This article originally appeared in the DEC. 2012 issue of CUSTOMER Magazine.
The results of a benchmark study conducted by The Adcom Group for Virtual Hold Technology (News - Alert) are in. They shed light on mobile app use and the need to improve the ease of transition from self-service in mobile apps to live human help.
The study investigates how customers engage with brands using smartphones, providing insights into customer relationship management in the smartphone age. Specifically focusing on financial mobile app usage, the study takes a close look at how people perform a variety of finance and banking tasks in real time, the problems they encounter completing those tasks, and the behavior that results.
Though financial apps are among the most popular smartphone apps used today – more than 50 percent of smartphone users say they have downloaded and used financial apps – 70 percent of them say they have been frustrated by app problems. More than 80 percent of financial app users say they want a solution that enables them to directly contact or request a callback from customer service from within the app, without having to dial a toll-free number, repeat account information, or wait on hold.
The study revealed that checking account balances and viewing transaction histories are the most common tasks financial app users perform, but that apps freezing and dropped Internet connections that prevent users from task completion are common frustrations. Additional annoyances identified by 40 percent of those surveyed include problems opening and logging into the app along with difficulty in the initial setup. Missing pending or historical transactional data was also noted by 25 percent of respondents. When these problems cannot be quickly and easily resolved, customers experience increasing frustration that results in negative consequences for the brand.
“Customers today clearly want to help themselves when they can,” says Rob Brazier, VHT’s director of product management. “Widespread use of the financial mobile app is just one example of customers using technology to contact companies to complete tasks and achieve goals. This research shows that when self-help leads to a dead-end, a solution that allows customers to get human help quickly is vitally important to the customer relationship.”
After experiencing a dead-end, financial app users rated the brand they had interacted with an average of two points lower on a scale of one to 10. Thirty-eight percent said they would use the app less often, 28 percent said they would complain about the brand or the app on Facebook (News - Alert) and 18.5 percent said they would complain on Twitter.
With so much investment taking place in mobile app development, that’s a lot at stake. Brazier also said, “Customers with the world at their fingertips expect live human help to be at their fingertips as well, but getting through to a real person who knows who you are and exactly how to help remains quite a challenge.”
Eric Camulli is vice president of marketing at Virtual Hold Technology (www.virtualhold.com).
Edited by Brooke Neuman