Customer Service through apps is like a mobile promise…

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Over one year ago, when I realized how blind brands and companies started creating apps for their business, I wrote my 5 strategic reasons why brands need an app. Although this was written with some twinkle of my left eye, I am 100% sure of what I stated in my 5 arguments (and many people shared these thoughts around the world).

Apparently, a study proves more or less what I sent out as an advice to brands those days: Have a valid business reason, and more importantly, have the right back-end support, when you start building an app… especially when using it for customer service reasons.

When your strategic reason of your app is meant to become a „Servicesetter“, a promise from brands to help and be there when people are out in the streets, companies want to make sure that there is sufficient service behind their mobile technology: people, products, processes. A recent study conducted by Constellation Research now finds that most companies have not really established service and support for those modern mobile customer service touchpoints.

Obviously, it has taken many companies years to establish some kind of customer service via digital media which makes customers want to use it, email and online chat amongst others. According to the study, it will be similar with mobile. Companies create mobile apps (and open up social channels on Twitter or Facebook) but are not set to handle the business coming through to them. Although it might be a marketing advantage for them, companies tend to forget the customer, and don’t think about what it means to deliver 24/7 support via social or mobile platforms.

„Customers are taking it to the streets. They’re going to go out and complain about your company on Twitter or Facebook or whatever–and their expectation is that companies will respond.“ Elizabeth Herrell, Global Communication Analyst and Strategist, Constellation Research

The report also finds that companies use different teams for mail or phone customer service versus mobile and social. These later teams then have no information on the quality of the customer. The customer then don’t get feedback, stop using the app, writing bad reviews. Thus, nobody is going to use the app in the future. Money is wasted if nobody understands the strategic and tactical importance of an app.

Spot On!
Apps are 6 times more popular than web browsing these days, states a study that Zokem just recently released. And apps create smartphone loyalty, says Gartner. If companies bear in mind that web-centric people are not as loyal to brands as they have been, the importance of having the right strategy for the app and the correct processes in place that deliver the mobile promise becomes apparent. Herrell’s conclusion is that customers need to take customer service via mobile and social more serious, and dedicate teams to it which have the same capabilities as their counterparts on i.e. the phone. The customer service teams will not only have to be able to write a 140 characters tweet but also to understand the urgency of reponse, the importance of the client from a buzz point of view, as well as giving some feedback in „real-time“… and that can be via phone or the mobile app then.

My advice would be: „Think why your brand wants to offer a mobile promise to your customers. Then start building an app…!“

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  1. Study: Why most mobile brand apps don’t work… am 28.07.2011 00:27 

    […] On! First of all, companies need to understand that handing over an app to the customer is like a promise to care for the customer. It is not just another marketing or communication channel that brand can play around with – […]

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