No matter what they need or where they are, consumers increasingly use the “computer in their pocket” to find answers, connect with businesses and generally solve problems. It’s not surprising, then, that mobile has become the operating system of choice: In March, Android surpassed Windows in worldwide internet usage market share, according to CIO magazine.
For businesses, the real significance of this trend is that it changes expectations for customer service. A new customer paradigm is emerging out of consumers’ deepening devotion to mobile devices. Customer service has evolved into customer experience. If businesses want to thrive in this new marketplace, they must embrace this shift and create a new digital journey for their customers.
Recent research from McKinsey reaffirms the rising expectations of digital customers. More than 75 percent of online customers expect help within five minutes and place as much value on online reviews as they do on personal recommendations. As a result, companies must adapt and create a new customer journey that is more personal, more intuitive, faster and simpler. Let’s dig a little deeper.
Personalized customer experience
As consumers make more demands on the go, businesses can no longer provide just basic information. They need to get personal. This means equipping customer service teams with tools and information that allow agents to understand instantly the customer’s relationship to the business—not just their name, but what products they’ve purchased and the outcome of their last customer service call. By providing customer-facing employees with easy access to customer data, companies can deliver the kind of personalized service that keeps customers coming back.
Going hand-in-hand with personalized customer care is a more intuitive experience. For starters, this translates into proactively making suggestions on products and services that fit past behaviors, reminders on when to re-order items, and notifications on sales or discounts on products customers have ordered in the past. Companies must take advantage of the vast amount of customer data available to them and use it to become more predictive. This increases customer loyalty and retention.
Speed and agility
Even as mobility puts pressure on companies to improve the customer experience, it gives them the tools to do so. For example, video calls and online chat have become commonplace for mobile consumers. Organizations that integrate these tools into their customer service center will reduce resolution times. Other technologies can help businesses improve the overall experience of mobile customers. For example, online focus groups allow for the quick capture of feedback that can be immediately incorporated into the design of this new customer experience.
With smaller devices come smaller screens. But this trend also has a big repercussion: simplicity. When building apps, organizations must focus on what customers really want to accomplish. By honing the process to just the necessary steps, they can create simple yet effective interactions. However, this “less is more” design approach means apps and tools can’t be developed in a vacuum. Customer analytics and feedback must be integral pieces of the design process.
As the pendulum swings more toward mobility, this new customer paradigm appears likely to stay.
“The response calls for a new operating model that puts the customer’s needs and wants at the center of a digital transformation strategy, enabled by redesigned customer journeys and agile delivery of insights and services,” McKinsey says. It may take some effort to meet customer expectations for more personal, intuitive, and simple customer experiences, but businesses that do so will win the battle for consumers’ hearts – and pockets.