call can’t be resolved on the phone and needs to go a live customer service agent, it doesn’t get paid, explained Kevin Stone, vice president of marketing for Nuance On Demand.
The service works best when the app is pre-installed on mobile phones before they’re shipped to the retail outlets, he said. Nuance also has relationships with handset OEMs.
In the future, the company plans to add speech. “Nuance’s whole vision is to allow people to interact with mobile applications in the way they want to interact,” he said.
Carriers already are automated with customer care to a degree, but they still use some 175,000 agents who could be better served by answering the more complex calls and not the simple ones, he said. Nuance has done usability studies and found that people start calling more when its system is in place because of the immediacy of the answers it provides.
Although it is now targeting wireless service providers, Nuance envisions use cases for other types of businesses as well, such as airlines, package delivery and banking, he said.