Today, there’s little doubt that your customers are “going mobile”, and it’s only a matter of time before all mobile phones will inherently have smartphone capabilities. While statistics vary, approximately 40% of all mobile consumers in Western Europe own smartphones, and in the UK, this figure is even higher at over 51%.
Customers now expect to be able to reach your organisation anytime, anywhere, and expect an instant and meaningful response from your organisation instantly and 24/7. If not, it’s simple; they’ll take their business elsewhere!
Smartphones are becoming completely integrated into everyday life; recent findings from the Google/Ipsos 2012 survey show that 95% of UK smartphone owners have researched a product or service on their devices before making a purchase. Mobile is one customer service channel that has to be fully embraced and utilised to reach out to customers where they are. The mobile self-service channel offers organisations an unprecedented opportunity to provide an improved self-service experience which significantly reduces inbound call volume to call centres, capturing one of the largest growing demographics: constantly connected customers.
The emergence of mobile customer service
By fully adopting mobile as a new engagement channel, the opportunity exists for organisations to provide a seamless connection between self-service and customer care. Mobile enables customers to engage in a self-service session through an app that visually maps out the steps of the organisation’s customer service process, including the IVR. Customers are in control and able to visually journey through the app, with full support for data entry and sophisticated self-service capabilities. These sessions can proactively extract knowledge and retrieve or update customer information from back end business applications instantly. This gives your customer controlled access in real-time, resulting in more effective problem resolution.
Many customers prefer interacting with a visual IVR on their phone, which includes the ability to easily enter alphanumeric data, rather than having to listen to options or use the traditional phone keypad. This level of interaction enables customers to enter pin-codes and pass-codes in a way that they are already familiar with from unlocking their phones, helping to increase security and authentication. Companies also benefit from this as identification features such as a Customer ID is enhanced. Additionally, companies can provide customers with a more personalised experience, customising their mobile experience with content relevant specifically for them, therefore enabling increased cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. Mobile users should now have access to everything they need without needing to connect to an agent, allowing organisations to significantly reduce the number of inbound calls to their contact centre and at the same time provide a significantly enhanced customer experience.
There’s no getting away from the fact that there will always be a need for agent assistance in some interactions, so the goal has to be to provide a seamless transition to the voice channel from the self-service channel. Creating this seamless transition requires connecting the mobile session with the agent session. This begins by giving customers information via their mobiles about current hold times and offering the option of scheduling a call-back. With cutting edge mobile customer service technologies, once the call is connected to the agent, all the steps traversed by the customer, as well as any data entered, will be visible to the agent. This eliminates customers having to repeat information enabling more effective problem solving and a shorter call. Even better, the underlying systems that the agents work with can be prepopulated (or data can be retrieved) from the information that the customer has already entered, adding a further benefit of reduced handle times when the call is actually connected.
Smartphones are packed with capabilities... so use them!
Of course, these mobile self-service sessions extend far beyond the capabilities of a traditional IVR or web self-service interaction. Smartphones can leverage the inherent capabilities of the device, thereby dramatically innovating and improving the customer experience. For example, the device’s camera can be used to take a photo of a problem or faulty product and can then be sent immediately to the agent via SMS, email or an upload, significantly speeding up, and aiding the diagnostic process. Or, if you find yourself in a broken down situation and are unsure of exactly where you are, the phone’s GPS function could enable the agent to easily locate you easily and direct the roadside recovery van to your exact location. Additionally, new apps and mobile wallet technologies are being launched all the time by the banks and operators, allowing you to renew your car insurance premium on your device via the insurers self service app.
Mobile devices are becoming the largest a popular engagement channel for customers. Innovative and leading customer service apps can help organisations differentiate themselves in the customer service arena, now more than ever. With that in mind, organisations need to adopt a mobile customer service strategy sooner rather than later, or risk losing their dynamic, informed, mobile and constantly connected customer. The question is, will you be ready for them?