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How does mobile access to data make for a great customer experience?

When most people think about good customer service, they think about their employees trying harder to please their customers. While part of a great customer experience relies on the customer service rep’s motivation and training, in most cases it turns out to only be a small part.

We’ve all had the terrible customer service experience with our bank, wireless, or cable TV provider that happens like this:

  1. We reach someone who can only answer part of our questions and can’t make the changes we want
  2. They then put us on hold and we get transferred five times and each of the four subsequent people ask us for the same information we told the first person
  3. We end up having to call back because some of the changes we requested haven’t been made or the new person we’re talking to is not aware of the changes and we have to go through the whole process again.

The real problem that causes a poor customer service experience is:

  • The customer service rep can’t access the data they need
  • They can’t make or initiate changes in an automated way
  • Those changes are not made in real-time so people accessing the data are accessing the wrong/outdated data

Conversely we’ve all had a customer service experience where the first person we talk to answers all of our questions, makes all the required changes and everyone we talk to after that is aware of those changes. Sadly, we’re greatly impressed by this because it happens so infrequently.

How does mobile impact the customer experience?

Truly pleasing the customer isn’t just about effort, it’s about allowing employees to do the three simple things outlined below, whether they’re inside the office or outside the office. Being outside the office and managing customer expectations is particularly relevant for customer-facing resources like sales teams, project managers and technicians. This can all be done with mobile access to data.

All customer-facing team members in an organization should be able to:

  1. Answer any questions about any topic related to the customer account in real-time (delivery status, past buying history, invoice questions, trouble ticket status, project status, work assignments, resource availability, etc.).
  2. Make any changes or have an automated process for facilitating collaboration with another company employee in order to initiate customer change requests (changes to a quote, order, service ticket, service contract, or resource work assignment)
  3. Ensure those changes are immediately visible to all other employees so that mobile and office users are always working from the same accurate up-to-date data

Under-utilizing mobile access by living within the unnecessary restrictions imposed by mobile apps is one of the mistakes organizations make which can cause a poor customer service experience.

One of the misconceptions about mobile device access to business software, is that it’s all about allowing mobile users to enter data (time sheets, help desk ticket, etc.) on their mobile device. While that may have been the case 5-6 years ago when device capabilities and wireless bandwidth were limited, things are different today. Complete access to the entire suite of business software functionality on your mobile device is possible. Enterprise mobile mobile access to your business software can now be leveraged to dramatically improve customer service.

By allowing mobile users to access all business software functionality, you put your customer-facing resources (sales people, project managers, field technicians/engineers), in a position to radically impact the quality of the customer experience. Having access to all of the business software functionality appropriate for their role (limited by their security profile NOT by the limited functionality of an app), will allow your team to answer any customer question in real-time, make the appropriate changes and ensure that all customer resources (in the office and in the field) are aware of those changes and working from the same customer information in real-time.

Mobile is no longer just limited to having field resources entering data. Mobile has the potential to transform your organization’s ability to service its customers and significantly improve the customer experience.

Jim Barnet