How Smartphone Applications Extend Your Customer Service
Smart phones and tablets are taking over.
To back this I’m not going to throw any statistics at you.
Instead, take a look around.
Observe what people are doing at the bus stop or when walking down the street.
What’ll you see is people buried in their smart phones or tablets.
Instead of paying attention to a bus that is coming, their dog or the people their about to walk into, their texting, checking out their favorite social network or reading something.
Mobile devices allow us to stay connected away from our PC‘s and laptops.
So how can you increase your businesses engagement and extend your customer service experience utilizing these devices?
Read on if you want to see what an example of meaningful marketing looks like in the mobile world.
Mobile Applications for Business
Last week I did something I never do, I picked up a newspaper.
I was waiting at my car dealership when I decided to give old media some attention. On the front page of the business section I read an article that made me smile.
What exactly made me all warm and fuzzy? For a normal human this would probably be some heartfelt story about a mom reuniting with a lost child before mothers day. Those stories make me tear up no doubt.
But for someone as addicted to marketing and business as I am, it was a story about a local cab company and an application they developed for smartphones.
The local taxi company developed a smart phone application that provides users with:
- A one touch dial button for their 1-800 number
- Fair estimates
- The best locations in the city where you can find a cab
The vice president of the company says that the app is all about customer service. I can’t argue with that.
In an industry where customers are all about getting a ride home as fast as possible, loyalty is obviously very low. People want to get a ride home safely without having to wait long.
You don’t catch yourself saying to your friends “Sorry, but I will NOT ride with XYZ Cab company because I had a terrible experience last time”.
Your friends would hop in a leave you behind!
This application allows them to stand out from their competition. It shows that they truly care about their customer and getting them home as fast as possible.
In doing so they’ve created something that connects directly to a market that needs such a service. Youth who are out late and competing against each other for a ride home can download and utilize the app.
Most youth are smart enough to program numbers into their phone so the one touch dial portion of the app isn’t as beneficial. Users have this option when on the company’s mobile website as well.
The fair estimates are a nice touch but for most, they know how much a ride home costs.
I really want to zero in on the last benefit of the app.
Best Places to Flag a Cab
This is the most beneficial component of the app. When you stumble out of a bar or nightclub, you want to know where the best spot to catch a cab is.
Users can now do that by tapping a button on the app.
Even David Hasselhoff could complete this process! I do wonder if they have thought about the whole beer goggles and seeing double?
This app definitely improves people’s lives regardless if they’re a customer or not. That right there is the most important aspect to meaningful marketing.
As much as I love this idea and how meaningful it is, they could go even further.
After downloading and viewing the app, there is a slight problem. They’ve only listed places where you can flag a cab in the downtown core.
For most residents of Victoria, they know where the cab hot spots are. This is also no good for the people out in the suburbs at parties.
Here’s how this app could be better. Instead of listing the best places to flag a cab in the downtown core, why not offer GPS tracking on all cabs in the fleet?
GPS technology is everywhere these days. If I can spy on my ex-girlfriend (totally something I’ve never done) to see where she is, then I should be able track where cabs are.
The Waiting Game
We’ve all been told that our cab is only 5 minutes away yet waited for 30 minutes or more. Being able to track the cab through GPS would certainly help.
People could plan their exits more efficiently and not have to keep their hosts waiting. These situations can be awkward. Think of the old Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Elaine are waiting for Kramer to pick them up from a party in Long Island.
Those people downtown could check their app inside and plan accordingly. No more waiting out in the cold trying to flag a cab.
Another benefit of GPS tracking is transparency for the company. Users would be able to see where all the cabs are in real time.
As you can see by going a little bit further with this app, Bluebird could really stand out from their competition. Don’t get me wrong this is a massive step in the right direction and I applaud their foresight.
My next post is going to talk about other ideas for this app. These ideas will improve the checkout process and engage customers even more.
What about you?
You’re wondering what this has to do with you. How can your business give better customer service and market with meaning by using mobile apps?
Here are a couple examples that improve brand engagement, extend the customer service experience and are full of meaning.
My friends over at Victoria Transmission and Auto Care could develop and app that:
- gives tips for those with car troubles on the road
- use data from gas war type websites to show which gas stations have the cheapest gas
- send you updates on when your car needs a checkup
- let you see your cars checkup history
A local gym could develop an app that:
- gives you tips for workouts (possibly in video format) from their personal trainers
- allows you to track the progress of your workouts (how much weight your lifting and reps your doing)
- keeps track of your visits on a visual calendar
- tracks calories and what foods you’ve been eating throughout the day
Mobile applications are not as expensive as you would think. Years ago websites use to cost a boat load. That’s changed as more developers have come along and the coding has improved.
This is happening in the app development world as well. There are so many developers that prices have dropped.
How can your business extend its customer service experience by going mobile? There are ways any business can do this.
It takes some brain storming. You might even be doing some of these things right now. I know at Victoria Transmission and Auto Care they have user profiles people can access on their website. These profiles allows users to see their vehicles checkup history.
The mobile world is only going to get bigger. We do double takes when we see someone not using a smart phone these days!
It’s not just the youth anymore. I see many boomers using smart phones as well.
With all this said, have you given much thought to mobile applications?