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Mobile Care and the Brand Experience

April 3, 2015

A recent article in Forbes magazine highlights the increasing connection between mobile care and brand experience. There is no question that the ways people make purchases and resolve customer issues have changed dramatically with the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets. The buying public is more mobile and far more educated about their options before and after purchase. They increasingly judge companies by how well they modernize and mobilize their customer care.

Mobile Care Roadblocks

Here are a few misconceptions that can hamper effective mobile care:

  • “Mobility is the Realm of Marketing.” True, it is easy to envision mobile apps that support sales and communication. But this is just the beginning of the brand experience. Customers expect to have a consistent and engaging experience, whether they are researching, shopping, or getting assistance after purchase. Just walk by an Apple store and you can see that post purchase experience is important. Translating that into a robust mobile experience requires a customer service strategy. As Maribel Lopez says, “brands spend thousands to millions of dollars to build mobile applications, but few companies deliver a simple, intuitive customer care experience.”
  • “Customer Care is About Support Calls.” Sure, mobile care has to be able to address problems that customers encounter. But mobile care is also about the bigger journey. When a future customer has a question about how a product works, that customer should be able to get an answer through mobile care. When they buy a product and need help in understanding some of its functions, that requires mobile care too. Each customer experience contributes to the overall brand experience, and that contributes to brand success…or failure.
  • “Mobile Care is Reactive.” Sometimes. But reactive care always starts in negative space. The customer has a problem. Frustration and even anger may be in play. Proactive care, on the other hand, provides the right information at the right time, which may involve active notifications, suggestions that address the next probable issue and journey-based interfaces. Mobile care gives companies an opportunity to change up their customer experience, and to become a customer ally rather than adversary.

Mobile Care Enablers

The ubiquity of mobile devices is forcing companies to re-evaluate how they deliver customer care and build a great brand experience. At the same time these devices greatly improve the chances of success.

  • Broader Communications Options. Customers have many more tools available to them through their mobile devices. Text, email, voice, video, and photos are just the start. Companies that leverage these options can provide faster, better and more effective customer care throughout the customer journey.
  • Blurred Lines. Mobile devices make it easier to move between different apps and interfaces. Mobile care can take advantage of this to smoothly move customers through each interaction. When one mode of communication becomes insufficient, another can be used—for example, moving from text to video conferencing.
  • Data Flow. Mobile care can be designed to capture the customer journey such that agents can step in when needed without a complete recap from the customer. Whatever steps were taken should be visible to the mobile care agent, providing context and enabling efficiency.
  • Choice. Truly effective mobile care provides choice to customers in everything they do. The device they use, the path they follow, the time and place of the communication are all up to the customer. Mobile devices give them the connection; mobile care gives them the experience.

Each journey begins with the first step. Companies beginning their journey to mobile care should be guided by a strategic vision for the brand experience. It may not be feasible do all things for all people all at once, but a strategic approach will make clear the path that leads to better mobile care.

For more information about mobile care and the brand experience, read the Maribel Lopez article from Forbes “Is Mobile Care Killing Your Brand Experience?”