The growth in smartphone usage in recent times has been staggering. More than one-quarter of the global population now use smartphones and over one-third (or more than 2.5 billion people) will do by 2018. At this point, over half of all mobile phone users will be on smartphones. The same phenomenal growth can also be seen in the tablet market. It’s been estimated that more than 1 billion people currently use tablets, a number that will rise to nearly 1.5 billion by 2018.
These numbers are of huge significance to service operators. They don’t just indicate that consumers are making themselves ‘contactable’ while on the move, it also means they are making themselves ‘intelligent’.
Mobile consumers today typically have a wide variety of feature-rich apps and huge amounts of computing power at their disposal. What they don’t typically have, however, is huge amounts of time, or the ability to listen to, and act on, complex instructions. The obvious conclusion to be drawn is that when mobile consumers call for help, service needs to be simple, fast, effective - and take advantage of the power and flexibility of their new devices.
‘In-app service’ addresses these issues. It recognises that mobile users rarely want the inconvenience of logging into web sites and raising support tickets (or similar) or of scrolling through complex FAQs, entering complex details about devices, operating systems, app versions etc. It also recognises that people don’t want lengthy phone conversations with service representatives while travelling.
By embedding service functions within mobile apps, in-app service ensures that service queries can be handled quicker than ever before, more accurately and with a higher proportion resolved using self-service.
Typical in-app service features include:
- Rapid searching of FAQs (rather than having to scroll through all answers)
- Key device, software information etc. stored within app and automatically passed to service department when query is raised
- Web chat (set up with a single click)
- All information relating to a single support ticket (or query) collated across multiple interactions (regardless of the communications channel used)
- Built-in feedback tools to measure satisfaction with support channels (such as live chat) plus analytics for deeper visibility into customer actions
In-app service maybe relatively new, but it is already proving extremely popular. According to recent research:
- 45% say it’s more convenient
- 40% say it’s always available
- 25% say I don’t want to wait on hold to get help
- 20% say it’s more personal
- 16% say I prefer not to talk to a person for some issues
In addition, 84% of consumers say they generally prefer to use a company’s mobile app for routine inquiries (checking balance, check flight status, etc.) rather than calling the company on the phone; while 72% say they have a more positive view of companies that have a customer service app.
It’s clearly a win-win for both consumers and service providers. And with the added benefit to businesses that the more customer data they’re able to collect, the more comprehensive a profile of the customer they can compile and the faster they can resolve future queries.
Armed with this wealth of information, businesses may also be able to add to the lifetime value of their customers by monitoring usage, providing relevant self-help and anticipating problems before they even turn into support tickets. One company, for example, recently claimed that, by using in-app customer service, it was able to cut the time it spent on managing support tickets by more than half.
With this vast range of benefits, it’s no wonder the in-app service market is awash with activity. Salesforce has recently launched its own in-app customer service, Yahoo has recently acquired a mobile productivity app maker, and Amazon has taken up the idea with its Mayday service.
Can your business afford to ignore the in-app service opportunity?