INFOTECH: Business Through Your Cellphone the Way Forward
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clearly presents a great channel for companies who want to connect
directly with their customers, as the reach of the mobile platform is
incomparable when one looks at the data: 90% of the adult population
have a mobile phone and 100% of households have access to a mobile
phone. So the question is, what are companies doing in order to capitalise on the mobile opportunities that are out there?
Amidst the negative news that has appeared in the newspaper pages recently about how SMS spam is getting out of control, it is refreshing to learn that the second phase of mobile services is coming of age as the recession is forcing businesses to look for cost efficiencies across all areas of the business. This second phase of adoption of mobile services is largely being driven by the low cost nature of the mobile channel, budget constraints, the digital tracking and referencing nature of mobile, mobile’s reach, and new ease of use approach to using mobile. The important differentiators in this second phase of mobile is that companies are now respecting consumer privacy, getting opt-in and encouraging the consumer to use this channel.
Chris Rolfe, CEO of Mobilitrix, notes that “the enormous potential of the digital mobile platform is only now being considered as a viable channel beyond just the marketing needs of a company. This is mainly being driven by cost necessities given the recession and new innovative thinking and it is refreshing to see.” The keyword in today’s thinking is simplicity and getting the customer to use the channel in their own language preference, in their own time.
Claude Jonas, MD of Baruch, which operates call centres in Cape Town adds that “if your target customer does not maintain a reliable postal address or PO box-- as is the case with a large portion of the South African market-- mobile gives us a cost effective and easy way to communicate and deliver business information directly to the consumer. It also assists in the selling process as we can send images, video or a real time surveys to someone which assists in the sales process. Mobile solutions are changing the way we run our business”.
Where consumers do have a multimedia phone and are happy to use it, the world opens up and gives business the ability to offer self help videos as needed by the consumer. These areas of “knowledge transfer” to the consumer is having a direct impact on call centre volumes and allows for the consumer to self help and solve problems more time-effectively.
Andrew Cardoza, CTO Mobilitrix, notes with some surprise “how quickly companies are finding intelligent applications for the suite of mobile products we have developed”. Cardoza further adds that “our goals of hiding the complexity of mobile, making all products available via an easy-to-use website with simple billing and cost effective pricing is a great formula for growing our business in these tough economic times”. Mobilitrix is also able to offer the mobile platform in any market globally and therefore companies who operate in different geographical markets are able to manage their mobile channel via the internet. This access is further enhanced by different account settings, so that employees in different departments or different business units can log in and manage their own mobile needs.
The world of mobile services is moving quickly as companies begin to understand the value of this “accessible digital” platform. Accepting consumer privacy and the private nature of the mobile phone is an important step as consumers are being encouraged to use their phone in different ways to perform useful business transactions – benefitting not only themselves, but also the business they are connecting with.
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