From an IT and communications perspective, there is a huge industry emerging around the app and a massive opportunity for resellers to educate their customers on the importance of getting it right. While many consumer-focused apps are designed with today's spur of the moment, throwaway society in mind - where consumers can quickly download it, use it and then move on to the next big thing within a few days - a badly designed, malfunctioning app for business could make the difference between a happy customer and one that will knock on a competitor's door.
The appeal of the app is clear. It lies in the fact that customers no longer have to choose their method of contact - they can simply click on the app and the channels are presented to them via one interface. A phone is no longer just a route to a voice conversation - it's the mobile gateway to data, a video call, e-mail, text and picture downloads, even GPS. But it's nothing if it's not seamless and not consistent. That's where the channel comes in. The opportunity for the channel is to ensure that their customers' apps are truly integrated with the rest of the company's existing communications and back office infrastructure in order to deliver on the app's promise and improve customer service.
Resellers keen to maximise the opportunities available through this application trend should consider working with customers to ensure their chosen apps are integrated into their customer service centre. Making sure customers have a network that can cope with the influx of data that may occur, that they have the technology in place to locate experts or initiate video calls and that they have a strategy in place to store, and easily retrieve, a customer's contextual history are all skills which will effectively eliminate complexity and make sure that the app really is a seamless and convenient way for customers to engage with businesses - and visa versa.
Just as importantly, even if you are not the provider of the initial front end software, these steps can prove a lucrative first step to an ongoing dialogue with customers around managing new forms of data from apps to social media and who-knows-what next? With their skills, technical know-how and in-depth vertical expertise, our partners are well placed to consult customers on how they can make their app successful for the specific customers they're targeting as well as educating them on the importance of ensuring the app is genuinely a one-stop-shop for customer service.
Forward-thinking resellers should be working hard to ensure their customers across all industries are making the most of the opportunity that apps provide as a lucrative and cost-effective way of reaching and satisfying a large number of customers. We are living in an app-driven world and the technologies available to consumers will only become more sophisticated. Smart resellers are already realising the potential of this industry and are engaging clients to ensure they are meeting the needs of tomorrow's customer.
Chong-Win Lee is Director, Contact Center Solutions, Avaya Asia Pacific.
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