Customer journey through mobile devices

Stefan Cohen |October 1 2013 5 min

I hate to wait in line. And I imagine you might too. How much of an impact do you think this modern-day shopping temperament has on your business? I find myself waiting for service in stores way too often. In those situations, I usually bring up my smartphone to kill some time while thinking: “Wouldn’t my time be better spent somewhere else?”

The retail landscape is changing like never before, and the sector is set for even more rapid change over the next three years, as retailers respond to changing consumer behavior, particularly around the use of mobile devices in the shopping process.

How long are customers willing to wait for service in your retail store before they walk out? As it turns out, not very long. According to multiple surveys, almost all (94 percent) customers think waiting 5 to 10 minutes or less is reasonable.

In fact, waiting too long is the No.2 complaint consumers have about retailers (The first? “Rude staff.”) Keeping customers waiting more than 10 minutes may seem a trivial complaint, but it can cost you. If you make them wait, 48 percent assume your business is poorly run, and 52 percent take their business elsewhere. [1]

Why does it matter to your business?

Clearly, consumers have little patience for waiting in line in our 24/7 society. Don’t compound the problem by ignoring it. If there’s an unavoidable hold-up, acknowledge customers and thank them for their patience. Often, that’s all it takes.

Of course, you can also get high-tech about it. 87 percent of consumers are willing to use some type of technology if it keeps them from waiting in line at retail stores, and 67 percent would use online check-in or download an app that saved their places in line at a retail business.

So what are the technology options?

Taking a mobile ticket using a smartphone is certainly one of the best options at the moment. A customer can take a ticket to a service before he or she even enters the store or branch. This can be done by integrating the option into existing applications or by providing dedicated apps or web apps. The feature can be further improved by linking it to prior customer behavior or GPS-based geo-location to find a service close to the user’s current location.

Notifications and queue status monitoring on mobile devices

Notifications and queue status monitoring on all devices can further enhance the customer experience and reduce the perceived waiting time. It can also allow your customers to manage their time and explore more of your offerings.

A way to completely bypass queuing is to allow mobile customers to make appointments to selected services. By making an appointment, you ensure the customer a certain expected service level. Appointment booking can be integrated in mobile applications in the same way as mobile queuing.

The problem with many existing solutions for mobile queuing and appointment management is that they:

  • Require the user to have a smartphone. Some users will still want to or require traditional ways of queuing. (when was the last time you forgot your smartphone at home or forgot to charge it in time?)
  • Require the user to hand out their phone number. (Many consumers are concerned about their privacy and will refuse to give you their phone number for an SMS ticket)
  • Aren’t backed by an enterprise CFM solution, so they lack the required flexibility and integration options required by modern organizations.
  • Aren’t scalable to meet the needs of global companies.

Since customer service is a strategy and philosophy as much as it is a major function of your company, it’s necessary to update and improve your approach constantly. This means staying up to date with new channels and technology. But it also means monitoring larger trends and when it makes sense folding them into your customer service strategy.

Are mobile customer journeys something for you? Check out the Qmatic mobile framework.

Do you want to find out more about the challenges being faced throughout the public sector and how to overcome them?

This report highlights the changing demands, pressures and challenges in public services. Plus, the urgent need for better service and experience.

Download Public Trends Report

[1] Great Clips Survey 2012

Stefan Cohen

Stefan Cohen

Head of Global Product Marketing, 2013-2016.

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