Think about the growth of the mobile device market. Smartphone purchases have already surpassed PC purchases, but by 2017, 87% of the worldwide smart connected device market will be tablets and smartphone, with PCs (both desktop and laptop) being just 13% (IDC). This year, there will be more people accessing the web using a mobile device than a wireless computer (IDC). Almost five billion people in the world are now using smartphones (eMarketer).
Now think about service channels your customers use – email, support portal, phone, self-service knowledgebase, apps, etc. …. They’re all in your customers’ hands 24 hours a day, seven days a week via smartphones and tablets. Yet, many brands are still not prioritizing mobile customer service and the mobile customer experience. That needs to change in 2015 because:
1. People say their mobile phone is now just as important as deodorant. In a 2014 survey of U.S. consumers, 91% say their mobile phone is just as important as their car (91%) and deodorant (91%), and significantly more important than television (76%) and coffee (60%) – and coffee’s important.
The report also found that the youngest millennials view their mobile phones as more important (96%) than both deodorant (90%) and their toothbrush (93%). There are many comments that could be made here, but I think this confirms the importance of mobile phones in the daily lives of consumers and especially millennials, who will be spending $200 billion annually with brands by 2017 and $10 trillion over their lifetimes.
2. Gartner Research says weak mobile customer service is harming customer engagement. In a new Gartner Predicts 2015 research note, Gartner analysts say that weak mobile customer service is a drag on present and future customer engagement. “Marketing may fill the sales funnel, and the sales department can close a deal, yet it is the overall impression of the enterprise generated by the quality of customer service that differentiates one enterprise from another,” said Michael Maoz, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, in the accompanying press release.
Seventy-five percent (75%) of consumers think companies should make answers to all their common questions available via smartphones (Synthetix); 72% of consumers have a more positive view of a company if it provides a mobile customer service app (Nuance). Time to start turning mobile customer service from a weakness into a strength.
3. More of your competitors are realizing the value of mobile customer service and doing something about it. In his recent blog post, The Emergence of Mobile Customer Service, ThinkJar Principal and Founder Esteban Kolsky’s research shows that 78% of organizations say mobile customer service is valuable to them (up significantly from 31% in 2013), and 67% are now doing something about it (compared to 59% in 2013).
4. You need to decide whether your mobile customer service is centered around an app, a mobile responsive support portal, or both. In Parature’s eBook, 2015 Customer Service Trends to Watch, Beyond Philosophy’s Colin Shaw discusses mobile customer service. Here’s an excerpt:
“Mobility. The world is going mobile and many companies are scrambling to catch up. Too many are trying to create their apps, and they aren’t always practical. For example, I watched an ad the other day for an auto insurance app that allows you to take a photo of the accident and then send it to the company automatically.
My issue is, how many times will I use this app? According to Forbes.com, we average an accident every 17.9 years. Now I have an app on my phone, taking up storage, and I will likely never use it (for the life of that phone anyway). If or when I do have an accident, I have to work out how to use it. Sending an email to the company with attachments is far simpler.
The question is not always, “What app can we create for our Customers?” Companies need to ask, “What’s the best experience we can provide Customers?”…
5. Mastering mobile customer service will help you adapt to the Internet of Things. In the same Gartner Predicts research note referenced above, Gartner analysts note that nearly 60% of customer service interactions required the intervention of a human support agent in 2014; but by 2017, this will be cut nearly in half through “more radical self-service, communities, alerts and mobile devices.”
Forrester also predicts that by 2018, mobile devices will be rich interfaces for highly customized service experiences based on who the user is, what their current situation is as measured by a variety of sensors, where the consumer is located, and what the service provider knows about both the user and the overall situation. This coincides with the Internet of Things which Gartner predicts (excluding PCs, tablets and smartphones) will grow to 26 billion units in 2020, with each consumer’s home potentially having more than 500 smart objects collaborating.
Being able to deliver effective customer service (both self or assisted) via mobile devices with smaller screens now will help brands and organizations transition to delivering service and support if needed via smart objects, smart appliances and more in the future.
5 Customer Service Trends that Demand Your Focus
Interested to read what customer service focused analysts and thought leaders including ThinkJar’s Esteban Kolsky, Intium LLC/Innovantage’s Brian Vellmure, The Service Council’s Sumair Dutta, Beyond Philosophy’s Colin Shaw and Parature Co-founder Duke Chung have to say regarding trends that deserve and demand the focus of customer service teams and customer-centric brands and organizations, as well as get best practices for each?
Click on the link below to download the complimentary eBook, 2015 Customer Service Trends to Watch.