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The Best in Customer Service Software May be a Smartphone Away

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October 16, 2014

The Best in Customer Service Software May be a Smartphone Away

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

For retailers, this is a time of year filled with equal parts dread and anticipation. Yes, we’re already entering into the holiday shopping season, which can mean the difference between a good year and a disastrous one for retailers. And with competition likely to prove heavy once again, retailers are already considering how to get the edge on their competitors and walk away with the best results. Fresh advice on how to do that recently landed with a look at the broader market from Bright Pattern.

Bright Pattern's look at retail focused on seven key points to both better drive customer experience and beat out the competition in the process. Bright Pattern led off with a quote from Forrester (News - Alert) Research, which noted that simply maintaining status quo wasn't to be enough. Sixty-four percent of respondents to a Forrester study noted that the risks of not adopting new technologies would leave the firms in question at a competitive disadvantage. But what is to be done about the issue of new technology and customer experience?

As it turns out, there are five main complaints when it comes to the customer experience, and putting customer service software solutions to work to address these will go a long way toward fixing the overall problem. The biggest problem was that it took too long to resolve an issue in general, and almost as big was that people had to start over in the midst of fixing a problem. Others cited too much effort required on the customer's part to fix issues, the need to repeat information when moving between departments and the like, and no recognition of the user or his / her issue. The smartphone, as it turns out, can address all of these.

If customers can use smartphones to send relevant documents and pictures immediately to the business, the total time taken in getting a problem fixed is drastically reduced. The use of mobile applications can quickly provide customer service agents with necessary information, and help in getting the customer routed to the best location for getting a problem fixed. This also reduces time, and cuts back on customers spending time going over the same ground more than once. In transmitting data directly, customers can also bypass interactive voice response (IVR) systems, as the customer does what the IVR was meant to: find the right department. The advance knowledge also allows for better segmenting, and recognition of the customer; there's also a great opportunity here to afford special treatment to the best customers, especially since same can be more readily identified.

Smartphones can also allow for multiple media types to be used at once, from videos to text, while maintaining the connection between business and customer. Finally, consider how this entire process can save the business money; if the customer spends less time on the phone, that's less time the business needs to pay for in terms of toll-free calling. Plus, more calls can be handled in the same amount of time, potentially requiring fewer customer service agents overall.

Smartphones aren't a silver bullet for all a business' ills, but when it comes to customer service, the use of a smartphone can be very smart indeed. Putting this powerful new tool to work, sometimes in unusual or unexpected ways, can yield substantial dividends and offer a terrific customer experience as well, the kind of thing that goes a long way toward beating the competition, and making the holiday shopping season—and beyond—a merry one.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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