Meet the demands of the new breed of consumer

BUSINESS

|
Image: Ian Goss-Ross. By BiztechAfrica
Ian Goss-Ross

By Ian Goss-Ross, CEO at Elingo

Social media and mobility have irrevocably changed the customer service playing field, delivering new modes of communication that consumers now expect across the board – both socially and when interacting with brands. They want easy access to information, instant answers, and a choice in how they communicate with brands.  And rightly so – after all, if they can communicate with a world of contacts from a mobile device, they should be able to do so with the companies they support too.

Forward-thinking enterprises are moving to meet this demand by delivering applications that make it possible for customers to interact with companies anywhere, in any way they choose.

With the world fast moving to smartphones, interaction between enterprises and customers must be available in a smartphone-friendly format.

But delivering on these expectations has not been easy for enterprises. Rolling out mobile applications that allow customers to access information instantly and interact in a range of ways - from video chat to texting - and to do so in a way that enhances customer experience rather than frustrates them, has been challenging.

There have been issues such as the cost and quality of bandwidth. The bandwidth situation may have changed, but complexity remains in developing a mobile application that meets a company’s needs to enable mobile customer interactions, in a way the customer finds convenient to use.

Traditionally, if you wanted a mobile application that could be downloaded to a customer’s handset and used for interaction with your enterprise, you had to partner with a development house. The downside of this is that it can prove costly, time-consuming and the company commissioning the application seldom has full control over the application. In addition, integrating the app with existing enterprise and contact centre systems can prove to be a headache.

Once these hurdles are past, the benefits for the enterprise are unlimited. Mobile interfaces with customers deliver more than 24/7 interaction and a better customer experience – they also deliver valuable information about customers in a way that has never been possible before.

Enterprises can run snap surveys, track what channels customers prefer, which features they prefer, endpoints they commonly use and even gather geographical information about customers that ultimately translates into better customer experience and a healthier bottom line for the business.

While integrating geolocation features into the overall customer service system could raise privacy issues, it’s likely that the potential benefits would outweigh concerns among customers that they are ‘being followed’. Imagine, for example, an insurance company has a mobile app for interfacing with its clients. Should the customer have an accident and want to file a claim, an effective mobile app would not only allow them to access their policy information and contact a claims representative in a simple step or two; it would also allow the insurance firm to determine exactly where the client was at the time of the accident.  Photos of the scene could also be uploaded to the insurance company from the mobile device. And all of the information gathered could be automatically integrated into the enterprise systems, delivering a complete picture for the insurance firm.

This paves the way for a new breed of solution that meets both the demands of the new breed of consumer and the enterprise’s need for ease of use, full integration, security and ever-more information about customers.

What the customer should see is an easy-to-use app that does not require frequent updates and bandwidth-hungry downloads. The customer should have to download an app just once. If updates take place, they should be on the server, and simply be visible next time the customer uses the app. Logging in needs to be kept simple too.

A positive customer experience is becoming the key differentiator in business – and this applies to the way interaction tools are supplied too. If you make it difficult for customers to interact with you – they won’t.

The next generation of server-based customer interaction solutions will deliver agility, full integration with enterprise systems, allow reporting on all forms of multimedia and put control back into the hands of the enterprise. They will allow enterprises to react quickly to market changes; and will complement existing contact centre interaction tools to help deliver a complete picture of the customer base and its interaction with the enterprise.

In South Africa, many companies are still missing opportunities to deliver new user experiences and gather a goldmine of valuable customer information. It’s time to move forward and deliver on new expectations.

 



Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus

MORE BUSINESS NEWS

TNM first quarter net profit jumps to K1.8 billion

Malawi's mobile telecoms network service provider TNM continues to realise an increase in net profit from operations. Read More

Revenues from tablet games to triple

New data from Juniper Research has revealed that by 2019 worldwide revenues from tablet games will reach $13.3 billion – a threefold rise on the 2014 figure of $3.6 billion. Read More

Airtel Uganda hosts high value customers at Business Leaders’ Forum

Enterprise Director, Airtel Uganda, Mr. Oladapo P. Sorinolu Airtel Uganda has hosted an Enterprise Expo in Mbarara district, Western Uganda, as part of efforts to provide practical and modern business solutions to its high value customers.  Read More

Safaricom, Airtel complete yuMobile deal

Safaricom and Airtel have completed the US$120 million acquisition of yuMobile from Essar Telecom. Read More

GrowthAfrica, Usahibu partner to solve SME accounting issues

Kenyan accelerator GrowthAfrica has partnered cloud computing firm Uhasibu in a bid to address the accounting and financial software needs of East African startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Read More

Top 10 risks worth considering when expanding into Africa

Companies planning to expand across Africa must make a concerted effort to understand the risks, and not assume they “know” Africa, says ContinuitySA. Read More

Shop Soko connects Kenyan artisans to lucrative international markets

A new e-commerce platform, Shop Soko, is helping Kenyans access a lucrative international market. Read More

Ricoh SA begins rollout of new services-led strategy, Africa expansion

Jacques van Wyk has been appointed Ricoh SA’s new COO to drive the expanded strategy that will enable the business to become a services-led organisation and see its expansion into the rest of Africa. Read More

Stock Exchange launches news service

A news service by the name of X-News has become the latest product coming from the local bourse, the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) recently. Read More

Telkom forays into Botswana through acquisition

South African telecommunications giant Telkom is making inroads into the Botswana market through the acquisition of an ICT company, Business Connexion (BCX).  Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionSage HR AfricaMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoice

FEATURED STORY

Safaricom-Equity battle for mobile banking hots up Safaricom-Equity battle for mobile banking hots up

Equity bank's entry to the mobile banking and telephony industry is still hanging in the balance with London-based global association of mobile operators (GSMA) calling for independent audit. 

IN DEPTH

Kenya rolls out e-extension to improve agricultureKenya rolls out e-extension to improve agriculture

In a bid to curb the overwhelmed number of agricultural extension officers in Kenya, the ministry of agriculture is embracing technology with their introduction of E-Extension services, which are aimed at reaching out to over 7 million farmers annually.