Smartphones and mobile apps have become increasingly feature-rich and complex, and they often aren’t as intuitive as claimed. Many mobile users don’t even know how to use 5% of the features offered by their device and/or mobile apps.
In today’s smartphone and mobile app market, many mobile solution providers talk about the ease of use and a perceived intuitiveness of mobile devices and mobile applications. According to a former Apple interface designer, an illusion has been created in the mobile market of intuitiveness and ease of use despite this perception being arguably false.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of the products, services, and support existing in the marketplace do not have effective post-sale support. There is a distinct lack of effective educational content after the initial sale, leaving smartphone consumers to blindly stumble through the functionality of the devices, resulting in frustration, lost time, and dissatisfaction.
A LinkedIn Group recently referenced that Gartner predicts a “crisis in enterprise App support.” There is arguably a very widespread issue that has a real-world impact on consumers and enterprises.
Companies that offer mobile services and solutions are missing or perhaps ignoring a key fact: The smartphone is the only appliance people carry with them over 90% of the time; a device to which they have an emotional attachment. Many companies fail to make use of this emotional connection. This is a missed opportunity that impacts every aspect of your relationship with your customers.
The unsubsidized cost of a flagship smartphone is nearly $1000. Why is it acceptable for smartphone OEMs, app developers, wireless carriers, mobile solution providers, et cetera, to market the myriad of incredible capabilities of these powerful devices when their customers don’t even know how to use 5% of this functionality? The current post-sale support offerings from most companies are largely an afterthought, and certainly not the focal point of the product.
The self-help support content most common in the mobile market consists largely of PDF files with text directions and screenshots, videos of smartphone emulators using screen highlights with side text boxes to read, and someone holding a smartphone on screen while their finger obscures the process they’re trying to explain. Research has shown mobile users find these methods tedious, difficult to follow and incomplete. There are many reasons why mobile users are unwilling to or simply do not use these self-help methods. This distinct lack of support also sends a clear message that the product vendor, app developer, or manufacturer simply doesn’t care.
In an age of HD quality video bordering on the transition to ultra HD, consumers expect more than tedious attempts at self-help.
These methods are often difficult to understand and not engaging, so most smartphone users don’t utilize them. The result is poor adoption rates of mobile apps and mobile devices which results in a lower ROI than expected. Additionally, the user experience is poor, and overall operational support costs continue to be higher than they should be.
Mobile solution providers say their customers aren’t asking for anything else. This is arguably because mobile users have long since come to expect boring and ineffective pre-and post-sale support and education.
To solve this industry-wide problem, we conducted a review of mobile support calls, mobile user preferences, and user biases regarding the most common forms of self-help content. Much of the information received from various business enterprises indicated that these enterprises were disappointed in the self-help solutions that they had tried in the past, simply because the majority of their users won’t use them. This experience made these enterprises hesitant to try another self-help based solution.
After reviewing this research, My Mobile Genius developed a mobile messenger that promotes, informs, and educates with the goal of avoiding the pitfalls of traditional tutorial content. The next step was to bring this to a healthcare-solution provider who, due to previous poor experiences, was adamant about not considering any self-help solutions for their mobile users. After implementing this solution, they were taken aback by the level at which this new content is immediately engaging and effective for their users.
This self-help solution was introduced to an enterprise preparing to deploy a new mobile application to their field team. The enterprise had been searching for a more effective solution for their employees. They provided access to My Mobile Genius’s self-help content on employee tablets. When employees run into issues learning how to use the new field application, they have immediate access to this self-help content which reduces the learning curve and time investment required for the new application, as well as the instances of help-desk calls. This reduces the overall operational support cost. They were excited to have been introduced to this solution and were dismayed as to why none of their other solution providers had made them aware of this self-help offering.
There is a crisis of mobile support. As we move towards an increasingly mobile focused society, this problem will only become more pervasive. It’s becoming increasingly important to find a solution that is not only effective but also engaging and entertaining enough to create repeat users.
Rick Schedlbauer is the president and lead consultant and solution strategist at My Mobile Genius, LLC, based in Denver, Colo., Indianapolis, Ind., and Ft. Collins, Colo. Rick and his team have been focused only on mobile solutions and support services, before iOS and Android mobile devices came to market. The ultimate goal is to enhance the experience and lifestyle for mobile users worldwide. He can be reached for consulting and mobile-solution engagements via http://www.MyMobileGenius.com/ or over Twitter @MyMobileGenius.