This article was written by Roberto Pieraccini, CTO of SpeechCycle.
Smartphones are transforming how consumers communicate, not only with one another, but also with the companies with whom they do business. These mobile-savvy customers are doing much more than talking on these devices – they browse the Web, download apps, manage emails and send text messages. As a result, the way companies engage with these consumers needs to change.
Businesses either need to start leveraging this channel to connect with customers when, where and how they want to communicate, or they’ll be left standing still in a mobile world.
More smartphones than computers
Gartner predicts that by 2013 mobile devices will surpass PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide. With this increased connectivity comes the increased demand for on-the-go service.
Developing mobile apps will now put companies ahead of the competition as they grant customers mobile access to billing information, customer service inquiries and general account management. A customer who’s having service issues doesn’t want to wait to speak with an agent, or even until they get home to troubleshoot the problem on the company’s website. Customers demand answers fast, as they’re experiencing problems.
Applications with touch, type and talk capabilities will enable customers to resolve issues on the go, and make it possible to integrate with the rich capabilities that a smartphone already offers. For example, by leveraging geo-location capabilities into an app, customers can find the store location nearest to them at that time. That’s why mobile care solutions must incorporate additional smartphone capabilities for intuitive, integrated engagement that resolves customer needs quickly and completely.
You can’t just convert your Web site
A simple mobile version of a company’s website won’t offer that type of rich interaction. Websites converted to mobile often don’t provide a great user experience on the smaller screen of the smartphone. Customers will be frustrated if they have to navigate through complex menus or scroll through long lists of FAQs.
To break through the usability barrier, companies need to leverage natural language search along with the touch, type and talk capabilities of the smartphone to make it easier to find and access information and services.
The smartphone generation has arrived, bringing smart customers with it. The only question that remains is if companies will keep up or be left in the mobile dust.