Published: March 26, 2014 | Comments
Everybody knows it, but nobody really knows why, it is the strangest thing. But the answer might be very simple. Maybe the reason why mobile support hasn’t caught on in the US is as simple as that most basic human condition which roots us in our routines and makes changing the status quo so difficult. Maybe it also explains other US adoption delays, such as why email is still not acceptable for conducting official dealings.
Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks
For many innovations and technological advances, the US continues to be the trendsetter, but sometimes when a new technology emerges, or improvements to existing technology arise from subsequent iterations, the US tends to lag in adoption as compared to the rest of the World. Maybe some of the delays in adoption are just because we have had the technology for so long, we are fixed in the customary way we use them, such as the case of Postal Mail and that of Call Centers.
The Case of Postal Mail vs Electronic Mail
In most countries Email has almost completely taken over as the principal means of communicating official business. Government agencies will contact a person at their email address for matters concerning anything from records and licenses to taxes. A tax assessor working for the national IRS-equivalent can email you one day and say “hey, this line on your return seems out of place, can you explain it?” and the taxpayers can Reply, CC his CPA in the response and the CPA can continue with the Email thread to answer any questions.
The same scenario in the US would be that a letter would arrive in the Postal Mail, we have no idea what it means from all the superfluous wording, so we likely have to scan it and email it to our CPA (or setup a physical meeting to show it), wait for their response and follow their instructions, which usually requires a step by step filling out of some kind of paper form that was sent along with the letter, put that into an envelope and send it back to the IRS. It’s not a bad system (it actually works), but the fact of the matter is that the same process could also be done over email, and much faster.
The Case of Call Centers and Mobile
We all wish that the call centers we dial into had better capabilities for Mobile callers in the form of SMS, Chat and Apps. But at the same time, we still react as if we’ve never been more offended in our lives when a company calls us into our cell phone, as if this were still the 90s or something; it’s been 15 or 20 years since incoming calls cost $1.50 per minute! We as consumers want our call centers to quickly respond/react to us reaching them via our cell phones, but ironically, we have fight-or-flight reactions when those call centers reach out to our cell phones.
It is true that consumers need to be more collaborative when it comes to trying out new channels and communications methods, but the companies need to be less afraid of trying and deploying new things. Those same callers that are still stuck in the 90s, you’d be surprised how quickly they get over their entrenched routine once you show them a better way to do things. Somebody needs to take the first step. There are great examples of the US leapfrogging on a global trend, and customer service should be one of those.