Ritika Puri is a San Francisco based blogger who writes about trends in business, internet culture, and marketing. She's inspired by the int Ritika Puri is a San Francisco based blogger who writes about trends in business, internet culture, and marketing. She's inspired by the intersection between technology, entrepreneurship, and sociology.
Our lives revolve around our mobile devices. As bold as that statement may seem, it’s wholly accurate. Our smartphones and tablets provide the connection point between every aspect of our lives — from arranging transportation to staying in touch with friends and family, and keeping on top of work.
According to the Pew Center, some Americans are so glued to their mobile devices that they’ll sleep next to them – presumably, to make sure that that they are fully ‘connected’ during every moment spent conscious.
Mobile is critical to business
Business leaders know how important it is to focus on mobile as a touch point during the buying journey – to ensure that websites are mobile-friendly during the discovery and engagement stages. Responsive design and app development, as a result, have become hot topics that virtually every marketer acknowledges as a ‘must have.’
But what happens after the point of sale?
Research consistently shows that repeat customers are worth more than first time buyers. Not to mention, customer-stakeholders are likely to generate word-of-mouth referrals for your business. Support has evolved from a sunk-cost to a revenue-generating retention and upselling engine.
With smartphones and tablets at the center of peoples’ lives, it’s mission-critical for brands to have an end-to-end mobile customer support system. People are becoming increasingly accustomed to problem-solving while on the go – and as they become more efficient from their mobile devices, they’re becoming less and less tolerant of buggy live chat options and long telephone hold times.
Mobile, to them, is the antithesis of wasted time – and mobile customer support programs can help maximize their productivity.
Here are four simple, yet impactful tips for optimized mobile customer support program:
1. Make it easy for customers to call
Imagine that your customer is running to catch a flight, hailing a cab, or dealing with a broken dishwasher in between taking the kids to school and going to work. This person is in a rush and does not want to spend time fumbling when she is already stressed out and looking for immediate help. Instead, she needs to talk to a real human being – and talk to someone on your support team.
Some companies, particularly those who perceive customer support as an expense, will ‘bury’ their phone numbers on their websites – thinking that customers will feel more encouraged to browse through FAQ sections.
On mobile, this process can be incredibly frustrating. Customers want to be able to make a phone call with no more than one click of a button. That’s why you should make your phone number obvious and ever-present throughout your website.
2. Create an email ticketing system
Your customers want answers swiftly, with little to absolutely no wait time. But admittedly, this ‘perfect’ response time is unrealistic. Instead of forcing people into a queue and be stuck on hold, create an email ticketing system.
This technology will create a centralized repository of support requests between staff members so that questions are answered swiftly and efficiently.
“Ticketing systems make providing support easier when several staff members are involved, because you’re able to see whether a request is being responded to and who’s working on it, not to mention that it makes it much easier to keep track of how much time is being spent on the incoming tickets,” says Ian Aronovich, president and co-founder of GovernmentAuctions.org, a site that compiles and provides information about government auctions of seized and surplus merchandise from all over the country.
Be transparent with this data so that your customers can easily track the status of their pending requests. The end result will be a much more efficient system, and not to mention, your customers will be able to connect with a real human without the hassle of a phone call.
3. Rely on text messages
Text messages facilitate swift, rapid communication. According to one report, 98 percent of texts are read with an average response time of 90 seconds, compared to 2.5 days for email.
In addition to offering live chat, phone, and email-based support, your company can also offer an SMS based option for relatively straightforward questions that don’t require a lengthy response.
“We have nearly 3 million members between the ages 13-25 who take action on different causes, and one of the biggest ways we reach our members is via SMS,” says Colleen Wormsley of DoSomething, a nonprofit for young people and social change.
As you can imagine – because you’ve been in your consumers’ exact shoes — people rely on mobile tech to optimize their brain breaks, but they don’t want to be stuck on a phone call or waiting in an email queue. Texts can help facilitate real-time conversations.
4. Use social media
Online audiences rely heavily on social media to learn about and communicate with brands. One way to harness this ecosystem is to create dedicated support resources on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
“These are platforms where problems can be reported and tickets can be assigned,” says Aronovich. “Direct messages, tweets, and post comments are all potential channels. It’s a quick and easy way to connect with mobile users without having to do a whole lot to your mobile website.”
Social media won’t be the right platform for a lengthy conversation, so you should be prepared to redirect support requests to a central system. Think of social as the first touch point for creating a ticket — rely on email or text messages to keep the conversations going.
The takeaway? Make it really easy for your customers to reach a real human and get the answers they need as quickly as possible. Mobile presents a significant opportunity to make your customers’ lives better and to build your reputation as a loved brand.
Now it’s your turn to chime in. What have been the best mobile customer support trends that you’ve come across? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Image credit: Hadrian / Shutterstock.com
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