The march of the mobile
Just when you think you’ve got mobile etiquette sussed, out pops a new statistic that makes you think again. New research issued by Co-operative Funeral Care this week showed that even in death there is no escape from the tyranny of the mobile as it found that one in six people would not turn off their phone during a funeral.
And just to underline that little is sacred in the mobile age, a popular YouTube clip of a couple’s wedding shows a text-mad bride with a mobile stuffed down the front of her wedding dress so she could send a last message as a single woman before tying the knot.
Meanwhile in the entertainment world there are signs of a backlash against audience members who refuse to switch off their mobiles. James McAvoy became the latest thespian to succumb to stage rage recently, halting his performance of ‘Macbeth’ until an audience member stopped filming him on their mobile.
We are witnessing daily the unstoppable march of the mobile into our lives as not only the dominant technology device but one which is almost constantly switched on and by our sides.
There are also increasing signs that the mobile trend is moving from the personal sphere to the business world which raises interesting questions about whether the days of landlines in contact centres and other workspaces may be numbered. A look at what is happening in the US suggests that this is the case in businesses both large and small - at a software company in California, only seven of 285 employees have landlines while the majority of Google’s 53,000 staff have company smartphones.
Mobile as the core communication device is moving from concept to reality faster than anticipated. A researcher recently set to test the veracity of the oft-quoted statistic that more people in the world now own mobiles than toothbrushes. After laudable statistical analysis and much ‘Googling’ she found it was true and mobile penetration continues to rise in the developing as well as the developed world.
The ‘always-on’ world is not coming, it’s already here and it is having ripple effects on all aspects of our lives, personal and business. As a consequence boundaries between work time and personal time are rapidly eroding, forcing us into a rigorous analysis of the implications for customer service.
The implications for customer service operations include changing customer expectations on speed of response and service hours. But we also need to think about a customer situation more deeply - whether the kind of help we are offering them is pertinent or convenient in their situation. You can no longer assume a person can talk and look up information on a screen simultaneously as they would if they were using a PC and landline. They may be calling you from a hillside, the bath - or dare we say it, a wedding or a funeral - so we have to model different scenarios into our service templates.
Last year at our Convention we launched ‘Future Scenarios’ in which we called on the CCA body of experts as well as external advisers to be bold and imagine what the world of customer service and customer contact would look like in 2022. This year, on the first day of Convention we will be asking delegates to vote on how close they think we now are to each of the four Future Scenarios which include changes in the workforce, the boardroom, and the retail environment as well as in the ways we collaborate with our customers. I have no doubt that the pervasive influence of mobiles is propelling us closer than you might think to all four of them.