customer-self-service

People concerned about automation killing jobs might look at Helpshift’s strategy and similar automation approaches. By enabling businesses to build help or support into mobile apps, these new models are re-inventing support to get the job done.

Sure, they provide automated support in lieu of conventional agents, but they do so at a level where it often can be uneconomic to position live agents. The help these apps provide, which can be extensive, still means less attention than speaking with a live person. Here’s the thing, though — sometimes all customers want is a quick answer, not a drawn-out service “experience.”

The “just the facts, ma’am” approach to service crystallized back in 2010 in a Harvard Business Review article, “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers.” In it we discovered that people living busy lives often desire a slimmed-down approach. So the science combines with new technology to provide app-level support for mobile apps, and no jobs are harmed in the process — at least not directly.

Now, a company-sponsored research effort reveals how this new approach to service works.

Who’s Hiding the Intuition?

Almost half (45 percent) of consumers surveyed said they would be interested in trying mobile apps that offered live customer support.

That’s important, because it suggests a need that’s not being met at the moment. Too often, the tendency with mobile apps is to assume they’re intuitive because, hey, they’re on a mobile device, right?

Well, um, the app might be intuitive — and the developer may have worked hard to make it so — but that doesn’t mean the underlying business process that the app supports is intuitive. Business processes have a way of making the most obvious things murky, and that can be true especially with large bureaucratic organizations like airlines.

As it happens, airlines are a great candidate for inline online help.

Back to the survey. Seventy percent of people said they wanted to use in-app support in airline apps, and 47 percent cited convenience as the primary driver.

It…