December 17, 2012
An increasing number of brands are offering customer service support through mobile, according to an eMarketer article released last week covering studies on mobile customer support done by SAP, Social Media Today, MarketLive, and Tata Consultancy Services. According to the study by SAP and Social Media Today, 38% of companies surveyed worldwide offered customer service through the mobile channel in 2012, as opposed to 28% in 2011—an increase of 10 percentage points. Meanwhile, 8.4% of companies will enable this capability in the next six months, while 8.7% will enable this capability in more than six months.
The data also shows that a larger portion of customer service transactions will be completed with mobile customers over the next few years. According to Tata Consultancy Services, companies in the airline vertical saw the highest share of their customer service transactions conducted with mobile customers—half of all customer service transactions conducted in 2012 was with mobile customers. The share is expected to increase to 72.5% by 2015. Companies in the pharmaceutical vertical saw the lowest share of mobile customer service transactions at 11.3% of all customer service transactions, but this share is expected to increase to 24.8% by 2015. In addition, data from customer experience consulting company Fifth Quadrant shows between 2011 and 2012, smartphone apps and SMS saw increasing usage as customer service channels, and turning away from live agents, IVR, and web self-service channels.
What does this mean for mobile marketers and advertisers? A little less than half of businesses worldwide do not and will not offer customer service support through the mobile channel (perhaps because mobile customer support is not a relevant customer service channel for their target clientele, or perhaps these businesses don’t see the value of mobile as a customer support channel). Nonetheless, businesses should consider utilizing mobile as a cost-effective customer support channel as consumers are increasingly turning to their mobile devices to initiate customer service transactions.
Based on the charts above, below are some key highlights and takeaways I think are important for mobile marketers & advertisers to consider.
- More than 55% of businesses surveyed worldwide will offer customer service support via mobile in the future.
- Half of customer service transactions conducted by airlines are with mobile customers.
- Almost three quarters of customer service transactions completed by airlines will be with mobile customers in 2015.
- Across almost all verticals (except for computer and “other”), the share of customer service transactions completed with mobile customers will increase by at least 10 percentage points.
- The portion of businesses’ customer service transactions conducted with mobile customers will increase over the next few years.
- Despite the above projection, a little less than half of all businesses will not offer customer service support via mobile devices.
- Businesses should consider mobile as a cost-effective customer support channel.