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Is calling customer service on your mobile worth it?

Tony Couch tells us how to make customer service an enjoyable experience for customers on their mobile phones.

The majority of mobile customers fear incurring costs of upwards 40ppm when faced with calling an 0800, 0808, 0870, 0845 or 03 number, and most cannot differentiate between these non-geographic business numbers. Think about your customer service from a mobile perspective:

  • 38% of consumers have delayed calling a bank or utility company from a mobile, preferring to wait until they could use a landline.
  • 49% have not been able to get through to a company during opening hours.
  • 66% of mobile phone users think business numbers are just a way for companies to raise extra money.

Businesses accept that mobile is now the primary touch point and a bad mobile experience will cause long term damage to brand perception, resulting in them investing heavily in improving the mobile experience for customers. They have created apps and invested in responsive design to reflect the fact that not all mobile customers are the same.

It’s a surprise, therefore, that these same organisations have failed to update their customer services strategies to reflect not only the growth in mobile use but also the diversity of mobile users. Many still offer customers a ‘freephone’ 0800 number to call when these numbers are anything but free from a mobile at the moment. So why are companies providing an amazing online experience for the mobile customer yet failing to provide a suitable customer services alternative?

By the simple act of dialing a voice short code before the non-geographic number e.g. 84800, consumers can cut the cost of one of these calls to no more than 10ppm, saving up to 70% per call. Organisations that advise customers to dial the voice short code before the existing freephone number can address issues of cost, transparency and trust in one stroke.

According to Ofcom, it is often the banks, utilities and retailers promoting their customer service numbers that are bearing the brunt of consumer distrust. It is the brands that are losing out – from the missed impulse purchase rethought during the hours before the customer can get to a landline, to the potential spike in fraudulent activity conducted simply because an individual didn’t want to incur even more cost alerting the bank via their mobile, the fall out of mobile mistrust is significant.

Clearly, by adopting 01, 02 or 03 numbers some companies are attempting to alleviate the cost burden associated with calling from mobiles – but not all mobile customers are the same and it is essential to put in a place a strategy that supports both contracts and pay as you go customers.

From promoting a voice short code on their website, bills and promotional literature to including it on advertising material, companies can change customer experience and perception. Suddenly the quality and cost of the mobile telephony experience support rather than detracts from the mobile commerce experience. It is joined up, effective and, importantly, simple.

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