Mobility solutions are now commonplace in the enterprise. They’re being used for everything from driving productivity and enabling remote employees to streamlining processes. But mobile has the potential to be much more than that. Damian Duffy, Head of Mobility at eir Business looks at how enterprises can take mobility to the next level and use it to enhance their customer’s experience.
Mobile is where your customers are now. In fact, Irish consumers are the biggest phone internet users in the western world; 33% of all web access comes from a smartphone according to Statcounter. As an enterprise, you need to be where your customers are, engaging with them and providing them with convenient solutions that fit in with their on-the-go lifestyle.
Certainly this isn’t a new phenomenon. We’re already seeing excellent examples of enterprises using mobile to transform their business. Look at Nightline for example. The courier company is using mobile to improve its relationship with its customers. It equipped all its drivers with tablet devices. The drivers use the devices to provide real-time information on the status of a delivery. The customer can, at any time, check where their package is and what the expected delivery time is. This relatively simple solution has brought the company’s customer service to the next level and dramatically improved the customer experience.
Extend internal solutions out to the customer
But it doesn’t have to be all about creating new mobile solutions. The potential is there for enterprises to bring existing mobile solutions front and centre. Mobile workforce management programs in daily use up and down the country by mobile workers who use them to clock in and clock out. But why stop there? This technology can be adapted as an outbound service to the customer. Take the homecare sector as an example; workers can clock in and clock out via a mobile device when visiting a patient in their home. This action will trigger a text message that notifies a family member they are making their visit, and also when they have left the house. The mobile element is what makes this work and makes it so effective. The end user, in this case the family member, is updated in real-time that the home care specialist has completed their visit.
The humble text message is also being used effectively by dental or medical practices to streamline appointment scheduling and queue management. But we can bring this even further. As cars become more computerised and connected, they can be programmed to notify the manufacturer or dealer when they reach a certain mileage. The manufacturer or dealer can in turn notify the consumer by text message that their car is due for a service. This form of preventative maintenance drives up productivity for car servicing companies who can more accurately predict demand peaks and troughs and direct manpower to more busy times. And as technology gets even smarter with machines speaking to machines, we can reach a scenario where specific car parts will know when they are coming close to end of life and will trigger alerts to notify users they need to be replaced.
Mobile and machines connecting for a streamlined future
The Internet of Things is happening right now. But wrapping that technology with mobile is what makes this a truly killer advancement. Entire processes can be automated. Let’s look at an imaginary situation where a coffee machine at a busy service station machine knows when there is a problem with a part. It sets off an alarm that notifies the manufacturer or provider that the part needs to be fixed or replaced. The manufacturer uses its workforce management system to check its engineers’ status. Is there an engineer close to the customer with the relevant part and skill set to make the repair? What’s their schedule like? All of this happens in seconds.
The next step is an automated text message to the customer alerting them to the faulty part while also scheduling the engineer visit. This is followed up with a second text message when the engineer is on the way to ensure the customer is available. From the initial alert from the machine, this entire process can happen in minutes, and potentially without the customer even realising there’s a problem at all.
The combination of mobile and the Internet of Things is exciting and brings with it limitless possibilities. For enterprises, it presents the exciting opportunity to get even closer to your customers and to drive home customer loyalty. If you can tell your customers there’s a problem and have the solution before they even know the problem exists you’re 10 steps ahead of the game. That’s the wonderful potential of mobile.