In a recent Toronto Star automotive article titled Phone Apps connect Customers, Dealerships, highlighted an example of how a smart phone application can do away with the need for a customer to call for a car service appointment,  thereby eliminating the customer service representative on the other end of the phone. When the customer arrives at the dealership, the service staff is waiting avoiding line ups and paperwork. At the end of the repair, the customer can use a smartphone to pay.

According to the article, mobile technology is already in place to do this and the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention had an emphasis on how to market to a younger generation who are more technical to today’s digital world.

There are applications to send service alerts to customers through text messages.

It takes time to roll out applications for each dealership but as vendors start creating packages that are implemented by dealerships, then the staff that used to act as customer service representatives can be significantly reduced or eliminated.

These applications can be used in other industries as well. Generalize this to any doctor or dentist’s office where someone has to book appointments. Take out food can be ordered through a phone and then picked up. There are more and more examples of applications that will be from the consumer to the office/ store /dealership, eliminating customer service representatives.

With the possibility of the IBM Watson computer technology acting for service reps and Mobile phone and Smart phone applications eliminating the need for customer service representatives, it is possible that this kind of job will become obsolete? Leave your comments below.


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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.

2 Responses to “Mobile Phone Apps may eliminate Customer Service Reps”

  1. Guy Stephens Says:

    We are undoubtedly in a time of change, when all of us have the possibility to explore new ways of communicating and doing things. There is no doubt that each one of us has a rich variety of communication devices, apps, platforms that we can use in any given situation. Let’s keep pushing those boundaries, but let’s also be careful to not push the boundaries for the sake of doing so.

    Of all the communication channels available to us, how many of them have actually disappeared and been replaced by something else? Faxes may not be as prevalent as they were twenty years ago, but they’re still around. Just because I can text doesn’t mean that the person next to me will.

    What’s important perhaps is understanding that if I offer my customers ten channels by which to communicate with me, they’ll use all ten. Some will have a natural affinity with just one, others perhaps all ten.

    There is always the possibility that certain roles and functions can be eliminated, but the reality is often far different. Somewhere between the two is the answer.

  2. Adele Says:

    Guy, thanks for your comments.

    You are right, of course. I don’t think customer service reps will ever completely disappear but technology may reduce the requirement for some or many of them. We still have telephone operators but we don’t have as many as we did 100 years ago. We still have snail mail but email has skyrocketed.

    So I think the issue is..what is the future of customer service? What will it look like going forward and how will it coexist with traditional customer service.

    We live in interesting times.

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