Disposable Apps and Their Place in Your Mobile Customer Care Strategy

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Aspect Mobility
When thinking of mobile customer care, most people tend to think of mobile apps. Mobile native apps are indeed a great way to expose pretty much all channels available on a smartphone (see my recent blog about why mobile isn’t a channel) and offer great self-service as well, but there are three main drawbacks with them:

  1. Change management can be costly with deployment complexities around app store approvals and the cost of specialized mobile app developers. If you rely on an outside firm to make changes to your mobile app, you additionally suffer from slower time to market.
  2. Customers need to download the app first. For some industries, the frequency of contact with a business is so low that having a piece of software on your phone that takes up precious screen and “disk” space cannot be justified. Your customers might refuse to install your app.
  3. While push notifications exist, users can choose to disable them, or easily overlook and thus miss them. Important updates do therefore not always reach the recipient in time or lead to the desired response.

At Aspect, we therefore believe in what we like to call disposable apps. Disposable apps are mobile Web apps written in HTML5 so they are usable on any smartphone without the need for a download. There are far more web developers with the knowledge to build HTML5-based apps than there are Objective C or Java developers for iOS and Android (let alone for other platforms such as Windows or BlackBerry).

A disposable app is “disposable” because it is outbound in nature and focuses on the task at hand – it only lives for the time of transaction. It is pushed as a link, typically via SMS, which can lead to an immediate action/response from the customer through the simple touch of an embedded URL. It leads them directly to a page offering either timely information or the option to respond and take action. Think of appointment reminders with the ability to reschedule right away, without having to call in as most one-way reminder apps function today. Or delivery notifications with the option to change the pickup location. Or payment reminders with the option to make the payment right then through a secure app.

Through the use of temporary security PINs and the HTTPS protocol, logging in to a disposable app is fast, convenient, and secure at the same time. Disposable apps have the customer’s immediate attention (studies show that 90% of SMS are read within 3 minutes, and 99% of all SMS are opened), offer a rich environment for a “dialog”, and can also offer ways to get in touch with a live agent if needed, e.g. through a callback option or an embedded call feature through the use of WebRTC.

Aspect Proactive Mobile, one of the solutions available in the Aspect Mobility suite launched last month, implements disposable apps. See the following example:

 Aspect Mobility - Self-service disposable apps

Disposable apps should be an integral part of your mobile customer experience strategy. They can help to give your customers “mobile moments,” a term coined by Forrester. Michel Falcon has introduced the term “micro customer experiences”, which also accurately reflects what disposable mobile apps can do for you.

Disposable apps do not replace your existing mobile assets, but complement them. They can be designed to follow the corporate look and feel of your mobile native apps. They belong in the contact center, due to their nature of being outbound reminders or notifications that might entail a response option or a way to seamlessly hand the conversation over to a live agent.

Aspect provides a platform on which to build and manage disposable mobile apps, together with your IVR and two-way SMS applications. Aspect’s Voxeo CXP has been supporting voice, text, social, and mobile self-service channels for seven years now, since the previously IVR-only platform was turned into an omni-channel platform. Talk to us today to find out how you can benefit from the use of Voxeo CXP, which is offered both in the convenient cloud and for on-premise deployment behind your firewall.

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Tobias Goebel

Tobias is Director of Emerging Technologies at Aspect. He has over 14 years of experience in customer care technology and the contact center industry with roles spanning engineering, consulting, pre-sales engineering, program and product management, and product marketing. As part of Aspect's product management and marketing team today, he works on defining the future of the mobile customer experience, bringing together channels such as mobile apps, messaging, voice, and social. He is a frequent speaker and blogger on topics around customer service and, more recently, the (re-)emerging chatbot, NLP, and AI technologies. Tobias holds degrees in Computational Linguistics, Phonetics, and Computer Science from the universities of Bonn, Germany and Edinburgh, UK.
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2 thoughts on “Disposable Apps and Their Place in Your Mobile Customer Care Strategy

  1. Hi Bhaskar, thanks for your feedback. To answer your question: I think it depends a little on which mobile Web framework you go with. There are some, like jQuery Mobile or Sencha Touch, that claim OS and browser independence to some extent. But at the end of the day, mobile Web dev isn’t much different from “big” Web dev. You will want to test the end user experience on multiple platforms and multiple browsers on each. If you’re interested in the question of Web vs native, here’s another piece I wrote a while ago: http://blog.tpgoebel.com/2013/01/html5-or-native-html5-and-native-a-comparison-of-desktop-and-mobile-software/

  2. Thanks for this write up Tobias. I do belong to the contact center testing team for on of the organizations. This certainly enlightened me on the trends in existence & the enhanced user experience along with business that the ‘Disposable apps’ can give. With HTML5 being more of web development than of mobile development, do you think the test team needs to spend significant time testing the URL’s that come up as SMS notifications on both the Android & iOS OS? Or, can we confine the OS compatibility test at a high level? Or do you think it makes sense to totally abandon the OS based test as it never gets a challenge? Please advise.

    I liked the way you explain & I would be looking for more articles around this. Thanks for the write up again.

    Thanks
    Bhaskar Raj B M

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