Positioning Paper: How eesyQ Mobile Service Platforms Deliver Stellar Customer Experience
What role does customer experience play in the “about me” consumer-led economy?
Customer experience and satisfaction is becoming the benchmark of success in a digital economy and the adept business. Consumers accustomed to buying products from their smartphones and doing personal banking using a few clicks, are not prepared to tolerate clunky communications or opaque processes in the workplace. They want to transact with business suppliers and colleagues using mobile, easy-to-use tools, personalized to their role and sector.
Smart business recognise that they must up their game to retain customers and employees, and that doing so brings efficiencies. According to Gartner, customer experience (CX) is the new marketing battlefront. More than two-thirds of marketers responsible say their companies compete mostly on the basis of CX, according to the 2017 Gartner Customer Experience in Marketing Survey. The same Gartner survey reports that in two years’ time, 81% say they expect to be competing mostly or completely on the basis of CX.**
EesyQ is acutely aware of contemporary pressures bearing down on businesses, which can no longer compete on price alone. In the hyper-connected digital economy, disruption can come from a competitor at any time and new value–led services have to be continually reiterated. With this in mind, eesyQ has devised a simple and affordable means of communicating with supply chains, using smartphone, barcodes and an app. Automating workflow in a smart way not only increases staff productivity and job satisfaction, it frees up precious time to innovate customer experience.
A review of the market corroborates the new market imperatives: Forrester analyst group reports that for 72% of businesses, improving the customer experience is their top priority. Customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by the year 2020, according to customer experience specialists, Walker, in
Customers 2020: A Progress Report. Bain & Co research has quantified CX and correlated excellent CX with a trend of growing revenues 4-8% above the market norm.*
Customer service and experience is not just a nice-to-have aspiration: statistics for the negative consequences of poor customer experience are a powerful incentive for organisations to innovate.
- 52% of consumers will switch brand if a company doesn’t personalize communications to them (salesforce.com)
- 68% of consumers (18-34 year olds) have higher expectations of service than they had just 1 year ago (Microsoft: 2016 State of Global Customer Service Report)
- 70% of consumers say technology has made it easier than ever to take their business elsewhere. (Salesforce.com. 2016 Connected Customer)
What role can mobile service platforms play in customer experience?
The beauty of enabling employees, customers and suppliers to digitally interact in the workplace the same way they do in their domestic lives is that you instantly remove administrative chores and free up their time. Providing the means to interact with an existing process and perform routine tasks from a smartphone liberates swathes of personnel from convoluted procedures designed around outdated technology.
On a basic level, an office printer may break down and the employees have to discover how to report and deal with this exceptional event. It’s an irritation that disrupts more important work. Having a mobile service platform in place, that lets the employee connect digitally and directly to the company’s authorised repair service, however, can be accomplished in a couple of clicks.
Because service platforms can be layered over existing technical infrastructures, using mobile phones, apps and quick response (QR) bar codes, they can easily bridge the boundaries and silos that exist within most organisations. A mobile collaboration platform links any kind of physical asset to any kind of process in an optimal and accessible way, instead of processes being configured around technical or departmental constraints.
How does eesyQ expedite superior customer and employee experience?
EesyQ uses ubiquitous and affordable digital tools to improve and personalize customer and employee experience within business interactions. This capability is absolutely critical in the services arena where suppliers live or die by their customer ratings. Increasingly, smart, easy-to-use ways of navigating workflows are also transforming numerous sectors, including hospitals and leisure centres, making workers, medics and professionals alike more productive and contented.
We simplify clunky or laborious workflows between supplier and customer or end user by letting them interact over a mobile service platform, consisting of a recognition system such as a QR code or radio-frequency identification (RFID), used together with an app and accessed by a smartphone. The user points their mobile – loaded with the relevant app – at a QR code attached to a printer, piece of machinery or any other physical asset. The App recognises the device with the QR code and invokes the relevant menu of choices and actions on the user’s phone.
In two common scenarios of broken printer and a machine awaiting inspection, the smartphone is respectively a supplier of a repair ticket to a helpdesk and a purveyor of compliance guidelines. But eesyQ makes such routine workflow across all industries tasks accessible from the smart phone, enabling a transaction to be completed in just two clicks. The solution simply, easily and affordably addresses the following pain points:
- 52% of respondents to an Accenture survey switched providers because they were dissatisfied with business providers’ customer service. [Digital Disconnect in Customer Engagement]
- Phone & email represent only the tip of iceberg in service interactions, with more customers choosing digital channels: Mobile-apps experienced a 196% YoY growth in 2015-2016. [Salesforce.com 2016 Connected Customer report]
- 56% of consumers have used their mobile device to research products at home with 38% having used their mobile device to check inventory availability while on their way to a store and 34% who have used their mobile device to research products while in a store. [Forrester]
How is the Internet of Things (IoT) creating new customer service opportunities?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is an umbrella term for instrumenting, sensing and controlling physical things by embedding computer chips in them. Operational technology, such as factory automation systems, telecom networks and medical machines, connects to these intelligent sensors and controls them, according to their state, or uses their data output to create better services.
There are numerous use cases for IoT on the factory floor, in connected cars and in hospitals, and most sectors haven’t even conceived of potential applications yet. One of the greatest contributions of IoT is to improve customer satisfaction by selling products as a service, maintained throughout their lifecycle. Vendors are accordingly changing their business models and shifting from one-off sales to jet engines-as-a-service and agricultural machinery-as-a-service.
Global networking company Cisco predicts 500 billion connected “things” – sensors and devices that can be monitored and controlled remotely across network infrastructure – by 2030. These “things” are vastly improving the operations of companies and even cities in delivering services relating to physical infrastructure. In the field of energy, smart meters track user consumption and providers can suggest optimum packages for usage patterns.
- By 2025, the Internet of Things could generate over $11 trillion a year through smart customer relationship management and improvements in energy efficiency, public transit, operations management, and more. [McKinsey Global Institute 2015: The Internet of Things: Mapping the value behind the Hype]
- B2B spending on technologies apps and solutions will reach $267 billion by 2020 [Boston Consulting Group. Winning in IoT: It’s All About the Business Processes]
- The city of Barcelona estimates that IoT systems have helped save $58 million a year from connected water management and $37 million a year via smart street lighting alone. [Harvard University Data-Smart City Solutions Blog Post]
How do mobile service platforms extend the IoT?
The IoT is not a panacea because the expense and labour of implementing chips in all but business critical equipment is prohibitive, especially when these devices have to be regularly upgraded. eesyQ expands and supplements the IoT cheaply and easily by attaching a QR code to any physical asset in an organisation. In this instance, the smartphone is the means of connecting to the tagged object and transacting a service.
While cost remains an obstacle to pervasive implementation, it’s equally important to recognise that the IoT cannot solve every business problem. While a sensor in a printer may detect the toner is down to the last 10% and trigger the delivery of a new cartridge, it cannot detect erroneous lines on the page. Similarly, a sensor in a coffee machine may be able to detect when coffee beans or paper cups run low – but it cannot detect when coffee tastes bad!
In so many business and service transactions, subjective human evaluation is a must; providing the means for people to seamlessly intervene in processes and direct automation completes the whole. Whether it’s tasting the coffee and signalling a better flavour is needed or recording the quality of a journey in a connected car, eesyQ provides a means to plug human feedback into a Total Internet of Things (TIoT).
How does the augmented human improve customer and employee experience?
Solving organisational problems is rarely achieved by binary sensors and automation alone – it calls for interventions based on human judgment or opinion. Providing customers or staff with the means to communicate such information at their convenience is an invaluable way to raise service levels. The eesyQ service platform, consisting of smartphone, QR codes and apps is a simple and cheap way of plugging humans into the IoT.
Hotels typically only hear from customers who are very happy or unhappy, but rarely hear about the little niggles that, once solved, could improve their offer. EesyQ makes it easy for the hotel customer to flag up and remedy minor problems by scanning the QR code in their room from a downloaded app. From the customer service menu, a customer can then directly contact housekeeping and request fresh pillows, order room or another service that makes their stay more pleasant. On top of that it reduces queries to the front desk, which is generally busy interacting with customers.
Culturally, too, there is an acceptance of mediocrity in the workplace because people have focused on the main objective or the bigger task. Now the ubiquitous use of smartphones provides a standard way to communicate with a mobile service platform and fixes minor B2B problems that drain profits, sap morale and lower productivity. Augmenting employees and customers with phones and QR codes is an affordable fix and a way of plugging humans into the IoT.
How can eesyQ be customised for different service scenarios?
An appealing part of the eesyQ proposition is its universality: smartphones are ubiquitous and interacting through apps with business colleagues and partners a viable communication method for every generation. Happily, this universality doesn’t impose a one-size-fits-all model of decentralisation on every business, and business leaders can choose the privileges and actions they delegate to their employees.
In a procurement situation for example, providing employees with an app so they can order stationery by pointing their phone at a QR code and choosing options on their smartphone doesn’t give them a blank cheque. The order can be routed via a procurement manager for approval, or pre-existing agreements and management reports will flag up overspend. The normal checks and stops can be built into workflow in order to determine the optimal level of decentralisation for the organisation.
How can mobile service platforms grow business ecosystems?
The universality of the eesyQ mobile service platform affords other benefits aside from ease-of- use for all generations of workers. As well as breaking down internal silos within organisations, allowing transactions to be conducted simply and directly, eesyQ opens up communications with third parties and expands business ecosystems. These interactions are trusted and secure, and form a bedrock for strong supplier relationships in the ecosystem.
An ability to quickly respond to changing business environment or customer demand is a hallmark of the successful digital business and the eesyQ mobile service platform is a powerful means to achieve such agility: conveniently, the service is layered over existing systems, deploying apps, QR codes and other visual identifiers to smartphones.
EesyQ is easily rolled out across business ecosystems, simplifying service transactions across the supply chain. Typically, a service provider may use it to implement a universal ticketing system to do product repairs or fix problems. Users like it because it solves their problem quickly with that particular supplier, and they then realise the same solution can solve problems or improve services for their own customers.
Automating The Edge with eesyQ
“The Edge” is often the final frontier for digital access, automation and transformation. In telecoms, the last mile connecting the home to superfast fibre highways consisted of copper cable, which had to be digitalised before video and data could be streamed into the front room. In logistics, transportation, retail and many other industries, there are many rough edges that have not yet been automated or are subject to laborious workflow and processes.
However, these edges can quickly, cheaply and affordably be connected by enabling employees with smartphones to plug into relevant workflow. Connecting the edges of workforces to core systems and service workflows breaks down barriers, boosts productivity and creates a genuine end-to-end business. Reducing tedious chores is a non-trivial matter and creates greater harmony among employees and a more connected workforce.
Which sectors can benefit from mobile service platforms?
Any industry or organisation can benefit from simplifying transactions between customers, suppliers and staff, by linking physical assets to routine workflow and processes. EesyQ offers a simple, proven way of creating a service platform, fit for the modern workplace that can be accessed by a smart phone. Augmenting staff with smartphones and QR codes is an affordable way of plugging humans into the IoT as sensors of opinion and judgment, complementing the binary data from sensors.
EesyQ has assembled use cases ([below] of industry sectors that can benefit from a mobile service platform, but this method of linking physical assets to processes solves a host of business problems. Business units can collaborate easily across dispersed organisations, and any sector would welcome the removal time-consuming processes that are also prone to human error.
Health: Patient tracking, health and safety the eesyQ way
Humans are examples of physical assets that can be incorporated into an eesyQ mobile service platform and monitored and checked from a smartphone. A scenario where this could provide real benefit is a hospital: at present there is typically no automated process to support the admission of patient into A&E and track his or her progress through the various medical processes.
By giving patients a bracelet with a unique QR code, all health workers involved in their care and treatment could ensure correct processes and procedure are followed from a mobile phone. Procedures that entail a lot of paperwork, such as discharge, could be simplified, and occurrences of sepsis infection, for example, handled and logged in a compliant manner in order to mitigate threat of legal action.
Manufacturing: Compliance inspections
Manufacturing is a sector that involves expensive pieces of machinery and is regulated for health and safety purposes. EesyQ provides QR codes for individual pieces of kit, which record serial, model and unit numbers, all of which are important in the reporting process. Scanning the QR code from a smart phone invokes the relevant inspection routine and further prompts the inspector to photograph or video the equipment in action where needed. All of this is compiled into a digital file that is sent to the new owner.
EesyQ eliminates paperwork, and gives clarity and validation of compliance. An additional advantage is that by using digital location tracking techniques – of both the inspector’s phone and the QR code – eesyQ authenticates which machinery was inspected by whom – an invaluable capability for compliance purposes.
Leisure and hospitality: Iteratively improving CX
EesyQ is a cheap and unobtrusive way for leisure companies to maintain operational excellence. Smartphone-plus-app is a convenient way of enabling hotel visitors, gym members or other leisure users to report small problems without sapping their time and energy. An intermittent fault with a shower at a gym may go unreported until it is completely malfunctions and then becomes a major aggravation.
Offering a simple way of enabling customers to report minor problems, ultimately enhances their customer experience. It is also becoming an opportunity for hospitality provider to thank that customer to for helping maintain a high standard of customer service standards and operational excellence.
** Smarter with Gartner, Key Findings from the Gartner Customer Experience Survey, March 16, 2018
*Used with permission from Bain And Company
By Jan De Kesel, entrepreneur and managing director of eesyQ