According to the 2019 State of Service report from Salesforce, 80% of customers now consider their experience with a company to be as important as its products. This shift towards experience has caused support teams and organizations to transform their approach and in many cases overhaul their operations and begin investing in new ideas and new technology in order to better connect with their customers.

At the same time, the smartphone has become the standard and changed the way we connect with one another. We now communicate and interact with friends, family, and coworkers both visually and contextually. Think of the last conversation you had, you likely called, texted, sent a photo, video, and more all within the span of one interaction. Customers today expect the same from the brands and products they love.

Leveraging the channels and capabilities of the smartphone makes it easier for support agents to better understand the issues that customers are facing and to more quickly solve them. Simultaneously, empowering customers to use the full power of their mobile devices helps create a unique and one-of-a-kind support experience. In today’s market where experience is everything and competition is fierce, a smartphone-centric approach to customer support can be the difference between keeping customers coming back or losing them to the competition.

Here are three ways in which smartphone functionality can level-up your customer support:

Photos and Videos

You come home from work to find that you have finally received the package that you had ordered weeks ago. The only problem is, the box is damaged and so is the item inside. You call into support only to spend forever trying to explain the situation. This scenario happens far too often. However, what if you could take a photo of the damaged item and send it directly to a support agent? Now, the support agent has the visual context they need in order to quickly help you through this scenario.

Being able to send photos or videos directly to support agents can speed up the support process and reduce the amount of time customers spend answering repetitive questions about what their issue is and why they’ve contact support in the first place. Not only can customers send photos and videos directly to an agent, but they can also provide visual context before even connecting with support. Sending visual context such as photos or videos while a customer is waiting on hold gives the agent background information and the ability to begin assessing the situation before they even say hello to the customer.

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Messaging

According to a GfK MRI study, more than 68% of consumers said they text more than they talk on their smartphones. Clearly, whether it chat or text, the use of messaging as opposed to calling has become an integral part of how we communicate and interact with one another. With more than ⅔ of consumers preferring text to voice, implementing text and messaging options as part of the support experience can have a dramatic impact on customer retention and loyalty.

With the addition of text as a support channel, customers can easily relay critical information to support agents either before a call begins, while on hold, or even during a support call.

In-App

As more digitally native customers, such as millennials and Generation Z customers enter the market, the emphasis on mobile channels and more specifically, mobile apps will continue to rise. In fact, a recent report from Salesforce shows that ⅔ of millennials identified mobile apps as their preferred channel when communicating with companies. Every day, we are seeing more and more companies follow in the footsteps of brands such as Instacart, Lyft, Spotify, and more, and begin to operate almost exclusively through a mobile app.

Adopting in-app customer support means customers can stay logged into the app and their profile when contacting support, rather than being taken out of the app and into a 1-800 number Interactive Voice Response (IVR) tree. Why is this important? By keeping customers within the mobile app, support agents can then securely have direct insight into a customer’s profile and information they have agreed to share. This could be anything from location, type of Operating System (OS), purchase history, and more. Information like this can help agents quickly and easily gather the context they need to provide a personalized experience where they can resolve issues faster and do so within an app-based environment. All of which is what more and more customers are beginning to prefer.

Think about your daily routine. Whether it is at work, at home, or on-the-go, odds are you’re on a mobile device far more than you are on a laptop or desktop. With the shift towards mobile well underway, and future generations already showing their preference towards mobile channels, it is only fitting that support teams and organizations begin looking at the smartphone as the key to creating a customer experience that will not only satisfy customers today, but allow them to be aligned and capitalize on the emerging markets of tomorrow.