The next Top 10 list focuses on mobile strategies for providing superlative customer support:
- D1. Loyalty Reward Transactions and Support
- D2. Physical Goods Shipping Support
- D3. Digital Goods Transmissions
- D4. Installation/Setup Support
- D5. Technical Support
- D6. Community Engagement
- D7. Employee Support
- D8. Customer Service
- D9. Warranty and Repair Support, and
- D10. Product Recall Support.
Click the images to view.
A s you can see, there is a wide range of mobile customer support strategies that companies can consider. The key is determining which ones make most sense for your organization. Let’s view a visual representation of all ten mobile customer support strategies, followed by a review of each strategy in detail including a world tour of examples.
Figure 61: Top 10 Mobile Customer Support Strategies
There are several effective mobile strategies that you can consider to provide exemplary customer service.
D1. Loyalty Reward Transactions and Support
Loyalty Rewards: Loyalty rewards are going mobile, engaging consumers while they are on the go.
Designer Shoe Warehouse® (DSW) has placed a great deal of focus on servicing its 17 million reward members via mobile.[ii] Members can conduct a number of self‑serve options such as viewing their points balance and redeeming points. More than 15 percent of DSW’s traffic comes from mobile and 80 percent of this volume comes from reward members.[iii]
Shopkick™ has created an innovative loyalty program by offering rewards called kicks which can be used to purchase all kinds of products and services. Several retailers including Old Navy and Toys”R”Us have joined the partnership to promote this loyalty reward program.[iv]
D2. Physical Goods Shipping Support
Using mobile technologies to improve tracking and delivery of the shipment of goods can be a powerful way to improve customer satisfaction, strengthen your brand and avoid the risk of a negative impact on your brand for problems that occur. For example, Edible Arrangements is a company that sells fresh fruit baskets for special occasions and events. It implemented real‑time order tracking on its mobile site to better support its customers since delivery times are very important for this type of offering.[vi]
Click the image to view.
Figure 62: Sample Delivery Tracking App – Syntactix
Shipment tracking apps such as Pack ‘n’ Track can track shipments from FedEx, UPS, DHL and the U.S. Postal Service.[viii]
Delivery Service Tactical Tips
A common problem for creating a seamless m-commerce experience is the final delivery of product to the customer. Being at home at a specific time to accept delivery is problematic for many busy people. Furthermore, missed deliveries require the customer to pick up the goods at an inconvenient location.
Companies could consider a number of mobile solutions to address these issues.[ix]
- Send e‑mail and/or text messages to more accurately inform customers of the delivery time of the item.
- Automate the notification messages based on the actual GPS location of the driver and current traffic patterns.
- Let the driver know where the customer is based on the customer’s GPS coordinates imagine a parcel being delivered to a customer in their neighbor’s backyard rather than a missed delivery (an app already exists to do this).
- Provide lock boxes at the customer’s home or convenient locations as some companies have done (e.g., train station, nearby store, post office).
- Improve delivery security (e.g., delivery to the correct person could be verified by a photo on file or PIN number).
- Integrate smartphone capabilities into your workflow processes to improve customer service (e.g., customer could sign for the package right on the mobile device).
- Provide better tracking of deliveries left at the door. The driver could take a picture of the parcel and provide a GPS time stamp to prove the actual location and time of delivery, which would also enable tracking of lost packages.
Implementing the services described could even provide an opportunity for you to offer more profitable premium services, or at least reduce the risk to your brand due to shipping problems. Any organization that ships goods to customers should consider upgrading their logistics systems, hiring a superior courier/shipping company or partnering with them; they provide the shipping/logistics services, but you integrate the services as part of your offering. The goal is to provide exceptional physical goods shipping support, strengthening your offering and brand.
D3. Digital Goods Transmissions
Figure 63: Amazon.com Kindle eBooks – Digital Delivery
Transmitting electronic content such as ebooks, event tickets and product manuals to mobile devices means that we can finally move to paperless processes, reducing cost and our carbon footprint.
Figure 64: Airline Apps – E‑Tickets and Boarding Passes
Examples of paperless processes in the airline industry – transmitting electronic scannable content such as airline tickets and boarding passes can ease the embarkation process, providing benefits to both airlines and their customers.
A number of airlines such as Air Canada, British Airways and United provide customers with QR code boarding passes to speed up the boarding process and reduce the carbon footprint by eliminating printed tickets and boarding passes.[xiii] These boarding passes can even be sent directly to a smartphone’s lock screen image at the exact moment when a traveler arrives at the airport – no need to log into the phone, access e-mail and find the boarding pass. Very convenient.[xiv]
D4. Installation/Setup Support
There is a great opportunity for many companies to improve customer satisfaction and strengthen their brand by improving installation/setup support. For example, Lowe’s places QR codes on product packaging so that shoppers can learn more about the use of that particular product, while the QR codes on the inside of the product packaging point the customer to installation instructions.[xv]
Watch the Video: Installation/Setup Support – IKEA: Imagine the customer satisfaction improvement that would result from getting an installation video with every product purchased from IKEA. Here is a sample introductory video of installing a new IKEA Kitchen.[xviii] <goo.gl/23Bvi> (Duration: nine minutes)
D5. Technical Support
Social Media Technical Support: Technical support is another area where social media technologies can be used to improve customer service.
Best Buy employees provide customer sales and technical support via @twelpforce on Twitter.[xix] They have provided over 35,000 answers to customer inquiries, improving customer satisfaction along the way.
Watch the Video: Twitter Technical Support – Best Buy: Best Buy achieves significant branding and customer support benefits by providing technical support via Twitter.[xx] <goo.gl/hqfxN> (Duration: two minutes)
D6. Community Engagement
Providing a high level of technical support as described in the previous section can be very costly. This is where Community Engagement can play a critical role. Engaging the entire community to provide answers to fellow customers’ technical support questions has a number of benefits. It often improves the level and speed of customer support, increases customer satisfaction and reduces costs.
Figure 65: A Sample Tech Support Forum App
Technical Support Forums can be supported by employees, but they can also be supported by enthusiastic customers that are willing to help each other out.
D7. Employee Support
This book has focused a great deal on B2C mobile apps and much less on how mobile devices are transforming the workplace with B2E apps. Organizations should consider implementing B2E mobile apps to directly support employees; one goal could be a higher level of support for customers.
For example, Air Canada launched a B2E cargo tracking app to improve customer service for baggage handling. This type of employee support could also be extended to business partners and channel partner through B2B mobile apps. The goal would be to address your partners’ objectives and pain points.
Enabling a mobile workforce opens up new opportunities for enhanced communications (e.g., instant messaging and employee video conferencing), business applications (e.g., office, sales force, CRM and productivity apps) and improved workflow processes (e.g., time/expense processing, purchasing processing and field technician support).
Watch the Video: Mobile Enterprise Employee Support – IBM: This IBM Mobile Enterprise case study highlights several mobile implementation considerations such as access and security; separation between public and private data; Bring Your Own Device (BYOD); and infrastructure and networking requirements.[xxiii] <goo.gl/tHklL> (Duration: four minutes)
|Watch the Video: Augmented Reality Assistant – BMW: This is an example of real‑time augmented reality instructions provided to a BMW mechanic.[xxiv] Think about how this could also be used to guide customers to assemble everything from an IKEA shelving unit to a Toys”R”Us children’s toy as well. <goo.gl/yLwM> (Duration: three minutes)|
|Watch the Video: Augmented Reality Process Reengineering – Library: Here is an example of an augmented reality app to assist a librarian to properly sort books on the library shelves. Think about the range of applications this could enable such as picking and packing goods in a warehouse.[xxv] <goo.gl/yqp68> (Duration: four minutes)|
D8. Customer Service
Next let’s consider the wide range of customer service options that may be available with the use of mobile technologies. Some organizations are using QR codes to meet a wide range of customer service objectives.
The Hard Rock Café and Casino in Las Vegas is known for their rock and roll memorabilia displayed throughout the venue. They removed all of the text in their memorabilia displays and now simply display QR codes. Customers can scan the codes with their smartphones to link to all kinds of information about each piece of memorabilia including background, history and stories – with text, audio and video. Much more powerful than a few words of text in a display case.
This meets Hard Rock Café’s objective of improving the customer experience. Furthermore, if the information that the QR code points to must be changed, then it is simply changed online; the QR code doesn’t need to be modified at all.
Air Canada has introduced several mobile app customer service innovations. For example, customers can check flight status and check in for flights using their mobile app. Mobile devices can also be used to raise the level of customer service by engaging customers in real‑time video conversations. For example, the Starwood Preferred Guest’s app enables a FaceTime video link between hotel staff and customers to provide a more convenient and personal level of customer support. Very powerful.[xxvi]
SWISS has launched a mobile customer service app; rather than selling airline tickets, they focus on reducing check‑in lineups at the airport. SWISS customers can simply check in using their mobile phone. Furthermore, with GPS tracking on smartphones, some airlines are now even automatically checking customers into their flight as soon as they arrive at the airport. There is a clear benefit to moving from a manual transaction which must be initiated by the customer, to an automated transaction that is initiated by the position of the smartphone arriving at the airport parking lot.
The Ritz‑Carlton app focuses on customer support by providing location-based information on nearby attractions, restaurants and stores. Instant access to this information is provided by simply scanning a QR code at check‑in. Guests can even scan QR codes to learn about the hotel’s art collection, or get the recipe to its famous signature cocktail (via the QR code on the back of the napkin).[xxvii]
|Watch the Video: Customer Service Mobile App – Ritz-Carlton: The Ritz‑Carlton Hotel has launched its mobile app with a broad range of location-based customer support capabilities.[xxviii] <goo.gl/IkSpu> (Duration: one minute)|
|Watch the Video: Customer Service Mobile App – Jacado: The Jacado Mobile Agent app is a portal into a company’s customer support personnel that claims to reduce hold times and improve the level of customer service.[xxix] <goo.gl/afIoG> (Duration: four minutes)|
There is growing evidence that consumers are also expecting customer support via social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.[xxx] Research suggests that 88 percent of consumers are “less likely to buy from companies who ignore complaints in social media.”[xxxi] This would strongly suggest that organizations should consider putting a social media customer support strategy in place, including social media customer alerts and crisis management.[xxxii]
One of the most powerful forms of customer service available is a direct alert sent to a customer’s phone.
Figure 66: Flight Alert App – Air Canada
Air Canada offers an alert service that sends an instant notification to all passengers’ mobile phones if their flight has been delayed. This is an automated process that sends messages directly from the application to passengers.
Application-to-personmobile messaging volumes will actually surpass person-to-person mobile messaging volumes by 2016. Automated alerts are used to notify users when a specific condition has been met. Other examples of application-to-person mobile messages include a bank cheque that is about to bounce, a notification that a friend or particular store is nearby, a notification that an item is ready for pickup and an alert that indicates the user has surpassed the data usage on their monthly mobile plan.[xxxiv]
Companies that harness the power of application-to-person alerts have an opportunity to significantly improve the level of service they provide to clients, as well as a direct impact on sales.
TBC sells automotive products and services such as tires, batteries and oil changes. Mobile is key to its customer service and support strategy. By keeping track of information such as when an oil change or brake pad replacement may be needed, they can remind customers with mobile alerts. This not only improves customer service levels, but also helps TBC to reach out to customers at crucial decision points. The result is happier customers and an increase in sales for TBC.[xxxv]
D9. Warranty and Repair Support
Mobile technologies can be used to improve customer support for managing product warranties and the product repair process.
|Watch the Video: Warranty and Repair App – Agilent Technologies: Agilent Technologies’ app integrates warranty support with repair support including price quotes.[xxxvi] <goo.gl/HyYTi> (Duration: three minutes)|
D10. Product Recall Support
Mobile technologies can be used to improve customer support for managing product recalls.
|Watch the Video: Product Recall Support – Blazecast: Blazecast demonstrates the use of mobile devices to enhance end-to-end product recall processes.[xxxvii] <goo.gl/NldAO> (Duration: six minutes)|
 This capability is only available with some QR code generators.
[i] Joshua B. “There When You Need Us.” NorthAmerica BANCARD. July 19, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://blog.nabancard.com/category/north-american-bancard-complaints/page/2/.
[iii] Chantal Tode. “DSW leverages growing mobile traffic with new mcommerce site.” Mobile Commerce Daily. August 4, 2011. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com/2011/08/04/dsw-leverages-growing-mobile-traffic-with-new-mcommerce-site.
[iv] Rimma Kats. “MasterCard strengthens mcommerce presence with mobile rewards push.” Mobile Commerce Daily. June 29, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com/2012/06/29/mastercard-strengthens-mcommerce-presence-with-mobile-rewards-push.
[v] “shopkick – Get Treated Special Again While You Shop.” YouTube. Uploaded by petersetera1 on December 20, 2011. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://goo.gl/4ZVS8 or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uixneqbqkI&playnext=1&list=PL022F1B6F76293AFF&feature=results_video.
[vii] “Syntactix Products.” Syntactix. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.google.ca/imgres?q=ups+tracking+app&um=1&hl=en&sa=X&biw=1333&bih=583&tbs=isz:l&tbm=isch&tbnid=1sOiRHalV2JUQM:&imgrefurl=http://www.gosyntactix.com/products/&docid=gY8gVYhMpGKM9M&imgurl=http://www.gosyntactix.com/wp-content/themes/Syntactix/images/pntSS1.png&w=1024&h=768&ei=-mWlUKrRGPOEygGYmYDADg&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=488&sig=102376056170870031571&page=3&tbnh=166&tbnw=222&start=45&ndsp=27&ved=1t:429,r:50,s:0,i:223&tx=111&ty=66.
[x] “Slice free Android app – Track & Organize All your Purchases.” YouTube. Uploaded by HelloSliceVideo on March 8, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://goo.gl/TtSjx or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Tb5GB1O5CI.
[xi] “All New Amazon kindle ebook reader.” Lixam. August 7, 2011. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://lixam.com/2011/08/all-new-amazon-kindle-ebook-reader/#.
[xii] Nathan Mattise. “Smartphone App Bypasses Printed Paper Tickets.” GADGET LAB. August 26, 2011. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/08/smartphone-app-bypasses-printed-paper-tickets/.
[xiii] Stefan Constantinescu. “QR codes to take off in the USA due to rapid airline boarding?” IntoMobile. March 18, 2008. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.intomobile.com/2008/03/18/qr-codes-to-take-off-in-the-usa-due-to-rapid-airline-boarding/.
[xiv] Christina DesMarais. “Airlines prepare to adopt Apple iOS6 Passport features.”PCWorld. September 8, 2012. Accessed February 1, 2013. http://www.pcworld.com/article/262042/ios6_has_some_airlines_readying_to_fly.html.
[xv] Chantal Tode. “Kraft exec: Mobile drives impulse purchases.” Mobile Marketer. June 15, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/content/13098.html.
[xvi] “How Airtex Uses QR Codes for Product Installation Instructions to Provide Fuel Pump Support.” YouTube. Uploaded by AirtexFuelPumps on April 19, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://goo.gl/CsFTh or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mSFL7PiHes.
[xvii] “Ikea Kitchen Gift Card Promotions.” Giftah. July 17, 2009. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://giftah.com/blog/2009/07/ikea-kitchens-gift-card-promotion/.
[xviii] “Official Ikea Kitchen Installation Video Part 1.” YouTube. Uploaded by parts4dell on April 8, 2010. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://goo.gl/23Bvi or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7USAXFTozg8.
[xxii] “User Groups, Online Communities, and Customer Engagement.” YouTube. Published 2012 by socious1 on August 6. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://goo.gl/nrdHu or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gk-oCcc8NSc.
[xxiii] “IBM’s Mobile Enterprise – A personal journey.” YouTube. Uploaded by IBMITServices on June 21, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://goo.gl/tHklL or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sEaLyLjFag&feature=youtu.be.
[xxvi] Rachel Lamb. “Luxury Collection, St. Regis hotels personalize communication with mobile video chat.” Luxury Daily. January 12, 2011. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.luxurydaily.com/luxury-collection-st-regis-hotels-personalize-communication-with-mobile-video-chat/.
[xxvii] Rachel Lamb. “Ritz-Carlton steps up mobile game via iPhone, Android apps.” Luxury Daily. May 3, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.luxurydaily.com/ritz-carlton-steps-up-mobile-game-via-iphone-android-apps/.
[xxx] Anna Drennan. “Consumer Study: 88% less likely to buy from companies who ignore complaints in social media.” Conversocial. January, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.conversocial.com/blog/entry/consumer-study-88-less-likely-to-buy-from-companies-who-ignore-complaints-in-social-media.
[xxxi] “The Consequences of Ignoring Your Customers A Survey of Consumer Expectations for Customer Service on Social Media Platforms.” Conversocial. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=7&ved=0CEEQFjAG&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gleanster.com%2Fsystem%2Fresources%2FBAhbBlsHOgZmSSJhMjAxMi8wNS8wNy8xNy8xMS8zNC81MzQvQ29udmVyc29jaWFsX3doaXRlX3BhcGVyX2NvbnNlcXVlbmNlc19vZl9pZ25vcmluZ195b3VyX2N1c3RvbWVycy5wZGYGOgZFVA%2FConversocial%2520white%2520paper%2520-%2520consequences%2520of%2520ignoring%2520your%2520customers.pdf&ei=RRFgUMnUNYiNyAGU_YD4Cg&usg=AFQjCNFyNE3rlHu-hkje-Ay2Vzw97dRrAw&sig2=zZzgttoxwIFQ8JfagtHfUg.
[xxxiii] “Logohistory.blogspot.” Logohistory. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://logoshistory.blogspot.com/2010/12/all-air-canada-logos.html.
[xxxiv] Lauren Johnson. “Mobile instant messaging usage expected to triple by 2016: study.” Mobile Marketer. June 22, 2011. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/research/10266.html.
[xxxvi] “Check Warranty on Agilent Instrument with New Mobile App, see repair & calibration prices.” YouTube. Uploaded by AgilentTube on March 27, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://goo.gl/HyYTi or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWmDadyaL1E.