- Forrester, the market researcher that estimates U.S. online holiday sales will grow 12% in 2017 from last year, introduced a mobile application that lets consumers share their opinions with brands about a product or service, according to a press release. The Tap app also lets brands respond to users, or "Tappers," who have questions, compliments or complaints.
- Consumers can either write a Tap, a 140-character comment about their experience or browse previous comments and approve them with an UpTap. The app also lets users join a "Mob," or a group of people with like-minded Taps, to boost their collective voice.
- Companies have real-time access to all Taps associated with their brands and can flag especially important ones to prioritize. Tap is free to download on the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Forrester's Tap app may become an important way for a mass market of consumers to learn more about a product or service, and to share their opinions with brands in a real-time channel. While the app could attract anonymous trolls who want to trash a company with bad reviews, similar to what's seen on e-commerce sites like Amazon and eBay, the general spirit of Tap is to help brands respond quickly to complaints and maintain strong relationships with repeat customers. Tap's model appears to take a page not only from review sites but also Twitter, which similarly has a strong customer service bent when it comes to how brands operate on its platform and uses a 140-character cap on comments (though that's testing an expansion).
Tap is also fairly unique in being created by an industry researcher that probably doesn't have as much visibility with the average consumer as it does with brands and other businesses. Beyond helping facilitate brand-customer relationships, the app might provide Forrester with new wells of data and a top-down view of trends for its clients to look out for.
In the past, consumers were wary of providing their personal information and data to companies, but those attitudes are changing, according to a 2016 study by Salesforce.com. Fifty-seven percent of consumers agree they're willing to share data with companies that send personalized offers and discounts. Customers now expect that providing their personal information means they get highly personalized, highly tailored experiences in return.
As Forrester points out, customer service is a critical component of a brand's success. That's especially true with mobile users, who have been trained to expect more immediate gratification. Salesforce found that 71% of business buyers say it's absolutely critical or very important to receive product and customer support and service through their mobile devices. Unfortunately, tools like in-app messaging and video chat remain outliers rather than the norm for most businesses, Salesforce said. Businesses are coming to terms with the mobile revolution, and the gap between mobile versus desktop will continue to widen. That means brands need to reorient their organizations toward mobile platforms as a way of interacting with consumers.