ATA Keynote Speaker Mickey Alam Khan

The 2008 ATA Convention & Expo officially began yesterday with a golf outing, preliminary meetings, and an opening reception.  This morning we were treated to opening remarks from Phil Grundzinski, chair of the ATA board of directors.  Phil took a different approach about privacy, with some light-hearted sharing of what he found about Tim Searcy (ATA CEO) online.  (With Tim’s permission, of course.)

Phil was followed by the convention’s first keynote address, presented by Mickey Alam Khan (see photo).  Mickey is the editor-in-chief of Mobile Marketer.  He shared his insights into the impact of mobile marketing on the contact center.  Mobile marketing is not proactively calling (which is currently restricted) or texting mobile phones (which will become restricted if unscrupulous marketers overuse or abuse the channel).

A current text messaging issue is using the GPS in mobile phones to identify a user’s location, sending location-specific promotions.  This has not been well received by users and must be curtailed.  Abuse in this area is sure to lead for calls to pass “Do-Not-Text” legislation and implement a “Do-Not-Text” list, similar to the existing Do-Not-Call (DNC) list.

Instead mobile marketing is primarily responsive in nature.  Increasingly Websites that are optimized for mobile access have a “call me” button.  “Call me: is increasingly popular for the mobile Web as it facilitates communication, while decreasing the amount of user scrolling and typing — both of which are more cumbersome and slower on mobile devices.

Contact centers are ideally positioned to handle these text messages, having the staff, experience, and expertise needed to be successful.  Already, the number of mobile devices world-wide exceeds the number of computers by 2.5 times.  To give further impetus for the present and future contact center opportunities for texting, Mickey cited the television show, “Deal or No Deal,” which receives more income from text messaging than from commercial advertisers.

For mobile users who want to receive text messages from a company, they need to sign up to receive messages.  The prevailing wisdom is that opt-in subscribers should receive no more that four contacts a month.  Again, this is another contact center opportunity.