Are mobile devices serving customers properly?

C3GZBefore I leave my house in the morning, I grab my car keys, purse and of course, my smartphone. AT&T sold 9.4 million of these in the fourth quarter of 2011. Is it any wonder that the 2X4 inch tidy packages of computer chips have revolutionized everyday behaviors including the way we shop? We read on them, play Words With Friends, make dinner reservations, buy concert tickets, and frequently text. Now smartphone application users have even surpassed the amount of people texting and talking.

Online sales from mobile devices continue to increase as applications scan, share favorites, share technical advice, and create consumer buzz about new products and special promotions. We  use our smartphones to read bar codes, read blogs and join in on Twitter and Facebook. It was only a matter of time before retailers were able to provide customer service giving consumers a more direct route to resolve problems than either visiting the brick and mortar establishment, on the phone, or in front of the computer.

The advent of the branded icons gives retailers a great opportunity to deliver personalized service, however businesses must be careful not to slip away from the traditional care service when customers insist on finding a real person. No doubt the application far surpasses the call menu and the maze of service representatives consumers have to dance around when trying to resolve a complaint, but customers have to know that they are still able to communicate with an agent for a specific task when needed. It’s a company’s duty to have a cohesive and efficient team who are properly trained when an unresolved issue presents.

Organizations now have the opportunity to present highly personalized information and keep track of a customer’s spending history as well as their preferences. I was recently amazed when I signed up for a shopping application for shoes. I entered my preferences, size, and price range, and within moments the app was operational. The first pair of shoes I ordered were not comfortable at all, but when I tried to return them the company’s return process didn’t work, and there was no credit given to me for the return. I was finally able to resolve the problem, but it took a human to help, however the positive reaction toward  customer service will most likely have me purchasing another pair of shoes from the same company.

photo credit: Symic