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Boston Globe enhances customer service with real-time mobile access to representatives

The Boston Globe is now offering home delivery and digital subscribers more comprehensive control of customer service by launching a new support application that features access to a live customer service agent.

The convenient mobile customer service option developed by Contact Solutions enables the daily paper to engage with print and digital subscribers, and the publisher is the first company to use the My:Time technology. With more consumers reading news content on their mobile devices, customer service is a big opportunity for publishers to ramp up their digital offerings.

?Fostering customer loyalty and delivering a great customer experience are of critical importance to us,? said Robert Saurer, director of customer experience and innovation at the Boston Globe.

?My:Time provides Boston Globe customers with a time-saving, convenient way to interact with our organization, while helping our agents with actionable data from across channels. We have not seen a comparable product on the market.?

Self-service features
Free to all Boston Globe subscribers, the app allows customers to seamlessly update subscriptions and resolve subscription issues without having to be put on hold over the phone.

Users may also chat with a live agent Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Specific features include the ability to request home delivery vacation stops and restarts, report a missing/late paper or other issues, check an account; start, stop and resume an agent chat anytime without starting over, discuss other issues with an agent with text, voice notes and picture chats.

Integrating mobile customer service support
The idea of delivering mobile customer service sounds quite simple, however enabling consumers to engage at any time from any place when inspiration strikes is more difficult to implement.

The adoption of smartphones and tablets means users are ready for customer service to go mobile, and they yearn to take advantage of mobile device functions such as text, voice and video multimedia in lieu of customer service realities.

However technology and deployment limitations are two key issue that for the time being restrict a 360-degree model of true customer service support on mobile.

Presently, many companies such as Boston Globe are dabbling in mobile self-serve functions that enable customers to get answers via search. The sector is ripe with potential and will deliver more valuable benefits to consumers in the future.

Before developers can deliver a richer set of service functions, they need to discover how mobile functionality will be beneficial to them or provide a new customer service interaction, but most importantly, how to best adapt that need to mobile devices.

User behavior is different in a mobile context. While desktop users may be okay with opening multiple windows to achieve sought answers, mobile users want more than simply the ability to see a website, and do not want to navigate across several pages.

Information must be consumable on the device the consumer is trying to communicate through.

Hold the presses
By creating equilibrium through automating popular question and answers, companies can spend more real time with consumers who cannot find a resolution and need to talk to someone personally. This allows for less frustration on a consumer side, and more tickets cleared from a customer service point of view.

Providing efficient customer service and support is critical for any business?s success, and operating this through mobile is no different.

?Given the huge increase in mobile content use we see the need to offer support in that environment critical to our support efforts,? Mr. Saurer said.

?The app is always on and requires only one sign in. So subscribers are one button click away from doing multiple transactions. It is also embedded in our other apps so customers using apps to access our content also have an app solution for support.?

Final Take:
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York