Meet the demands of the new breed of consumer
BUSINESSBy BiztechAfrica - Sept. 3, 2012, 12:04 p.m.
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.
MORE BUSINESS NEWS
Further African expansion for PhoenixPhoenix Distribution, a leading broad-based distributor on the African continent, has expanded its office in Nairobi, Kenya, in a move to better serve its partners in East Africa. Read More
Garmin seeks business partners in West AfricaGarmin is hosting a trade delegation in Accra, Ghana from the 12th to 16th May 2014. Read More
Orange Telkom not closing Kenya business: GhosseinSpeculation that Orange Telkom Kenya would be closing its Kenyan operations has been put to rest. Read More
Dimension Data enters Ghana’s IT marketDimension Data, a South Africa-based ICT solutions and services provider, has announced its entry into the Ghanaian ICT market. Read More
Glo rewards business partnersGlobacom has showered 53 high-end vehicles and other prizes on its trade partners responsible for distributing Globacom’s products and services across Nigeria. Read More
Worldwide PC shipments declineWorldwide PC shipments totalled 76.6 million units in the first quarter of 2014, a 1.7 per cent decline from the first quarter of 2013, according to preliminary results by Gartner Read More
Axis Solutions becomes first VMware Premier Partner in the WECA RegionAxis Solutions, a Pan-African ICT solutions provider headquartered in Harare Zimbabwe, is the first VMware partner to become a Premier Partner within the WECA region. Read More
Nigeria to spur Oracle's African driveOracle Corporation has assured that Nigeria will be the centerpiece of its developmental drive in Africa. Read More
Pivot East nurtures promising startupsPivot East, an innovative mobile web competition geared towards nurturing the growing ICT talent in East Africa, is providing an ideal platform to grow mobile web startups. Read More
Phoenix Distribution unveils new, interactive websitePhoenix Distribution, currently the leading value added software and CES distributor across the African continent, has redesigned its website, making it easier to use for clients and partners alike. Read More
FEATURED STORYKenyan shift to Green Economy would generate USD 45bn by 2030
Kenya’s transition to a green economy could produce major economic benefits equivalent to an estimated USD 45 billion by 2030, a new study shows.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHE-waste threatens Ghana’s beaches
Many beaches in Ghana, already stressed by pollution and poor maintenance, are now facing a new threat: e-waste.
COMPANY NEWSFurther African expansion for Phoenix
Phoenix Distribution, a leading broad-based distributor on the African continent, has expanded its office in Nairobi, Kenya, in a move to better serve its partners in East ...