Feature Story

How Mobile is Impacting Customer Interactions, and How Companies Can Respond

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  April 30, 2012

This article originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of Customer Interaction Solutions

As part of this month’s cover story package about how mobility is changing customer interactions, CIS magazine provides this conversation with Dave King, executive vice president of Confirmit (News - Alert) Mobile Solutions.

How is the mobile evolution changing the way businesses interact with customers?

King: Thanks to the increasing adoption and capabilities of the smartphone, companies now have a dynamic and ‘sky’s the limit’ platform for interacting with audiences that far exceeds any other customer feedback channel previously available.

In order to make the most of this exciting and evolving channel, businesses must think carefully about the survey experience they want to create for consumers. You cannot simply retrofit existing desktop surveys into mobile platforms and expect a good outcome. It is important to think of the mobile survey as a unique engagement event – or series of events – and find ways to make it enjoyable, fast and valuable to the consumer interacting with the survey on a smartphone (or other mobile device) at home, at work, or on the go.

Can a mobile strategy bridge the gap between what customers and stakeholders say in the moment and what they recall later?

King: Studies show a noticeable difference between how people respond in the moment vs. when asked to recall an experience after an event. For example, if asked at an event, a person having a bad time might provide specific details about what they like and don’t like (e.g. music, food, guests, etc.). That same person, if asked a few days or weeks later about the same party, may respond that the event was ‘OK’. The customer feedback system may categorize ‘OK’ as positive. Will that person buy tickets to your next event? Probably not.

A strong mobile strategy captures the true experiential voice of the customer and not the ‘I probably should be nice’ voice. It provides the immediate, non-digitally re-mastered feedback that will help sell tickets to your next event and create stronger, more authentic relationships with your customers.

How can mobility impact survey completion results and improve customer insight?

King: Convenience and ease of experience drive successful survey results. When on-the-go technology is matched with great customer engagement, response rates can flourish.

Mobile technology enhances the quality of customer feedback because the methodology design causes respondents to choose to engage as opposed to feeling as though they are being interrupted. At Confirmit, we use touch screens, tablets, animation and modicums and have achieved as high as 90 percent compliance rates.

Here are a few other specific ways mobility improves survey completion results and improves customer insight.

The mobile interface makes going through survey questions quick and easy. Surveys can be done during down time like waiting in line, waiting for an appointment, etc.

Good things come in small packages. Mobile surveys are generally perceived as shorter, which boosts efficacy.

GPS on most smartphones allows for geo tracking (with consent) so companies can develop more targeted location-based engagement opportunities.

Photos, audio and video (playback and capture) can provide an incredibly rich experience and if implemented properly, be entertaining and engaging.

What are some ways mobile campaigns and strategies can extend or enhance a company’s overall voice of the customer program?

King: The days of single-channel, ask and answer surveys will soon be behind us. It is imperative that companies become much more sophisticated in engaging all the channels, all the time – whether through an on-line survey, social media interaction, web analytics or good old-fashioned interactive voice response. All channels are valid and together can be much more powerful than on their own.

We know that people are constantly looking for ways to stay connected as they go about their daily lives. Providing a VoC model with multiple feedback channels (i.e. direct, indirect and inferred feedback) gets companies so much closer to their target base, whether the respondent is a customer or an employee.

Mobile creates a trinity of offerings by bringing SMS, browser and app together in one device to form the makings of a very powerful, comprehensive, holistic feedback program. Add reporting, analysis and a clever way of managing it all – including the feeds from other sources – and companies are on their way to a sky’s the limit VoC offering.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi