With all of the hype in mobile, the conversation most often shifts to “who is doing it right” or even, somewhat prematurely, “who is doing it best?” Altimeter showcased a method to take a look at mobile applications and understand how mature an app strategy is and what steps can be taken to move to the next, higher maturity phase. I’ve since had conversations with clients and others suggesting that taking this maturity model and looking at the present state and impact assessment areas and using those as a way to measure maturity of an overall mobile strategy, beyond just apps.
No News Is… No News
Since the publication of that report many of the organizations profiled have continued to break new ground in how they serve customers with mobile, others have changed their fortunes for the better. This is laudable progress but I think we’re at the precipice of something bigger, empowered mobile strategies. What is it?
<;blockquoteEmpowered mobile strategies are those applications and their mobile tools that provide a net new class of product or service or fundamentally change the way that a brand connects with a user.
Fully changing a product category of shifting an experience is something we won't widely see for at least a year. There are still too many question marks in terms of which platforms to develop for and a constraint of resources to go across they'll suite of contenders today. In addition, there are still many walls inside of large organizations not allowing resources to connect to provide a unified experience to mobile customers. There are some early examples, though, and the partnerships that make them possible are not what you'd expect.
American Airlines Empowers Their App
One does not often think of contact centers in the same breath as mobile, but the connection, once made, is obvious. American Airlines offers an app to help its customers check into flights, make reservations, request upgrades and, generally, interact with a travel brand when traveling. The app, though well designed, has little more use than the seat-back copy of American Way magazine. That’s about to change.
This summer, American will be enhancing its app to add live interaction. Through the use of contact center vendor Genesys‘ mobile app API and a partnership with Gogo Inflight Internet which American has rolled out on many of its flights, users can fire up the American Airlines mobile app at 35,000 feet and chat live with a representative in the airline’s contact center. This is invaluable for re-booking, checking upgrades and generally changes the nature of customer service from being reactive to being proactive and serving customers at the time of need. This is empowered mobile. .
It’s All About The Back-End
Contact center technology vendor Genesys provides the underpinnings to empower AA's mobile app.
Contact centers and customer service hubs may seem to be a “no-brainer” connection for mobile, however, aside from some forward-looking vendors like American’s partner Genesys, the links to many enterprise systems simply aren’t there. Most brands are looking to sell directly or drive revenue indirectly through mobile. While many brands look at mobile as a way to enrich themselves by driving transactions and revenue using mobile to engage, focusing on customer relationship over transactions, has wider applicability and, though it has a bit muddier ROI, can hold far more potential.
Empowering mobile assets to act as 1st line tools customer service tools and up the ante of interaction is starting to happen. Unfortunately, the evolution from passive (and even egregious mobile apps – those that simply sought to showcase the capabilities of a device and provide little value) to empowered mobile tools has been slow. This is largely due to mobile being treated as a separate, stand-alone capability inside of many organizations and also due to enterprise software vendors reticence to extend their tools to reach mobile to date. Expect more enterprise system vendors, from the contact center to the supply chain, step up and provide interaction for mobile users in the coming year. Doing mobile right does not rely on choosing one “right” technology; it depends on tying the mobile front end as tightly as possible to existing, back-end, customer-servicing assets.