The Mobile Internet: Changing the Way We Work – Part 3
Posted on 22nd November 2016
Welcome to the Business Empathy Forum and thank you for your visit. I would like to continue exploring practical changes that information and communications technology (ICT) is bringing into businesses and other organizations around the world. The spread of the mobile Internet continues to reduce costs and make knowledge more accessible. To understand this phenomenon we turn now to several more business developments clearly enabled by recent advances in mobile communications and technology.
Practical Consequences of ICT, Part 3: Speed, CRM, and Service
Speed and Access
Customer service is a key battleground for many businesses, and advances in ICT continue to create space for improvement and competitive advantage for those firms that are willing and able to leverage the latest tools effectively. At the basic level of availability and opening hours, ICT technology and the mobile Internet allow online businesses to be open for business twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week, with increasing ease of access thanks to speedier broadband service. This typically reduces response times with customers and suppliers and has allowed many companies to move from a product-focused orientation with customers to a more flexible, responsive approach.
More Sophisticated CRM
We know that websites, electronic mail, and automated telephone systems have been around for some time, and recent improvements in customer relationship management (CRM) software allow for a more unified communications process with customers as well as more targeted data gathering. The benefits of more sophisticated data gathering from customers, potential customers, and suppliers are often manifested in areas such as data management and analytics and relatively new specializations such as insight-driven marketing and social media marketing. The more detailed and timely information gathering enabled by ICT can sharpen market research, help in the definition of new markets, aid in discovering market trends, and support businesses as they seek to customize and personalize their offerings.
Expanding Service Options
Self-service optimization is another approach to improving the customer’s end-user experience, and on-going advances in ICT – particularly the popularity of smart phones and the easy availability of ‘apps’ – can be leveraged to ensure ease of use on self-service sites, offer a consistent level of service across various communication channels, and facilitate convenient search.
A question remains as to whether technology-driven CRM or CX has crossed a line of humanism with regard to the needs of the people it reaches. This is a question that I am often asked to explore with clients who are concerned that their enterprises have tilted too far toward ‘tech’ at the expense of human ‘touch’. But that is a conversation for another day.
In my next post I will explore a particularly important benefit of progress in ICT: cost reduction.
Good luck, and until next time…