When owners of small and medium-sized businesses come back to the office after a meeting or other appointment, the last thing they’re going to want to see is a pile of messages waiting on their desk about customer service issues.

In large organizations with fully-staffed call centres, of course, it’s easier for CEOs or senior managers to leave customer service problems to specific teams and only have them report in on high-level trends. Running an SMB, on the other hand, often means diving in directly to put out fires, particularly when they involve some of your most long-standing and valuable customers.

This is where the rise of mobile computing dovetails perfectly with the needs of a modern SMB owner. Here’s why more organizations will soon be using mobile apps as part of their customer service strategy, and what it will mean for their day-to-day operations.

Why The Time For Managing Customer Service Via Mobile App Has Come

According to a survey conducted by Clutch, a Washington, DC-based research firm, only 15 per cent of small businesses have a mobile app today, and 40 per cent are hesitant to make their own due to uncertainty about the return on such investments. Unless they are in the tech sector or have access to developers, it may not feasible to keep apps up-to-date. In fact, the Clutch survey showed that 33 per cent of apps for small businesses were built in 2014. And these were most likely customer-facing mobile apps, rather than apps SMB owners and teams would use themselves.

This is not unlike the early days of web sites, when SMBs didn’t have the resources or know-how to create their own portals. Now there are inexpensive and easy-to-use templates to handle much of the design work, and hosting providers who can take care of the major technical details. For example, Salesforce Platform is a one-stop shop for building, running, managing, and optimizing apps using the same technology and expertise that fuels Salesforce’s success. Salesforce Platform has everything a business needs to build beautiful, engaging apps that transform the customer experience. Managing customer service issues is a perfect test case for this.

A Typical Customer Service Management-On-The-Go Scenario

Many customers already offer email addresses in addition to phone numbers for customer support issues today, but that’s just a starting point. This is just one example of a timeline that an SMB owner could expect once they get up and running with a customer service management app that provides many other options:

9:00 am: Check one -- and only one “universal inbox” to see what customer service issues have come in via email, phone, social media such as Twitter or Facebook, or chat sessions. Look for what’s unresolved and act or delegate accordingly.

11:00 am: In between meetings, look for trends around what channels your customers are primarily using to reach out for support. Consider how you’ll reallocate marketing and other resources to ensure you have FAQs and similar materials easily available to provide self-service options for customers wherever possible.

1:00 pm: Use the reporting tools in your mobile app to identify the members on your team who seem more proficient in resolving particular inquiries and make sure the most serious issues get routed to them if you’re not able to handle them yourself.

3:00 pm: As business hours start to run out, encourage the use pre-written responses or macros to speed up the resolution of repetitive customer support issues and make sure the team is tying into your CRM to sort cases in a way that priorities your biggest spenders.

5:00 pm: Review the day and look for trends and patterns in your customer support data. What can be tweaked in your sales process, marketing process, or even the design or your products and services to minimize customer service issues before they come up again?

The Real Way To Think About Customer Service Management App ROI

If this sounds like a lot of time to be spending on customer service, consider a few important factors:

  1. Customer service management via a mobile app is about getting the work done while developing a longer-term strategy. It takes SMB owners out of the weeds in order to look at over-arching problems they can resolve over time.
  2. The steps above could be simple, quick check-ins on your smartphone or tablet compared with lengthy phone calls or meetings. You’ll be accomplishing other things as you’re moving around the office, outside the office or commuting.
  3. The more you manage customer support via a mobile app, the better you’ll be able to identify other tasks and processes that could be optimized for environments other than a cubicle or office.

Ready for more customer service insights? Check out Salesforce’s free e-book:

Free ebook. 5 ways to make servicee easy for today's customer. Download now.