Discover mastering the lost art of customer service on mobile

Discover is seeing more customers sign up for credit cards through its mobile app than expected and the reason is a simple, but often overlooked, part of mobile strategy: customer service.

Despite mobile's ability to simplify much of the shopper's buying process and make interaction more personal, many mobile retailers ignore its power when it comes to helping their customers solve problems. All too often a streamlined app experience is broken when it comes to customer care, with the section consisting of just a link to a toll-free call center number.

"Mass adoption of mobile has drastically changed consumer behavior and expectations when it comes to customer service interactions," Mark Clark, director of solutions marketing at Contact Solutions wrote for Independent Retailer. "Yet for most businesses venturing into mobile, the question of incorporating customer service is being ignored. Retailers especially are missing a huge opportunity to provide consumers with a more efficient experience to solve their problems."

But Discover has bucked that trend, offering a customer service experience from within its mobile app that has led to numerous awards and has actually become a more popular troubleshooting platform than the phone.

The app is even giving the website a run for its money in that regard. While it is still the second-largest channel for customer service, trailing the Web, Discover's senior VP of card-member service and engagement Mark Scarborough told Mobile Commerce Daily that its growth rate is much faster. No wonder mobile has become a focal point for the credit card company moving forward as more customers turn to digital and social forms of customer care.

For Scarborough, the app's success has come down to Discover's new tag line, "We treat you like you treat you." The company has taken that refrain to heart and tried to prioritize what the customer needs in its app development, rather than trying to force its own initiatives on them.

"It is that culture that drives our development," he said. "We are not pushing things that we want. We are trying to give the customer what they want."

That doesn't mean there can't still be a few things Discover wants as well. The aim is to make the app a full service channel, where customers can do everything possible on a desktop on a mobile device, including buying other Discover Financial Services products. Come for the customer service, stay for the extra purchase.

For more:
-See this Mobile Commerce Daily story
-See this Independent Retailer story

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41% of shoppers actively use mobile apps in stores
RetailMeNot's new app is a planning tool for tablet users
One-third of shoppers now use mobile only
Walmart adds features to mobile pharmacy app

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