Wednesday, July 6, 2011

New Developments in Mobile Customer Service Apps

New developments in customer service applications on smart phones and tablets, or as society has now deemed them “apps”, is all about increasing revenue for the businesses creating them. In doing so, the user of the application (the buyer), becomes a more engaged and loyal customer by spending less time on tedious details, and more time deciding what to buy. The saying “time is money,” is everything in the application world, and by lowering the time it takes to buy a product, companies make it more likely through consumer-friendly applications to see increased revenues and sales. Essentially, the ease of connection between the seller and the buyer is paramount to retaining customers and ultimately adding to the bottom line.

Increasingly, the competitive landscape between retailers has forced them to expand and enhance their mobile applications to help attract and retain consumers. In today’s technology driven and increasingly wired-world, it is essential for retailers to create applications that allow for buyers to easily communicate with sellers, albeit on a transaction or customer service basis. Current developments in customer service applications by retailers in recent months have helped ease the process of transactions for buyers, and therefore, began to pave a path for productivity and satisfaction for both parties. A significant breakthrough in this field has been a strategy known as straight through processing (STP),that works so that once the seller has the necessary information for a purchase as input by the buyer, it becomes stored and password protected for individuals future usage. By essentially creating a saved account on individual apps within companies computer network, buyers no longer have to dredge through inputting information they may have done just a few days ago. This process has allowed an expedition of the customer service processes and retail sales, by allowing buyers to skip the tedious steps of inputting personal information and instead just punch in a password tied to their personal account. Inherently, this allows for accessibility and ease for the buyer; two traits vitally necessary for enhancing the customers experience with X retailer or seller, as well as increasing the customers likelihood of returning to use that retailer.

For example, in a recent article entitled “15 Mobile Retail Apps that Enhance Customer Experiences” by Sig Ueland, the focus is on retail applications such that are changing and modernizing the relationship between retailers and customers. A preeminent example of this as cited by Ueland in is the Best Buy application that gives customers on a real-time basis access to:
• Track past purchases
• Scan QR codes
• Access reviews
• Compare product prices
• Find in-store availability

The Best Buy application is just one amongst many other applications that have enhanced and eased the connection between large-scale retailers and customers, allowing for a more personalized relationship on portable devices. The correlation between increased personal service through applications and repeat usage of services from individual consumers is overwhelming, and surely signifies the necessity and potential for increased revenue that these customer service applications provide in the long run. Simply put, by connecting major retailers with customers through applications allows companies to connect to their patron on a more personal level, ultimately leading to brand loyalty which is essential for long-term revenue growth.

Chelsea Baptiste is a second year intern at IIR USA focusing on Market Research and Social Media. She can be reached at CBaptiste@IIRUSA.com


Looking to learn more about Mobile Customer Service Apps? Check out  "Is Your Mobile App Customer Centric?" with Matthew Rhoden of Peppers & Rogers Group at this year's Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit.

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