Service with a Smile, a Text Message, a Location, and an iPad

Updated: August 31, 2010

New Technology Offers New Ways to Impact Customer Experience

As seen above with Walgreens, increased interaction with customers across channels provides more opportunities to engage with them - which is leading to more valuable customer relationships. And many of these cross-channel interactions are taking place over the latest generation of smartphones.

Modern mobile technology is allowing us to do more of just about everything from wherever we are. Combined with broadband wireless networks, these devices are changing our customer's capabilities for doing business with us.

Mobile banking has been around for years, with the ability to check balances, pay bills and do other banking functions we used to have to do at a local branch. One of those tasks that still required a trip to the branch was the act of depositing checks. But now Chase has an iPhone application that allows you to even deposit checks. By using the iPhone's camera to take pictures of both sides of the check, the Chase app assists you in getting it deposited into your account. It also gives you an immediate confirmation of the deposit.

The ability to get account information from your mobile is great, but the ability to turn pictures into deposits can dramatically change the customer experience with the bank, by positively impacting their life experience with fewer trips to the bank.

Location, Location, Location… as a Customer Service

Even with the ability to now deposit checks from your iPhone, there are still times when you may need to get to the closest branch possible. And thanks to GPS technology in most of the newer smartphones, applications like the Chase app can utilize location-based services (LBS) to find the closest branch possible, then map out the best route to take for you to get there.

Instead of having to type in the address of your physical location, Geico's app uses your current location to assist you in finding the closest taxi/rental car service, find nearby towing and gas stations, and to report where you are if you were involved in an accident.

With location-enabled sites like FourSquare, GoWalla, Loopt growing in popularity - and with Facebook and Twitter adding LBS capabilities - we're at the tip of the iceberg for these services. And there is no doubt that there will be many opportunities for companies to leverage these services to further engage with customers by improving their life experience, through improved customer experiences.

The iPad

While smartphones have been popular for years, tablet devices are now coming into their own thanks to the iPad. There's no doubting its popularity, with over three million units sold in the first eighty days on the market. And according to a recent study from Appcelerator, interest in developing iPad applications is right behind that of developing applications for the iPhone.

The iPad's form factor, display, touch-screen interface and other functions present a unique engagement experience - different from both desktop/laptop and smartphone platforms. And just like each of these platforms, customers are finding unique ways to take advantage of the portability/functionality mix the iPad offers its users.

One company that is leveraging the engagement experience the iPad offers to its customers is Hyundai, who is including an iPad in the 2011 Equus. Even more interesting is how Hyundai has changed its service process to take advantage of the iPad's capabilities.

The iPad that comes with the Equus comes preloaded with the owner's manual installed, as well as a service scheduling application. And the process of servicing your Equus has changed to improve the customer experience. Rather than driving to a dealership for an appointment, the owner uses their iPad app to schedule their vehicle to be picked up from home or work.

Once the car has been serviced, the customer can use the iPad app to schedule a time and location to have the car delivered.

This is a great example of how new technology, combined with a process flow redesign, can positively impact customer engagement and customer experience. Furniture retailer Arhaus has also turned to the iPad to deliver a new customer process and improved experience.

Arhaus is outfitting their delivery drivers with iPads that come equipped with applications displaying images that help customers with ideas/options for setting up their new furniture. Open delivery, the driver hands the iPad over to the customer, where a "welcome" application guides the customer through an on-boarding process. Additionally, there are applications that integrate with workforce management systems. So if a piece of furniture arrives at a customer's house with a problem, the driver can order a replacement piece right from the iPad.

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