New developments in customer service applications on smart phones and tablets, or as society has now deemed them ‘apps’, is all about increasing revenue for the businesses creating them. In doing so, the user of the application (the buyer), becomes a more engaged and loyal customer by spending less time on tedious details, and more time deciding what to buy. The saying ‘time is money,’ is everything in the application world, and by lowering the time it takes to buy a product, companies make it more likely through consumer-friendly applications to see increased revenues and sales. Essentially, the ease of connection between the seller and the buyer is paramount to retaining customers and ultimately adding to the bottom line.
Increasingly, the competitive landscape between retailers has forced them to expand and enhance their mobile applications to help attract and retain consumers. In today’s technology driven and increasingly wired-world, it is essential for retailers to create applications that allow for buyers to easily communicate with sellers, albeit on a transaction or customer service basis. Current developments in customer service applications by retailers in recent months have helped ease the process of transactions for buyers, and therefore, began to pave a path for productivity and satisfaction for both parties. A significant breakthrough in this field has been a strategy known as straight through processing (STP),that works so that once the seller has the necessary information for a purchase as input by the buyer, it becomes stored and password protected for individuals future usage. By essentially creating a saved account on individual apps within companies computer network, buyers no longer have to dredge through inputting information they may have done just a few days ago. This process has allowed an expedition of the customer service processes and retail sales, by allowing buyers to skip the tedious steps of inputting personal information and instead just punch in a password tied to their personal account. Inherently, this allows for accessibility and ease for the buyer; two traits vitally necessary for enhancing the customers experience with X retailer or seller, as well as increasing the customers likelihood of returning to use that retailer.
For example, in a recent article entitled ‘15 Mobile Retail Apps that Enhance Customer Experiences‘ by Sig Ueland, the focus is on retail applications such that are changing and modernizing the relationship between retailers and customers. A preeminent example of this as cited by Ueland in is the Best Buy application that gives customers on a real-time basis access to:
‘ Track past purchases
‘ Scan QR codes
‘ Access reviews
‘ Compare product prices
‘ Find in-store availability
The Best Buy application is just one amongst many other applications that have enhanced and eased the connection between large-scale retailers and customers, allowing for a more personalized relationship on portable devices. The correlation between increased personal service through applications and repeat usage of services from individual consumers is overwhelming, and surely signifies the necessity and potential for increased revenue that these customer service applications provide in the long run. Simply put, by connecting major retailers with customers through applications allows companies to connect to their patron on a more personal level, ultimately leading to brand loyalty which is essential for long-term revenue growth.
Chelsea Baptiste is a second year intern at IIR USA focusing on Market Research and Social Media. She can be reached at CBaptiste@IIRUSA.com
Looking to learn more about Mobile Customer Service Apps? Check out “Is Your Mobile App Customer Centric?” with Matthew Rhoden of Peppers & Rogers Group at this year’s Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit.
There’s still time to Save $100 off the registration fee – Register by THIS FRIDAY, October 1st.
We’re so excited about the 2010 NACCM storytellers and their amazing customer initiatives, that we just couldn’t wait until the event to give you a sneak peek! This week we’re highlighting Gina from Best Buy (who will be taking part in the Breakfast of Champions at 9:00 on Wednesday, October 27th). For the full list of speakers, click here.
Under Gina’s leadership as the Senior Manager of Communities and Social Media Strategies, Best Buy has positioned itself as the leader in the technology retail space in part because the company isn’t afraid to take risks with new customer support platforms.
That means making social media a priority as a customer experience tool, instead of considering it an afterthought for someone to do in their spare time.
The company’s original goal for its online activities was to decrease customer support calls into the call center and reduce expenses. But new benefits soon emerged. More than 60% of forum posts are product discussions, something Gina saw as an opportunity to increase and influence customer spending. In addition, social media platforms help build retention and loyalty, and the user comments help Best Buy gain new insight into the customer experience. “Every contact is an idea”, she says.
Customize your Experience – Mix and match sessions geared to Leadership, Company Culture & Employee Engagement or Crowdservicing & Customer Experience. View the agenda-at-a-glance for an overview of everything NACCM.
Second-to-None Customer Service! Making the conference a success for you is the goal of the entire team at NACCM. Not sure where to start? Simply the download the conference brochure and review the sessions – still have questions? Contact our event concierge, Alexandra Pagano at MyNACCM@iirusa.com
The Wall Street Journal reports that Google, Apple, Best Buy and Volkswagen and more are looking to revamp their mobile advertising. Until now, mobile advertising mainly consisted of small banner ads tucked into the corner of a mobile Web page or text-message ads that often resembled spam. As a result, the mobile-advertising market remained relatively small, even as mobile phones proliferated.
Marketers are carefully watching the iPad, which can run software applications similar to iPhone apps, along with other new products, as they look to broaden their strategies beyond first-generation mobile ads, such as text-messages ad
Learn more: Giving Mobile Ads a Makeover
As we look at these changes with mobile advertising, what sort of predictions can you make on the success of these efforts?
Ron Biore, former Executive Vice President at Best Buy, looks at how he changed Best Buy’s in store strategy to specifically target four segments of customers. While focusing on their customers, they changed the in-store strategy dependent on what their customers preferred and wanted from their customers.
In an article at the Examiner, they look at Best Buy’s new effort to reach a tech-savvy crowd with customer service. They’ve launched a new Twitter, Twelpforce, to combine both online customer service and online marketing and sales. Customers ask questions either @Twelpforce or add the hashtag #twelpforce to their entry, and someone within Best Buy will respond to your question. Employees from throughout the company will be chipping in to answer questions from customers. This launched on July 19, and has since accumulated 2,531 customers.
Last week I had the honor to chair the North American Conference on Customer Management’s Customer First conference in Anaheim, CA at Disneyland. What a treat. (You can read more about it in this week’s tip) One of the several speakers I had the honor to introduce was Robert Stephens, the founder of the Geek Squad. http://customers1st.blogspot.com/search?q=robert+stephens http://www.geeksquad.com/ I was so happy to have a chance to spend a few quiet moments with Stephen in the ballroom before the sessions began. I’ve been talking about Robert for years in my speeches and retelling a story I heard a famous speaker tell years ago. I wanted to hear Robert tell the story and add a few details. I was shocked (not to mention embarrassed) to find out that I have been ‘lying’ about the origins of the Geek Squad for years. Robert was gracious about it and shared a few moments with me before it was time to introduce him. I was thrilled to talk to him personally, so I didn’t read the printed introduction that was given to me in my chairperson pack. Up I go to the stage with my printed introduction in hand. He’s an impressive guy and so I decided to read some of his interesting credentials before adding in my personal thoughts. Right there on the paper it said, ‘In 2002, The Geek Squad acquired Best Buy and opened Geek Squad precincts in all Best Buy US and Canadian stores.’ I saw it on the page, but before opening my mouth, my mind decided this could not be so and so I said, ‘Best Buy acquired the Geek Squad’ instead, figuring it must be wrong. Nope, it was right and I was wrong. Later in the day, after I had made a personal apology to Robert, I apologized to the entire audience, explaining what I thought happened. Because it seemed so impossible to me that a midsize service company could possibly buy a ‘big box’ store, I assumed that what I saw on the page was incorrect. Talk about the old adage – when we assume it makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’. I’m still embarrased. Because I wondered if this was happening to others as well as me, I asked the audience how many of them thought that Best Buy had bought the Geek Squad rather than the other way around – half the audience did. It’s a great example of seeing what we want to see. When our belief system is strong it simply won’t let in information to the contrary. I am truly humbled by the experience. Robert taught us that what we need to create today is an ‘Authentic Experience’ and I’ll tell you – my embarrassment was an authentic as it gets. Yikes. Robert, I learned so many valuable lessons from you last week – the most important of which were those I learned about myself.If you’d like to see more of Joanna Brandi’s blogs, visit JoAnna Brandi’s Blogs. You can also find out more by visiting her Customer Care Coach website. Joanna Brandi was a keynote speaker and conference chair at this year’s North American Conference on Customer Management, and has already been profiled on our Customer 1st blog. Stay tuned for her posts on the Customers 1st blog!
In a recent article at The Motley Fool, they look at how some stores have made it their goal to focus on the customer, and as a result are having an easier time with the current recession. They also state that over the course of five years, companies lose 1/2 their customers, and of those 2/3 claim that customer service is their reason for leaving.
Some companies realize the value of keeping customers, and are reponsible for such statistics as increasing customer loyalty by 5% can increase your profits by 25%. These stores include Best Buy, Nordstrom, Amazon, and LL Bean.
With the North American Conference On Customer Service approaching, we would like to introduce you to the speakers we will have at our event. This year, NACCM will take place from November 16 ‘ 19, 2008 in Anaheim, California at the Disneyland Hotel. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Robert Stephens. Robert Stephens is the Founder and Chief Inspector of The Geek Squad. Stephens started this business when he was a ‘starving college student’ at the University of Minnesota. While he was going around fixing things for people with his mountain bike and cell phone, he found when he went to help people, mainly with computers, service was lacking. So formed The Geek Squad, which is now a part of Best Buy. With respect to his views on Customer Service, Robert Stephens was quoted in this interview stating: ‘So my emphasis in service, which the biggest expense in pretty much any service business I can think of is human capital/labor. In service, the people are the brand. They are the factories that manufacturer it. I focus really on attracting and maintaining talent as a means of accomplishing that goal.’ To learn more about Robert Stephens read his book, The Geek Squad Guide to Solving Any Computer Glitch, and check out this interview from Service Untitled which delves more into specifics of his philosophy. Also, for more on Stephens watch the YouTube clip provided below:
We invite you to come see Robert Stephens at NACCM as he presents on Wednesday, November 19th, ‘Marketing is a tax you pay for being unremarkable’.
The Associated Press reports that Microsoft Corp. is planning to deploy its own customer service reps at several retail locations like Best Buy and Circuit City to aid customers in purchasing PCs. Microsoft is going to have 155 Microsoft gurus that will answer questions about Microsoft products and PCs, as well as give demos of how the company’s products work together. Tom Pilla, Microsoft’s general manager of corporate communications mentions: “Think of that as borrowing a page from Nordstrom with that retail customer experience.” Microsoft seems to be following suit from this store chain that is known for their customer service. Unlike Apple’s ‘Genius Bars’, Microsoft’s reps will not offer technical support on already purchased products. Will this be something Microsoft will look to provide in the future to compete with Apple? Giving customers detail information about products before the purchase can ultimately influence their buying decision and satisfaction. It will be interesting to see when other companies will follow suit.