Ways to Make Customer Service More Mobile
How long will this take? Will my problem get fixed? And does this company really know me? These concerns are top of mind for consumers when they receive customer service. Being able to respond to these needs are musts for any company. Now, however, a revolution in mobile services is raising the stakes for these customer service goals.
Smartphones, apps and high-speed mobile networks are changing the rules of the game for customer service. Direct service that used to only be available in-person or over the phone is now accessible anytime, anywhere via mobile devices. Mobile technology has empowered consumers to connect with their favorite companies 24/7 through devices that serve as veritable customer service supercenters.
As a result, consumers have accelerated by light years the way they integrate mobile with customer service needs. They expect personalized service to address their needs, and they expect it immediately. When they forget an account password, for example, they expect to have a new one sent immediately.
With the range of mobile communication channels available, the capability to strategically send messages — especially urgent ones — and reach customers through their preferred channels has not only become critical, but expected. This need hits particularly close to home for marketers because these engagements can directly impact a company's most valuable asset: its brand.
In particular, two elements unique to mobile have begun to reshape the customer experience: payment validation and real-time engagement. These capabilities are setting new standards for customer service that will increasingly influence how people leverage the mobile channel.
Engaging customers through multiple channels
New mobile channels available through apps and social media have combined with traditional channels (e.g., email) to present a range of options for consumers to choose their communication preferences. As a result, companies needing to reach customers with important messages through one channel can face a complex challenge in today's fragmented mobile landscape. Fortunately, new technologies enable a sequence of mobile channels to be automatically activated to deliver important messages in a strategically escalated format, and also offer consumers the power to select and personalize the way that they want to be communicated with.
These technologies can use text messages, emails, push notifications, social media updates, Apple Passbook updates and voiceover web communications to be assigned priorities to various stages in the communication process and escalate message delivery by leveraging different channels. For example, an airline can send a push notification to its app for all passengers of a flight if it's suddenly delayed. The notification can link to an app and request that passengers confirm with a response if they would like to wait for the flight, find the next available flight or cancel their ticket. If the passenger doesn't respond, the message can be automatically escalated, according to a customer's preferences, through an email, text message or phone call.
New mobile advancements have honed geolocation — the use of a mobile device's location — as an effective tool to remedy two vexing problems related to payment validation: protecting against fraud and reducing "false positives," legitimate transactions that are blocked because they're erroneously identified as fraudulent. Geolocation can verify that a cardholder's mobile device is at the same location at the time of a purchase as a means to verify a legitimate transaction.
Consider when a traveler attempts to make a purchase in a foreign country. At checkout, when the card transaction is being authorized, the traveler's bank detects that a purchase is being attempted outside his or her home country. By sending an automated request to the card user's mobile operator, to which the card user has given permission, the bank can identify the card holder's mobile device location, cross-check this with the location of the attempted purchase, and protect against fraud and minimize false positives at the same time.
New mobile advancements have empowered consumers to expect to be served by their favorite companies in real-time, personalized ways. The two elements above will set new standards for consumer expectations that marketers should seek to implement as part of customer service strategies. Their brands depend on it.
Fatema Hamdani is sales executive director, enterprise and Intelligence solutions, Syniverse, a provider of technology and business services for the telecommunications industry.
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