BURLINGTON, Mass. - January 31, 2012 — Nuance Communications today released survey results that shed the light on the consumer usage of mobile apps and their impact on companies’ customer service strategies.
Mobile apps are an increasingly important channel for customer service. When you consider the forecast that nearly 2 billion people will have smartphones by 2017, coupled with the fact that consumers spend nearly 10 percent more time using mobile apps than they spend on the Internet, it is clear why there is significant opportunity, if not a strategic imperative, for companies to leverage the mobile channel for customer service.
The Brand Impact of Mobile Apps on Company Perception and Customer Satisfaction
The survey found that the benefits of companies providing a mobile app for customer service uses are two-fold: company perception and customer satisfaction. The majority of smartphone users surveyed (72 percent) said that they have a more positive view of a company if they have a mobile app. And they won’t keep it to themselves. Eighty-one percent will tell others about a positive app experience. Weighing in on how mobile apps would increase their levels of customer satisfaction, 35 percent said that effortless transition to a live agent from a mobile app is the feature most likely to drive mobile app usage, while 48 percent want more: offer more functionality (21 percent) or find other ways to ‘better meet my needs’.
Mobile App Downloads Continue Upward Growth
According to the survey, 89 percent of smartphone users download at least one new mobile app per month, signaling that consumers are willing to download and try new apps. Seventy percent of consumers surveyed said they have more than 10 apps on their phones, while 29 percent have more than 30 apps on their phone, and another 12 percent have more than 50.
While the download number continues on an upward pattern, a recent study from Flurry found that mobile apps are quickly abandoned: after just three months, only 24 percent of consumers continue to use an app they have downloaded, and after 12 months’ time the majority of apps (96 percent) are no longer used.
“Companies hoping to engage with their customers through mobile apps must not only consider how they attract first-time users, they must also consider retention strategies and how they keep consumers returning regularly to this critical channel,” said Robert Gary, vice president and general manager, mobile care of Nuance Communications.
Companies Have Opportunity to Leverage Mobile Apps for Customer Service
While consumers continue to initiate their communications with customer service primarily through traditional channels, such as the phone and Web, mobile apps are becoming an increasingly important customer engagement channel. The uptake varies by vertical, more than half of smartphone users have downloaded their bank and their carrier’s app, with 45 percent of users stating “it’s simply more convenient” – but just because they have downloaded the app, doesn’t mean they use it.
Keith Dawson, Ovum analyst and author of the 2012 Trends to Watch: Contact Centers Report, adds: “Consumer expectations for seamless self-service are shifting. What once was considered a nice-to-have is now a must-have. Consumers expect the ability to easily move from their mobile device to other channels. Companies that can successfully deliver this multi-channel experience will be able to differentiate themselves from the competition, and more importantly better serve their customers.”
Gary continued, “While mobile apps are playing an increasingly important role in customer service, the survey results underscore the opportunity for companies to differentiate by delivering an integrated, highly personalized cross-channel customer experience. Today’s consumers look for convenience and they are shifting their spending to Companies that keep them better informed and are easier to do business with. Providing a powerful mobile experience is central to building customer loyalty.”
The survey, conducted by Vocalabs, included a random sample of 991 smartphone users in the United States and Canada, to get a better understanding of their mobile app usage and appetite for customer self-service through their mobile device.
Nuance Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN) is a leading provider of voice and language solutions for businesses and consumers around the world. Its technologies, applications and services make the user experience more compelling by transforming the way people interact with devices and systems. Every day, millions of users and thousands of businesses experience Nuance’s proven applications. For more information, please visit www.nuance.com.
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