Don’t Make Me Sweat
Today’s digital consumers don’t have patience for long processes. If an annoying obstacle crops up most are likely to put their device down.
Even worse, they could Google a competitor that will provide a slicker customer experience. How can you make your product take the heat on behalf of your customers?
Cameras, speech recognition, GPS and more … the native features built into today’s digital devices can make mobile apps much more functional and much easier to use.
One click of a button and a form’s auto-filled in. A few short words and Siri finds you what you need to know. Press the sensor with your finger and a transaction is authorised.
Today’s online forms and mobile apps are very different from their predecessors that were too often simply desktop solutions downsized to fit onto a smaller screen.
Nowadays the best digital processes are specifically designed for the tablet and smartphone. They use native features to make the digital experience more compelling, and yet simpler, for the user.
Understanding those features and how to integrate them seamlessly is vital for companies developing digital customer experiences, whether it’s for banking or anything else.
Focusing on the camera
Let’s start by looking at the built-in camera. Beyond taking selfies and snaps of your cat, it’s great for scanning, saving and sharing copies of documents.
Linked with character recognition software, it can scan a document and upload specific information to prepopulate a form. Take a passport, driving licence or even credit card, for example. Rather than typing the long numbers into a form, the user simply takes a snap and that number is instantly filled in.
And linked with image recognition technology, it can provide the input for visual search.
When it comes to word searches, there are as many people searching by voice today as there are by text. It’s so much easier than typing – especially when you need to be hands free. Built-in speech recognition technology simply translates the spoken word into written text for the search engine to use.
Beyond search, natural language technologies allow Siri and other personal assistants can handle simple queries. Again, built-in technology simply translates the spoken word into written text for the personal assistant to use.
This combined with the burgeoning bot technology, there will be some ground breaking developments using the ubiquitous microphone as input.
Positioning GPS and pointing at the compass
Most of us use GPS in our satnavs on an almost daily basis; it simply detects where we are and shares that with the mapping software.
But GPS can do more than stop us from getting lost. It’s also useful for finding out about things nearby. Built into an app, the user simply clicks on a button to say they are interested in finding (or finding out about) something local – a restaurant or petrol station for example.
Equally, GPS could fill a local address into a form. The user no longer needs to work out where they are – it’s all done at the click of a button.
In the background location information can also help to provide an input for assessing risks for security. If a customer is attempting to make a payment when their device is being accessed from their home you may let the payment go through without asking any extra security information. If the transaction is being attempted 100 miles away, perhaps you’ll ask for something more (say a fingerprint touch) to verify things before allowing the payment out.
Combine the compass, which detects the way the user is facing, with GPS, and the smartphone can affectively see what its user can see. Apps can be tailored to ensure they’re relevant to their user’s current context – providing information on the local landmark or store they’re facing.
Link these sensors with the phone’s camera and you get the growing field of augmented reality, which can add a really immersive dimension to things.
Pairing and sharing
I’ve not covered all the smartphone’s hardware functionality here. Today’s devices often also have fingerprint scanners, NFC and other useful tech natively built-in. They also have a number of invaluable software capabilities that devices can take advantage of.
Take social media logins, for example. Providing an option to log in via a social media account significantly reduces the number of passwords the user needs to remember. A great option for low risk activities.
The mobile app could then make use of data available via that account. If the account stored the user’s name, address and data of birth and the user was happy for these to be shared with the mobile app, this information could be prepopulated in the app’s settings and in any relevant fields on forms.
In fact, the user could be given the option of linking the app with other apps on their smartphone so data need only be maintained once and shared across multiple apps. Or they could link the app with an external device to automatically gather additional information – with a health tracker or smart watch for example.
Keeping it simple
As digital services make more use of the latest native smartphone features, it’s really important that these features make the digital experience simple for the user. They must make any process – whether shopping, banking, collaborating or anything else – easier to navigate.
Today’s users’ don’t want to have to think about what they’re doing. They expect everything to work seamlessly and intuitively.
The service must fill the GPS information into the right fields. It must be able to recognise and make use of the picture taken with the camera. It must be able to translate voice commands into text.
If things don’t work as they should, the user will quickly give up and drop out of any process – and that’s not good for sales, for customer services or for brand reputation.
Companies should look to incorporate today’s digital devices’ features into their apps and processes, but they must do that in a way that enhances the overall user experience.
Are your apps and processes making your customers’ lives easier? Or are they causing them a great deal of frustration?
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