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Companies that are able to provide convenient, localized support better empower their customer service teams to provide higher-quality care. That’s because localized support lets customers speak directly with the people who are able to more directly address their issues. This is instead of agents sitting in a call center that are limited by what they can do on their screens.

Take pizza delivery, for example.

Customers order pizza from the nearest franchise location, and speak directly with that location’s support staff to address their needs. If they didn’t get the extra pepperoni they ordered, the local manager can take care of it and the pizza shop will feel the full weight of responsibility for the order, and the customer, in the process. The way they treat their customers has a real and immediate impact on their business.

Imposing that feeling of responsibility is so important, because that accountability promotes not just better reactive support, but a better overall customer experience from the get go.

The Second Piece of the Pie

Using this localized philosophy is one half of the pie for optimal support, but then there’s the technical side to consider. The highest echelon of support staff means nothing if it’s not an easy process to contact them. That’s why the means is so important, and today the means must be ‘mobile-first’.

Research suggests that 92 percent of Americans consider smartphones to be their primary device. And pizza delivery services win again, as many have already adopted this ‘mobile-first’ mentality. That means they are effectively using mobile applications to serve their customers.

The Domino’s mobile app is awesome. It’s fully customizable and let’s you “track” your pizza, keeping customers fully engaged throughout the process.

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Other fast-food restaurants are starting to catch on too. McDonald’s recently announced a new mobile app for ordering ahead and curbside pickup. Other chains like Starbucks, Chipotle, and Chick-Fil-A also use mobile apps for customer orders, payments, and rewards.

These companies recognize that their most loyal (and lucrative) customers want accessibility via a mobile app because of the ease-of-use and convenience, and will become further invested in the company’s products as a result. It just makes sense that those same companies should use these apps for customer support as well, to create a seamless, fully native experience for the user.

In-App + Localized Support = Recipe for Success

The dream is that all of these individual businesses will have mobile in-app support in addition to incorporating a localized support philosophy. The message that customers send via the Chick-Fil-A app would actually be read by someone who is at the same location that is processing the order, and that individual could quickly respond to and resolve any issue. Any on-site employee monitoring incoming issues would be equipped to resolve them.

This level of efficiency and customer satisfaction would create a utopian customer experience.

Messaging Makes this Accessible for All

The localized support model logistically can’t work for all B2C businesses, or at least not yet. In the interim, there is a way to ensure that support has that personal, instant feel without the actual resources or infrastructure required.

In-app messaging is the solution. By communicating directly within the app, the authenticated users’ information and context is available and ready to use. There is no need to waste time asking for names and contact information. And as a customer, there will just be one message thread so that the issue only needs to be explained once, and the whole experience will feel very conversational.

It won’t feel like a long wait either, and that’s crucial. Even if the reply doesn’t come instantly, being able to fire off a message and receive a notification when there is a response allows the problem to fade into the background, literally and figuratively, as opposed to having to actively wait for an agent.

The trick is to have a support experience that “feels” like a real-time conversation with a friend who works at a family-owned pizza parlor. The more conversational and natural it feels, the better the user experience.

And unless it’s feasible for the business to be perfectly staffed and keep everything local at the same time, in-app mobile messaging is more than a workaround: it’s the end all be all.

Published April 25, 2017
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