Location based apps can be used as a customer service tool, if you broaden what the term customer service means. Here are a few examples to get you thinking:

1. Pepsi has an app that tells you where the nearest place to buy a Pepsi is to where you are standing. They also use the app as a way to check in and get points you can exchange for Loot. (loyalty program)

2. Supposing you see a product in an ad that you want from a retailer with multiple locations around you, a location based App can tell you the nearest store that has it in stock so you don’t have to drive to a store, then engage someone there to call around other stores to find who has the product in stock. Of course, retail stores would have to make that data available so it can be access by mobile

3. Ever been in a really big store and couldn’t find something you are looking for? Meijer, a Michigan based retail store has a Findit mobile app so that shoppers can see the locations of more than 100,000 items in a retail super-center using their smart phones.

4. How about an app that maps shopping center stores so if you need to go to a store, you can find where it is and where in the mall it is, so you can park nearby. Try Point Inside app or Fastmall apps. The same app can tell you where the washrooms are, where the ATMs are. So you don’t have to walk around looking for a mall map or a service counter.

5. For people visiting large malls, there is an app to help you remember where you parked your car. (The app is called: Take me to my car)

6. How about a real estate agent that posts a QR code on a for sale sign that provides someone driving by, information about the house, even a video walk through, without the agent needing to be there, and a text code to alert the agent that the prospect is interested in the house or a click to call button to get in touch with the agent right away.

7. Kraft has its iFood Assistant that contains thousands of recipes that can be searched and ingredients compiled into a shopping list. Directions to the nearest store are provided and it is possible with the help of the food retailer to provide the list of aisles that contain the recipe ingredients.

8. Want a far out idea?. Combine location and weather in an app. So your phone knows where you are and what the weather is (using the weather channel) and offers you a coupon to buy a hot drink at a local coffee shop if the weather is cold or a cool one if the weather is hot and where the closest coffee shop is.

Some of these ‘customer services’ are new and take advantage of ‘location’ technology. As more apps like this become available, customers will come to expect as table stakes that your business keep up with services offered by your competitors. Businesses that are not taking advantage of the new technology will probably get left behind.

If you want more examples, read The Third Screen: Marketing to Your Customers in a World Gone Mobile by Chuck Martin.
It is a real eye opener!

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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

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