Engaging Customers through Mobile Apps

“The future of mobile means a more intricately connected ecosystem of applications. The ‘walled gardens’ will be torn down and roads and bridges between apps will be constructed. The relationships between the apps that a user has installed on their phone will become exponentially more important to both the consumer and the business themselves.” – Nate Smith

The surge in mobile devices, social media, and collaborative methods has been unprecedented and has taken many by surprise. For companies these various channels pose a challenge towards providing a seamless experience and engaging customers. Almost all customers first turn to their mobile devices when searching for something, wanting to buy, playing games, or using the many apps now in the market. Customer service representatives and their companies therefore, now have the cumbersome task of supporting these millions of customers, who have come to expect instant service and thus have very little tolerance for long wait or hold times, and or disconnected support. They expect to connect with any company at any time, from anywhere, and using any device they choose.

Engaging customers and serving them well are part of the same set of expectations they have from a company. The strength of mobile apps and the new technology is that companies do not need to have a full blown office operation running round the clock, but instead can leverage this strength to become more agile, responsive, and efficient when serving customers. Engaging customers through mobile apps should not be tough since these apps provide real-time updates and ready to use information, through an internet or data connection. In addition, the field staff of companies would have ready information, and be able to make spot decisions in order to help their customers, by staying connected with their company. This development by way of mobile apps has brought companies closer to their customers, allowing them to stay connected, and widen their reach across the globe. Engaging customers therefore should be a lot easier if a company were to use these technologies and social media platforms wisely. No one knows who is connected with whom – one happy customer could potentially connect a company to several other potential customers, adding to its business without the added effort.

Mobile apps are a great way towards engaging customers since companies can provide even better self-service to their hurried and demanding customers, reduce the number of call to their contact centres, which in turn would bring down the on hold times for other customers. In addition, unifying the channels by providing seamless support across all of them, makes it a lot easier for customers to connect with a company at their convenience. Making things easier and comfortable for customers is the very basis of great customer service. The fact is that for any company their largest customer base would be customers that are always ‘mobile’ – a number that is consistently increasing and set to become even bigger.

Engaging customers is no mean task, and even if customers do not say so, there would be many occasions where they would be frustrated, and hating to interact with a company. One of main reasons of their ire would be the lack of consistency, uniformity, and efficiency in support across the many channels of communication. People become easily frustrated when they need to wait, or when they are ‘forced’ to repeat information about themselves, which ideally should be easily accessible to the company representatives via a centralized system. IVRs and contact centres that do not work efficiently, are a major cause of strife and grief for customers – for them the first point of contact in a company working poorly reflects badly on the company as a whole, and they would much rather leave the company than receive shoddy service.

Mobile apps for customer service are gaining in popularity.  This is even more so, since the many self-service portals and channels do not fare too well either. There are times when a customer would have a rather complex problem, which a self-service system may not be able to resolve, and it is then that customers must have human interactions or be able to ‘call’ on some system of the company that works. It is really the responsibility of the company to service the customer well – reduce wait times, ensure shorter handling times, and overall improve the experience that customers have with the company. Companies are therefore turning to self-service mobile apps to engage customers. These apps help to guide the customers through the customer service process, view every step of the ‘way’, and finally interact directly with the system in order to resolve their issue, without the human and traditional self-help system limitations. Mobile app users now have access to whatever they need in order to resolve a customer issue they may have, without the endless wait to connect with a company representative.

With the mobile technology now available through websites and apps, customers expect that companies would always be at the top of their customer service game, providing top class and consistently great service through every interaction and touch-point. The fact is that customer service now is at the top of the priority list for customers – those that can provide top class service will succeed, while those that fail would be pushed into oblivion. It would be prudent for customers to find ways of engaging customers through mobile apps and whatever means possible – if they expect to keep their business alive in the cutthroat business environment of today. Mobile technology enables customers to serve themselves through user-friendly and easy to navigate guides that provide all the answers they may need. Companies that offer solutions and helpful tips through their mobile apps would not only keep customers happy but also engaged by providing them with reliable and accurate information in the palm of their hand, round the clock. Doing so will ensure in the long term, that your company would become the go to company – serving even prospective customers, likely to become actual buying ones.

Since customers would be able to get answers at their convenience, the need to call a contact centre or demand constant attention is reduced greatly for them. Most small businesses are unable to afford a large contact centre set up, nor do they have the bandwidth to support 24- hour shifts – mobile apps are the answer to help customers irrespective of the time of day or night, or whether company representatives are available to respond to queries. Just by having the capability of staying connected with a company when they want, is something that customers really appreciate, and would use the service to the maximum.

As mentioned, one of the top ways for a company to stay ahead of competition and keep their business in the forefront is by providing great customer service. This in turn is a great way to build the company’s brand – allowing customers to associate it with dependability and reliability. When customers can connect to a brand easily, through their mobile devices, they are more likely to use the brand and stay loyal to the company. Mobile apps and tools help business owners monitor their business, anticipate problems, know what may be working, and how customers react to the brand. This helps a business owner to keep track of the business in real-time, such that they can do away with any customer related problems before they become unmanageable. Serving and engaging customers is extremely vital to the health of any business, and mobile apps serve as round the clock resources to help customers whenever they expect and demand.

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