The Time to go Mobile is Now: Thoughts from SIPA 2011

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After perusing my Twitter newsfeed, I came across a mention of Skweal. Interested to see what it is all about, I visited their website to learn more.

Skweal’s premise is easy to determine: Simple, fast and private customer service for brick and mortar establishments. Using mobile phones, consumers send feedback via Skweal, without having to register or sign up. A manager then receives these comments as text messages or e-mails, and can reply however they see fit.

Convenience is key in today’s busy world, and Skweal gives consumers a platform to voice their complaints quickly and easily, directly to a manager. Long gone are the days when most customers would be willing to work their way through a phone system, or wait around in the store for a manger’s arrival. Upon receiving a response, patrons will feel empowered and appreciated, thus leading to customer loyalty. This is especially true if the responses include an enticing offer, such as a free service or discount.

For retailers, Skweal reduces the need for damage control. Frustrated consumers aren’t afraid to publicly complain about a negative experience. Using Skweal, issues can be resolved before consumers get a chance to log on to a public forum, such as or GooglePlaces. Complaints can be taken care of before a customer even leaves the building.

As a consumer, I find this concept very interesting. The empowerment aspect is a large advantage to using this service. I’d also feel good knowing that my complaints are reaching the appropriate person.

However, one concern comes to mind. Like many other consumers, I research reviews online when investigating local businesses. I would be more likely to visit a business that has a higher volume of reviews (even if some are negative), than an establishment with little to no reviews. Furthermore, if managers log in and address the complaints, I now know first-hand that these establishments will value my business, and work to nurture the customer relationship.

If consumers and businesses adopt Skweal, will this result in a large decrease in online reviews? Does this lack of reviews have the potential to then hurt the business? Certainly there are advantages to keeping complaints private, but there’s also something to be said about resolving them publicly.

Let us know your thoughts by posting a comment below. How else are you finding companies utilizing mobile technology to increase customer satisfaction and promote loyalty?

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