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02 Sep 2015

How mobile has changed technical customer services

More automated services “that just work”

The simplicity and ease of use of mobile devices that abound in the world today – estimated to be 7 billion in 2013 – has had an irrevocable effect on how we must deliver technical customer services to remain competitive and relevant.

Mobile devices are so simple to use that the voice commands many come with as standard today – which interpret plain language – are often more difficult to use than the touchscreen interfaces. They’re so easy to use that just about anybody can do it. And the devices themselves have relatively few buttons next to something as comparatively complex as a PC keyboard.

People no longer have to read the manual when they install a new app. And simplicity hasn’t destroyed the power of these devices and their apps. Apps can apparently figure out whether or not people are depressed and could use a little cheering up. Shrinks may soon be out of business. You can get advanced home security, 3D augmented reality that plays well with the office of the future, you can track website transactions, another visualises financial data – in fact about the only thing there isn’t an app for is bringing change to the US military industrial complex, according to this paper.

The problem for technical customer services was that this ease of use, a couple of physical buttons and a billion apps for which you need not a single manual, is that employees started expecting the same simplicity from their much more complex IT and digital environments at the office.

“Why can’t you just drop the multifunction device over there and connect it?” they may ask. “We have WiFi.” They don’t want to hear stories about 150 devices linked via the network and automated, software-driven security and management functionality with roles-based usability and follow-me printing. And all of that in an environment that may use dynamic IP addresses in which the electricity occasionally fails and when everything comes back online nothing knows where anything else is anymore because they all have different IP addresses and…I’ve already lost half of you.

The truth is people don’t want technical explanations. They want stuff that works. Power it up, click the button, and voila! Follow-me printing, secure financial records printing, workflows, escalations, interrogative processes, roles-based functionality, automatic billing – delivered.

The truth is it has been a wake up call for technical customer services. Why shouldn’t people get that kind of service? The change, though, caught many by surprise but it’s become an increasingly important part of many businesses because customer’s, not brands, hold the power in the marketing dynamic of the digital world. Companies that survive are dealing with this issue.

We’ve had to and we’re also managing the change that comes with informing the sales process that impacts customer expectations upfront.

The power of this new world order is automation and connectivity the world calls the Internet of Things (IoT), which is what many of the devices are we make that power a raft of services from communications to interoperability, business document processes, IT services and more.

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