Customer Service Goes Mobile


There are few things that are static or inert about consumer expectations and their demands for service.

New applications of concepts, including “local”, “now” and “new” are the current and evolving perception parameters of discerning, demanding and informed consumer groupings. Instant gratification has a fresh ring to it, and inherent restructuring of customer service delivery is imperative.
These are challenges for all businesses. Many are faltering and failing badly. The term “good old customer service” has a shallow, hollow and dated character about it.
It is time for all business owners and management teams to review, revise, refine and to stretch their styles and standards of customer service. To not do so is not an option, because the consequences are all on the down-side.
Mobile is the new black in customer service. For example, restaurants, cafes and coffee lounges will need to introduce mobile applications which enable existing and prospective customers to download their menus and price lists and retain them on their smart-phones and iPads. Pre-orders and bookings, and, in certain instances, pre-payments will be effected remote from premises. Confirmations, seating allocations and preparation of meals and drinks to be implemented prior to consumers arriving at the premises will soon be the norm. That is truly satisfying time-poor NOW consumers, and is currently being introduced throughout the world.
Real estate agents and new home builders will need to better satisfy and fulfil the expectations of intending buyers. Prevailing consumer expectations are reflected in the findings of a recent Australian-wide study which concluded that 78% of respondents expected to be able to have a virtual, on-line inspection of listed properties and new homes. This stood in stark contrast to just 3% of listed established homes being offered via such a service.
Slower than necessary sales rates are a doubtless consequence.
New vehicle dealers now confront the reality that the typical consumer spends and average 75 minutes on the forecourt of car dealerships before making a purchase decision. That equates to little more than a visit to a dealership.
The service of enjoying a virtual on-line “test-drive” in the relaxed atmosphere of one’s home is appreciated and is considerably influential in the selection of the vehicle and the dealership. Clearly, changes are happening, and rapidly.
Cost-of-living constraints, the financial prudence evident which many families, businesses and with individuals are necessarily leading charities to investigate and to introduce mobile facilities which enable better, more easy and direct access between the charity and contributors.
The same challenges confront local councils and public utilities.
It is surely time for Australian politicians and political parties to follow the lead established by United States of America President, Barack Obama in his first presidential campaign some seven years ago, and introduce mobile canvassing and fund-raising initiatives.
Compulsory voting in Australia does not ensure compulsory support and activism. Politicians, like business people need to reach out, connect with and engage their targeted and very mobile audiences.
Contemporary customer service has a new perspective and it centres on mobile, that must necessarily be the immediate focus for all business owners, managers and staff members.

Barry Urquhart, Managing Director of Marketing Focus in Perth, is an inspirational keynote speaker, business analyst and author of six top selling books. He consults to large, medium and small sized businesses in Britain, North America, Asia, New Zealand and Australia.

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Barry Urquhart, MD Marketing Focus, Perth, is the author of Australia's top two selling books on customer service and is an internationally recognised authority on consumer behaviour and creative visual marketing.

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