Today’s smart mobile market can be overwhelming; with more than 80 mobile brands loaded with hundreds of features, 10 platforms and thousands of accessories to choose from, consumers need help in selecting the right product.
This is where customer care companies step in.
Ultimate customer service is all about support. If a consumer is pleased with a product or service, chances are they will share their amazing experiences with their personal network, and that is the ultimate goal for any company. A competent, knowledgeable sales and marketing team supports the sale of just about any device, but your approach to customer care can be the fine line between getting people to use your services or going to a competitor.
Consumer-focused customer care for smart mobile devices and tablets ensures happy, loyal customers. You can advertise and offer amazing promotions to win new customers, but in order to keep customers and get them to recommend your brand you need to fully support them throughout the entire product lifecycle.
Support should come from every touch point possible – making it easy for people to get transparent information anywhere, at any time. All customer care companies should be offering basic online support along with in-store help and services, but a great customer care company needs to offer integrated service solutions such as on-device self-help apps, self-help web portals, call centers and walk-in support centers in order to reach customers at every possible touch point.
On average, customers of mobile devices request professional help 8-10 times per year, a number that has doubled since the introduction of smart mobile devices. According to the Ericsson Mobility Report released in November 2013, it is expected that by 2016, 4.4 million smart mobile devices will be in use. If you do the math, it means there will be roughly 44 billion requests for help with devices on a yearly basis. Therefore, enabling customers to troubleshoot problems themselves by providing self-help apps, moderated peer-to-peer support via social media, forums or blogs, is the best solution to keep repair costs under control. As the number of customer interactions increase, so does the overall costs for providing customer support.
The next step is to determine if something is actually wrong with the device – which happens roughly 10 percent of the time – ¬and as a result the device will need to be sent in for repair. In these cases, communication with a customer can make or break the experience.
However, a lack of service channels for consumers is leading to an increased rate of No Fault Found (NFF), where a device is sent in for repair, but didn’t actually require any repair or replacement. This type of problem typically ranges between 20-50 percent of devices sent in for repair, costing OEMs and carriers hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Many mobile network operators and retailers often prefer to swap presumably broken phones for new ones since it’s a quick and easy solution and keeps the customers connected to their networks. On the other hand, manufacturers prefer to consolidate repairs in remote locations because it’s typically less expensive.
Both of these solutions offer sustainability problems, as well as logistical difficulties. Replacing high value materials such as displays and touch panels – especially when the devices are not broken – is neither cost-effective nor sustainable for OEMs or our environment.
Sending in a device for repair can mean a five to 10-day wait for the customer. Do you know anyone willing to give up their phone for more than a week? Most people prefer to have their personalized devices on-hand all the time, which means that most customers will also be unhappy accepting a new phone that they need to take time to set up once again, so neither of these options are customer-focused.
One of the best customer care solutions is to offer in-store support and repair options. With in-store support, customers can have their own phones repaired quickly and easily. Look at the Genius Bar – it’s been so wildly successful because this is what customers want. But this in-store support model also has its limits in terms of scalability. Customers have to wait several hours or even days to be given an appointment time, as the service has become more popular. The right mix of traditional service channels and developing digital support is the key to success and the way to achieve wider coverage and scalability.
Lastly we cannot forget the convergence between the customer’s sales and service experience and the benefits for OEMs, retailers and other players in the market. It may seem trivial but very few companies get it right. Customers buy products because they believe in them. An excellent service experience is the reconfirmation of that belief, i.e. a brand that provides great service is a brand that cares. This creates trust and hence loyalty and as a customer would always turn back to that brand whenever he needs help. Most companies don’t realize that besides a great product service is the magic key. Four key points to ultimate customer care for smart mobile devices:
1) Develop the customer care processes through the eyes of the consumer throughout their entire journey.
This means to be available and provide support from the moment customers look into purchase of a new device, to give accurate information when they have a problem, and provide swift repair of a broken device.
2) Offer multi-channel touch points for support
People should be able to get support through any channel – whether it be a self-help app on their device, a web portal with online chat, a call to a hotline, or an in-store walk-in option to get face-to-face support.
3) Ensure that information from all touch points is integrated
This means if someone begins a process online and then calls a hotline or goes to a walk-in center, that all their data is accumulated in one location so they can continue on to the next step without having to back-track or provide the same information numerous times.
4) Provide proactive customer service
This refers to the shift from reactive customer service to providing proactive, preventive care. Utilize data continuously to anticipate potential upcoming problems and provide customers solutions before they end up in trouble.