We are, hopefully, all convinced of the importance of customer service. What about mobile device enabled customer service? Equally important I would say. Let me illustrate: A few days ago I overheard a conversation during which an 8 year old showed his dad’s new iPhone to a friend. When he got to the handset icon he said: “That’s the phone app”. That little snippet of conversation caused me to reflect on how smartphones (and tablets) are changing the way in which we think about being connected with the wider world. In the past being able to make and receive calls from anywhere was absolutely phenomenal. Today this is seen as just one of the many things that the devices that we carry around should be able to do. We use mobile devices to shop, surf, talk, text, chat, email, navigate and many other things beside. Perhaps we should begin to call them ‘remote controls for life’.
What does all of this tell us about the importance of customer service utilizing mobile devices? Consumers are responding to the rise of mobile computing with great enthusiasm. According to Google’s ‘Our Mobile Planet’ report (2012) the United States will soon reach the point when there are more mobile than desktop internet users. Companies that are serious about customer service will therefore have to take proactive steps to interact with customers who are getting used to instant and ‘within arm’s reach’ contact. Relying on traditional, office-hours based, ways of interacting with customers simply will not do anymore. Some of the ways in which customers with mobile devices may want to interact with your company include the following:
Making use of text messages (either through a device’s built-in application or a text service) can be an instant, efficient and very cost effective way of interacting with customers. This can be achieved through setting up short codes for different customer service transactions like product availability enquiries, order status queries and customer loyalty management.
Mobile Web, Social Media or App Based Chat
Mobile customers will place a high value on being able to interact with your company while surfing your mobile site, your social media profile or making use of your mobile app. This can be achieved through the setting up of a chat service where questions and queries can be addressed in real-time, straight from the device.
Service Based Alerts
Mobile device use not only presents companies with new incoming channels of communication (text and chat) but also hold out many possibilities for outgoing communication. It is, for example, possible to make use of ‘push notifications’ to keep customers informed of order status issues, delivery timing, special offers etc.
The importance of customer service that meets real needs is beyond question. Modern businesses should therefore realize that the mobile device friendly customer service options outlined above will become indispensable in future. According to Tata Consulting (The New Digital Mobile Consumer, September 2012) a full 33% of customer service interactions will take place on mobile devices by 2015. Consumers who rely on ‘remote controls for life’ will simply gravitate away from companies unable to interact with them on this platform. Make sure that your company does not get left behind.