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CaptureAnyone who knows me knows that I consider customer service the most important part of the consumer experience.  Sure the product needs to work and pricing should be good, but the thing that will win, or lose, my repeat business is a company’s customer service.  I was trained as a member of Disneyland’s Guest Relations.  I know what gold star service looks like and I expect to receive it.  Given the way I now shop this has become an issue for me, and I would assume, for many others.

I was an early adopter when it came to doing transactions via the internet.  When using my phone became an option it took me no time at all to download a number of apps where I could deposit a check, place an order for pizza to be delivered (light sauce, light cheese, pepperoni and pineapple), or purchase a giant bag of dog food, all from the safety and comfort of my sofa!  I just ordered toilet paper from an app just minutes ago.  Why should I do something crazy like get in my car and drive 3 blocks to the store when I can hit “add to cart” from an app on my phone while watching the premier of Madam Secretary?  It’s like I’m a member of the Jetsons.

It is all so wonderful, easy, and a time saver … until you have a problem.  A few weeks back I ordered a product from one of those retail apps, it doesn’t matter which one.  I was very excited, until the item arrived and didn’t work.  I honestly didn’t think this was going to be a problem.  It was so easy to order through the app on my phone it was obviously going to be just as easy to report the problem and get a replacement.  I hopped on my phone only to find there was no way to report my issue.  Worse still, there wasn’t even a phone number to call or an email address to write to.  There was nothing.  In shock I was forced to ditch my phone, my lifeline, and get on a computer.  I found the company’s website and was finally able to email through that.  Eventually I got the help I needed but it was not easy and I swore never to purchase from that company, and through their app, again.  This company had failed completely to fully leverage connecting with their client, me, through their mobile app.  This, based on the fact that I used it in the first place, would obviously be my preference.  Multiply me by every single person who has downloaded and used that app.  This isn’t just a missed opportunity to connect.  It doesn’t take much imagination to see how this translates into lost revenue.

A handful of companies have started to take advantage of this new avenue for customer service.  Amazon introduced the Mayday button and we have all seen the commercials for Kindle Fire where a live chat button is pressed and an entire living room of people see the live human (gasp) customer service agent smiling and ready to help.  I’m confident these solutions will prove to be successful for Amazon, but looking at the apps that I use it’s clear that there is not a one size fits all solution.  I realize that a successful business plan would not or could not include instant help to a live customer service rep 24/7 for every single company.  What is the solution?

logoLast week I had a discussion with Debjani Deb, CEO of ZineOne.  Debjani and the ZineOne team have thought a lot about this question and how to help companies integrate a higher level of customer connection and service into their apps.  ZineOne recently launched a product that can help any transaction based app take advantage of multiple levels of service in order to enrich their client experience and in doing so grow their client satisfaction scores and increase customer loyalty.  All of this results in higher market share and increased revenue.  ZineOne’s product takes a company through every step needed to effectively and efficiently handle client’s customer service needs.  Starting with analyzing data and identifying where help is required, to putting that help into action.  ZineOne doesn’t just help identify the issue it solves the problem.

At the basic level ZineOne will bring a company the data it requires to put together an app based service plan.  A user is tracked from app download through all usage points.  In analyzing this data it becomes clear where, within an app, customers are getting lost and/or having difficulty.  It also helps show app developers if the customers are being driven through the app as planned/expected.  Proactively identifying where usage problems may be and solving those will help increase user satisfaction.  Of course it also helps a retailer understand how someone is shopping in their virtual store and how to take advantage of that real estate to help increase sales (think the impulse buys that are done at check out of a brick and mortar store … like Trader Joes … and those delicious chocolate covered almonds that call to me even though I swore I only came in for a bag of apples).

Now that “sticky” points have been identified ZineOne will allow a company to put dynamic rules into place that help users navigate more effectively (and therefore with a bigger smile).  These rules can be changed and tweaked as needed.  As data comes in, a company can update their “rules.”  If the increased use of apps has taught us anything it’s that this new world of client access is not stagnant.  It’s always changing and often changing quickly.  A company doesn’t want to be locked into something only to find out a month later that customers concerns and needs have changed.  The ability to easily remain dynamic is key.

Finally, ZineOne can help identify who should get what message and how.  For example, my $25 worth of dog treats may not require a human to contact me to help explain shipping options.  Perhaps offering me a chat option would make more sense or even have me, the customer, answer a couple of questions so the shipping “FAQ” is fed to me vs. me having to go find it in a list of 20 other FAQs.  Have you ever tried to find the answer you need on a long list of FAQs on an iPhone screen?  It isn’t a great experience … believe me!  On the other hand, if I’m having difficulty because my $5,000 check I just deposited via my bank’s app isn’t showing up in my savings balance then perhaps I should have the option to push a button and have someone call me to help me out (I suppose $5,000 isn’t a lot of money to my bank considering they are a huge national bank.  It is too me though.  That’s what matters!).

Of course there is a technical aspect where the ZineOne SDK is downloaded and integrated into the app.  That all sounds like an alien language to me but I’m told any developer would understand it and easily be able to make it happen.

ZineOne allows companies to take their customer service to the next level.  It is the invisible bridge between a consumer sitting on her sofa with her iPhone and the customer service folks; even if those customer service folks aren’t actually there. ZineOne puts the customer service the user needs at their fingertips.

For more information about ZineOne and how they are able to do what they do, head over to their website – www.zineone.com.