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A Mobile Dependency

I’ve been spending a lot of time recently thinking about my iPhone. I pick it up, I study it, and I’ve been analyzing the amount of time I spend on it and with it. I mean, it really is never far from me.

Most of the time it is physically in my hand or within a quick reach away. When I work out or go running, it is faithfully strapped to my arm. When I drive it is sitting patiently in the center cup holder. I acknowledge that it often sleeps next to me. And apparently I am not alone with my mobile dependency.

You see, not only have I been spending a lot of time with my own mobile device, I’ve been researching what the rest of the population is doing with theirs.

On Thursday of this week, I am co-presenting an ICMI webinar on Building a Mobile Customer Service Strategy. We are going to talk about what contact centers should be doing to set themselves up to successfully support interactions from a mobile device. When a mobile user is contacting a customer support team, they often have a different set of expectations than if they were coming into a queue from a more traditional channel like chat, email or a landline phone.

One really important nuance? URGENCY. Think about it. When you need to contact customer support from your mobile, you are probably already in the middle of something that requires ASSISTANCE. NOW.

You could be shopping for those almost sold-out concert tickets while standing in line at Starbucks, or trying to make anniversary dinner reservations at your wife’s favorite restaurant while sitting in a meeting, or trying to rebook a flight while stuck on a delayed plane still idling on the tarmac, or trying to access your bank account to see if you really can afford that gorgeous pair of shoes you just found on the Gilt.com sale that’s ending in 5 minutes.

Regardless, you need to get answers now. Not in 10 minutes, and certainly not in 8 business hours. And you need to be able to access customer service from your device without interrupting the activity you are in the middle of. That’s another one of those vital nuances.

Now consider being without all the amazing things your mobile device does for you every day. Imagine waking up one day and your fancy phone couldn’t map out directions, or retrieve email, or access Scrabble, or log your pre-marathon training runs. That’s exactly what happened to me a couple of months ago. I was in the Philippines for a project and had prearranged with Verizon to have International roaming and data activated on my iPhone. Well, when I arrived the only thing my iPhone could do was place phone calls and text messages. That left me momentarily devastated.

Granted, Verizon may have a leg up on other industries because they are in the mobile space, but they do know how to take care of mobile customer service. I had received a free welcome text message from them upon landing in Manila, which is the only reason I knew how to reach Roaming Support. So I clicked on that number and was immediately routed to this amazing customer service agent that was determined to figure out my problem.

We used every troubleshooting mechanism available to us in our limited state, including a video SMS, texted screenshots, and several subsequent callbacks after changing settings and restarting my phone.

The agent was patient, funny, and competent. He gave me back the mobile device I loved, and in turn I shared some love back.

When I received a text message the next day requesting a response to a CSAT survey, you can be sure I completed it.

And just this morning I received an automated reminder from Verizon that I had a payment due. I was able to self-service pay directly from that call and immediately received the receipt via SMS. I think it was the ease of the process that completely eradicated the pain of the payment.

Please join me and my co-presenters from Voxeo later this week. The webinar is complimentary, and it will really help you define or refresh your contact center’s Mobile Customer Service Strategy. At the very least, you can feel validated about your own dependency on mobile.