In the US alone, Forrester is forecasting nearly 100 million smartphones by the end of 2011. And digital customer experience professionals are meeting the new mobile demand by creating or redesigning mobile experiences: 34 of the 48 customer experience professionals we surveyed at the end of last year said that they’re planning major mobile design projects in 2011.

In the rush to create great mobile experiences, most end up focused only on what occurs within the browser/app experience. But we know that consumers often call the call center when they can’t accomplish their goal on the Web. And that transition isn’t always seamless.

Let’s say we have a customer using a mobile banking app to look up the balance on his mortgage. Once he sees how much is left, he wonders what his options are to refinance at a better interest rate. He can get some basic refi rates in the app, but he wants to know whether, as a longtime customer, he can get a better rate. He goes to the "Contact Us" screen in the app and clicks on the phone number.

What happens next? He starts at the top of the IVR. He has to identify himself all over again and route to an appropriate agent. Talk about a frustrating experience for the customer and a waste of time for the agent to recapture what he was doing!

Remember: A smartphone is also a phone.

If the browser or app experiences are built for seamless transitions to phone agents, they should:

  • Make it easy to initiate the phone call. It’s all about providing access to the phone call in the browser/app where needed — that means anywhere a user might want to transition to an agent, not just on a “Contact Us” screen.
  • Get users to the right place. Connect users to a phone agent who can actually help — not the top of the IVR where users have to start over.
  • Connect users to an agent who has the context for the call. It’s not just about getting users to someone who can help, it’s also about transferring over to the agent as much context about what the user was doing before he or she decided to call and who he or she is, if possible.

I want to hear from you. What is your company doing to create a seamless transition from the smartphone mobile experience to a call center agent? What are the challenges? Have you seen other companies do it well? Join the discussion in The ForresterCommunity For Customer Experience Professionals: