There are currently 2.6 billion smartphone users worldwide, and this could rise to 6.1 billion by the year 2020, according to Ericsson’s Mobility Report.
As is often the case, the business world reflects our lifestyles in that organisations are becoming increasingly well connected, not only internally, but with their customers. If a customer can get in touch with a friend or family member immediately via an instant messaging app, why wouldn’t they expect the same of a business whose product or service they are using? This new expectation for quicker communication channels has placed new demands on businesses – there is an incentive for them to match their ‘ultra-connected’ customers, and offer them more ways than ever to get in touch.
Social media – the new customer service?
For many companies in the B2C sector, social media networks have become almost mandatory ways to create an online presence and market to customers. Platforms including Twitter are also now a means of fielding customer service enquiries, comments and complaints, and responding to them. In many cases, it is simply easier for a customer to jump online and ask a company a question via a social media network they are logged into, rather than attempt to dig up contact details such as an email or telephone number. The fact that these customer service conversations are played out in public has given a new transparency to the function and made it even more imperative for companies to respond in a timely and helpful fashion.
MCRM is here
For organisations operating on a B2B basis, Mobile Customer Relationship Management (CRM) might be the single most important development of recent times when it comes to staying connected with customers. Companies are able to respond to client needs more effectively, whether they are in the office, on the road, or at home. We are no longer limited by office hours, and CRM software which facilitates speedy service means businesses are able to meet the demand for quicker responses. Solutions such as Salesforce allow sales and account management teams to not only connect with each other internally, but directly with their clients and customers using the same platform. This means that the data in Salesforce can now be served up directly to the outside world and offer self-service, data updates, message based conversations and access to deep (constantly updated and real time) knowledge bases.
Convenience is key
It all comes back to making contact easier, quicker and ‘on-demand’ for customers – a benefit which is proven to be valued and engender brand loyalty. There is no set path for becoming better connected with customers. For a high street hair salon, it might mean taking appointment bookings over a dedicated app; for a rapidly expanding multinational company, the biggest advantage will be to respond locally, in country, in their native language and offer real time and open communications to their customers and partners. This will re-enforce their commitment to personalised customer service which should always be at the centre of their retention policy. The irony is that as we demand a global reach in our every day lives we will only accept an individual localised service.
Companies who adapt the quickest to the transition to MCRM, and can devise strategies which allow them to pass on the most benefits to their customers, are best placed to exploit the change in our communication habits.
Find out how we can help you adapt with Salesforce and Pardot, keeping you connected.