Impact Learning Systems


Customer Experience in the Mobile Age Ezra Siegel

In a recent assess­ment of smart­phone usage, mobile device ana­lyt­ics firm Flurry esti­mates that there were over 640 mil­lion iOS and Android devices in use world­wide dur­ing the month of July 2012. And in the US, 78% of the adult pop­u­la­tion uses some sort of “smart” device such as an iPhone or tablet. Busi­nesses are rush­ing to build mobile-friendly web­sites and mobile apps. To suc­ceed, these busi­nesses need to do more than just cre­ate a mobile adver­tise­ment for their prod­ucts. They need build a great cus­tomer expe­ri­ence to stand behind the half-inch squared icon on a customer’s mobile device.

Build­ing that great cus­tomer expe­ri­ence has a lot to do with liv­ing up to expec­ta­tions. Most apps can track a user’s search pref­er­ences, pre­vi­ous pur­chases, and other infor­ma­tion. Yet sim­ply record­ing this infor­ma­tion is not enough, there is an expec­ta­tion that it will be ana­lyzed to cre­ate per­son­al­ized expe­ri­ence for the user. We live in a world where, for many young peo­ple, talk­ing to some­one is not a pri­mary use of their phone. These cus­tomers might pre­fer Twit­ter or Face­book for cus­tomer ser­vice instead of call­ing in or send­ing e-mail, but they still expect all of those options to be available.

For an app to set itself apart from the crowd it can­not sim­ply meet expec­ta­tions, it needs to exceed expec­ta­tions. If cus­tomer ser­vice via Face­book, Twit­ter, phone, and e-mail are the base­line, there are some other avenues you can take to cre­ate that pos­i­tive cus­tomer expe­ri­ence with mobile apps.
•    Cre­ate a seam­less cus­tomer ser­vice expe­ri­ence. Give peo­ple the abil­ity to express them­selves from inside the app they are using.
•    Cre­ate a per­son­al­ized cus­tomer ser­vice expe­ri­ence. In-app feed­back can pro­vide con­tex­tual data to help your cus­tomer ser­vice agents under­stand who the cus­tomer is, their usage his­tory, and usage pref­er­ences.
•    Cre­ate a data-driven cus­tomer ser­vice expe­ri­ence. Col­lect usage and per­son­al­iza­tion data through your mobile app, and ana­lyze in aggre­gate. Ana­lyt­ics can help your devel­op­ers under­stand when and how users inter­act with your app, dri­ving updates that fit the needs of its users.

sephora Customer Experience in the Mobile AgeSephora is a prime exam­ple of a busi­ness tak­ing full advan­tage of the rise in mobile use and tech­nol­ogy. In April 2012, along with the launch of a redesigned web­site, Sephora also launched a mobile web pres­ence, and an app for the iPhone. With their mobile app, Sephora has yet another touch point for cus­tomer ser­vice, and a tool to gather data about their cus­tomers’ pref­er­ences. has a great write-up about the pos­i­tive expe­ri­ence Sephora has had embrac­ing mobile devices.

To cre­ate a mobile app that per­fectly antic­i­pates the needs of the user the first time out of the gate is nearly impos­si­ble. The age of mobile app is in its infancy, and there will be vast improve­ment on all fronts. For mobile app devel­op­ers, just like in the ser­vice indus­try, hear­ing the voice of the cus­tomer is a key to suc­cess. App stores and app mar­ket­places are filled with rat­ings and reviews for mobile apps, many of them lit­tle more than arbi­trary star rat­ings and three word com­ments like “this app sucks.”

No mat­ter how much effort you put into cus­tomer ser­vice, you can­not help some­one who posts an anony­mous three word neg­a­tive review. There is no way to reach out to that per­son. There is no way fix their prob­lem. So now we see a new breed of cus­tomer ser­vice tools emerg­ing to address these issues, such as the in-app feed­back and sur­vey ser­vice from Appten­tive. Or app ana­lytic soft­ware like Loc­a­lyt­ics or Flurry Ana­lyt­ics. These new tools make it pos­si­ble to exceed expec­ta­tions and cre­ate a great cus­tomer expe­ri­ence even when the prod­uct isn’t work­ing cor­rectly. With these tools we can cre­ate a seam­less, per­son­al­ized, and data-driven cus­tomer ser­vice expe­ri­ence for mobile app users.

You can find the Appten­tive team on Face­book and Twit­ter @apptentive.

Ezra Siegel is the VP of Com­mu­nity of Appten­tive, a com­pany that pow­ers in-app feed­back and bet­ter app rat­ings for app devel­op­ers on iOS, Android and Mac OS X. Ezra focuses on com­mu­nity out­reach for Appten­tive and is a strong advo­cate of cre­at­ing great cus­tomer experiences.
 Customer Experience in the Mobile Age
Ezra Siegel
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