Posted 8/6/2015 3:04:09 PM by ERIC BILANGE, Acision
80% of companies say that they deliver “superior” customer service and experience, but only 8% of consumers agree, according to recent research from Lee Resources. In order to meet customers’ expectations in today’s hi-tech world, it’s crucial that businesses go the extra mile and look to new technology to offer innovative and great customer experiences.
The most popular apps have achieved downloads because they provide the service and experience they offer - they’re unique, easy to use or entertaining. However, many of them could enhance their service by adding extra functionality for rich communication. To engage today’s mobile users, brands have to offer experiences that are immersive and interactive, as well as informative.
Here we take a look at a handful of the top apps and imagine how additional engagement functionality, such as click to call, live chat and video features, IM and presence could enhance our favorite app experiences:
1. Just Eat
The popular takeaway app already allows users to order food based on nearby locations and from a wide menu, but the chosen delivery time isn’t always accurate. By incorporating automated text alerts within the app, users can be updated as to when their order is out for delivery and then on its way. If the app had Instant Messaging (IM), the driver could also ping you directly as he leaves to deliver your food, or let you know if he gets held up.
Imagine if you could see a live video of the chef making your food from the app. With WebRTC integrated video you can see your food being made, where your food is coming from, and the environment it is being made in, all in real-time. This would heighten your trust in the vendor’s cooking standards and lead to greater customer loyalty
The Just Eat app also has a reviews section, but this could be enhanced with a ‘share my view’ function, which allows users to share instant images. With ‘share my view’ the user can add images of their takeaway once it’s arrived, fostering trust amongst the community through images, which are proven to generate more engagement than words.
Uber has taken the private car hire market by storm. One of the app’s really helpful features is that you are able to contact your driver directly should you need to, via SMS or voice call, once a ride has been confirmed. But in order to make that connection, you are pushed out of the app – meaning it’s not a seamless experience.
A simple enhancement could be to enable the ability to make a video or voice call with your Uber driver instantly from within the app itself, saving the user the cost of a text or voice call, and improving the overall experience.
Another added benefit of offering video calling as a method of communication from within the app is that when you do need to get in contact with your driver, and are having trouble locating them when the location marker says the driver is nearby, is that you can see in real-time what the driver looks like.
This may not seem all that essential, but if experience on Facebook and some Internet dating sites is anything to go by, you can’t always depend on the photo within their profile being up to date!
3. Trip Advisor
With TripAdvisor, users utilize the app to get knowledge of the place they want to go to before they search for a hotel. However, often consumers need help with just picking a destination that suits them to go to before they move to the booking stage.
Travel companies could benefit from click to call functionality on the homepage to offer personal and informative services about destinations. If they are able to do this without having to click through to another website to research a place this would add huge value to the customer experience on TripAdvisor.
As a result of the research phase, the app currently sees many abandoned bookings. To decrease this issue, TripAdvisor could contact customers at their request with text alerts on destinations, deals or if the availability for a hotel begins to decrease. Often prices or deals expire while customers are making up their mind.
Offering virtual tours of a hotel through recorded video content stored within the app, which provides an impression of size and atmosphere that photos don’t always convey, would also boost the experience. These can sometimes be found on YouTube, but having them within the one app or website would keep the user within the same service and provide a more encompassing experience.
4. NatWest Mobile Banking
At the moment the NatWest app is fully functional but could go the extra mile to make customer service more accessible and seamless. For example, the app offers the user the option to call customer services but it logs the user out of the app and does not recognize that they are calling from it. Adding the option to call customer services from within the app makes the experience seamless.
But this doesn’t have to stop there – the customer experience can be even more personal and streamlined by making the most of data insights derived from the app. When a customer calls from within the app, all of the contact and navigation information would be transferred to the representative as data related to the call. This, coupled with the fact that the customer would be already authenticated when logging into the app itself, can save time and hassle for the customer by ensuring they reach who they need to more quickly, and for the customer service representative themselves to have clearer details on the enquiry. This saves time, meaning the agent can make more calls and unlock cost savings.
The bank could also integrate real-time video calls for a visual connection. Building this personal relationship makes the customer feel more valued, and also adds another level of authentication, as the agent can see the user, which makes the customer feel more secure – something which is increasingly more important in this age where identity fraud is so prevalent.
Recent reports have raised concern about fitness apps, and Glasgow GP and commentator Dr Des Spence says that they are likely making people more anxious about their health. As a result, there is the opportunity to allay these anxieties by integrating more communication functions into fitness apps that offer support to users.
For example, MyFitnessPal users could contact nutritionists or personal trainers through instant messaging chat or video to seek advice on healthy recipes, talk about exercise regimes or discuss any worries they have. There is currently a forum for other users to post text, but adding more communication functionality would create a support network of experts that users can talk to freely and it would be highly agile when integrated with instant chat features.
Personal trainers could also post recorded workout videos to gain a commission within the app for how many views they gain. These features could also be added as a premium, creating a revenue stream from within the app.
Many of the examples of communication functionality discussed in the article can be made possible through the use of the forge SDK, which is available from Acision. The SDK provides developers the opportunity to building out communication functionality including instant chat, real-time video and voice calling, secure authentication options and more.
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