News Feature | May 23, 2016

Brands Are Failing To Meet Customers' Mobile Communications Expectations, New Survey Finds

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

90% Use Mobile Devices For Work, 20% Receive Security Training For Them

45 percent of consumers identify e-commerce service providers as most effective vertical at mobile.

Customers prefer to interact with customer service agents using different communication channels depending on the stage of transaction, and they expect service providers to be effective using mobile, according to new findings from the report, “Customer Engagement Shifts: Consumers Demand Speed and Choices,” conducted by tyntec, a telecom-web convergency company, and research and consulting firm, Ovum.

While voice, email and SMS are well-established communications channels between service providers and their customers, research shows that consumers are increasingly interested in using newer, IP-based communications channels to interact with their service providers, including over-the-top (OTT communications apps (chat apps), app-based push notifications, and web chat, or even to use SMS-enabled customer service numbers.

“Brands that focus solely on developing their own mobile app for interacting with their customers may well become victims of app fatigue in that, no matter how rich an experience it provides, most consumers now need to be convinced to download yet another app,” explained Pamela Clark-Dickson, lead analyst, digital communications and social networking, Consumer Services, Ovum. “Brands should consider adopting an omni-channel strategy for customer care, which would enable them to use a mixture of communications services during each individual interaction with the consumer, including mobile messaging as well as apps.”

Ovum’s Customer Engagement Survey of 1,000 consumers in the US and Germany found that while a large percentage of those polled expressed interest in using SMS communications with their customer service agents at the same number they use for voice calls, a significantly lower proportion said they were able to do so.

The study also found that, “in terms of vertical industries, consumers are engagement more with the customer care departments of e-commerce providers via multiple channels than with those of other verticals.” E-commerce providers are, of necessity, investing more into the ability to communicate with customers in as many communications channels as possible, including web chat, SMS, and chat apps.

Email and voice dominance is waning, which SMS and chat apps are gaining acceptance. In fact, 56 percent of respondents said they would use SMS via the same number they use for voice calls if they could. Customers said SMS is less time-consuming (44 percent) and more convenient (42 percent) than alternative communications forms. Respondents are most interested in two-way SMS for appointment scheduling (53 percent), order tracking (48 percent), and providing feedback (43 percent).

E-commerce is driving new mobile use cases, with 45 percent of respondents saying e-commerce service providers are the most effective vertical market in leveraging mobile communication for customer service.

“With users expecting near-real-time issue resolution, it’s key that service providers map the customer journey with the communications channels that meet the requirements,” according to Marco Lafrentz, product manager at tyntec.

“At the same time, the way enterprises implement messaging technologies and the suppliers they deal with should depend on the business. For example, if your business is local, connecting to a mobile operator and a mobile chat app that covers most of your demographic might be an option for you. However, if your business is regional or global, you would need a reliable provider who can connect multiple networks and chat apps and manage the complexity – so that you can focus on your strategic goal of strengthening your mobile customer engagement.”