Brands need to give customers apps for instant feedback

Customer service has now irrevocably changed from call centres to apps. More and more people demand instant information rather than a distant security obsessed call centres who probably can’t help you anyway!

Instant customer feedback, transactional changes, information on the go is the new customer service that people expect. Unfortunately this is not available from a call centre. Only an app can give you this.

In a recent survey by Nuance Communications for example more half of Australians (2nd highest penetration of smartphones in the world behind Singapore) preferred to access customer service information through an app rather than a call centre.

Consumers demand instant information as and when they want it which usually means on the train to work or on an escalator/lift rather than wasting time at your office desk and having the entire office hear your enquiry if you work in an open plan office (which more and more people now are with private phone conversations from your desk disappearing as a result).

Customer service apps provide 24/7 access and the ability to find out the information you want without having to talk to a soul. Brands that grant this service and can satisfy this demand will benefit through loyal customers and that all elusive and aspired for positive word-of-mouth recommendation.

Before telephone banking was the norm the brand First Direct in the UK (from HSBC) started it. In the days of banks shutting at 3pm and not opening at weekends First Direct tapped into the well of customer despondency with other banks lack of customer focus as and the desire from a customer who wanted a service when it suited them and not when it suited the bank.

They revolutionised UK banking and every other bank followed suit but they remain the most recommended bank brand in the UK, reputation lives long when innovation is coupled with customer satisfaction.

Nuance found that the use of an app enabled customers to complete an enquiry thus leading to a positive feeling about a brand. The opposite tends to happen when a call centre is rung…. Nuance found that 60% of respondents have a positive feeling about a company that offered a customer service app. 69% would recommend that brand to a friend. The best form of marketing that you can get.

Not surprisingly it is banking apps that are the most used with 70% of people saying that they use them weekly or more. Telecommunications companies were the sector with the most downloaded customer service apps.

Ironically every country in the world complains about the customer service of telecos which is consistently appalling. The fact that most Australians choose to download an app to enable anonymous interaction with their telco provider says a lot about Optus, Telstra, Vodafone and the other telco operators in Australia…..