Mobile and social trends expected to speed up customer service

Consumers have become increasingly connected through social media and constant access to data through smartphones, which has led them to expect quicker responses from companies' customer service teams when an issue arises.

Consumers have become increasingly connected through social media and constant access to data through smartphones, which has led them to expect quicker responses from companies' customer service teams when an issue arises. Now, delivering service that earns customer satisfaction and loyalty means businesses have to develop presences in multiple media channels and regularly maintain them.

Many businesses have already started to engage with customers and encourage participation on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. In fact, some customers are choosing to voice their complaints on Twitter instead of calling help lines because they believe messages posted on social networks will prompt a faster response and they will be able to resolve their issue sooner, according to The Guardian.

However, some app developers are betting the growing population of smartphone owners would benefit from a new customer service channel that provides them with direct access to each company's customer service teams, according to My Customer. Kate Leggett, a Forrester analyst, is one of the customer service application proponents who believes 2012 could be the year they gain popularity.

"With more than 100 million smartphone users in the U.S. and about 19 percent owning tablets, customers are demanding more efficient ways to use their mobile devices for business transactions," said Interactive Intelligence founder and CEO Donald Brown.

The devices allow customers to perform a number of tasks with their mobile devices, such as creating customer care tickets, registering merchandise and receiving support, Leggett told the news source. Using this technology would also prepare support teams to help customers in the most effective way possible, leveraging cameras, GPS and video functions to better understand the problem, she added.

However, it has yet to be seen if customers would perceive this option as value-added convenience, or an additional barrier standing, since it requires them to wait for an app to download and launch before they get the help they need, the source reports. To ensure this is not the case, businesses could mystery shop their own customer service channels after introducing new outlets to verify they are easy to access and use.