Best Buy is embracing innovative new mobile technologies in an effort to dramatically enhance the customer experience and leverage mobile device use by customers. The electronics retailer is testing a new communication protocol, Rich Communication Services (RCS), which is like SMS text messaging, but with multimedia features.
At present, when a Best Buy customer books an appointment with a Geek Squad advisor they get a standard text message confirming the appointment and any other related information. With RCS they can include much more rich information such as product images and maps, to help the customer locate a store.
Bill Worple, senior director, marketing technology, talked about the RCS tests in a phone interview with Retail Customer Experience magazine. He said: “It’s a great new technology, but if we step it back and say ‘what are we trying to do for the customer,’ it’s more about delivering the right message and right information to a customer at the right time.”
RCS is emerging as the next generation of text messaging and although it has been in development for several years it is only now coming to more general attention because it is only recently that most of the major phones started supporting it.
I think this is a smart move by Best Buy. What they are doing is accepting that the smartphone is the primary contact point for most customers today. If these smart messages can push an alert into the customer’s diary automatically and send reminders then it can really help to make for a smoother customer experience.
Where I see this kind of technology going further is when brands can accept queries by voice or text and then automatically text answers. For example if I ask Siri on an iPhone ‘Hey Siri, please ask Best Buy when is the first Geek Squad appointment I can get near to me now?’ then the system responds with an offer of an appointment time that can be accepted or refused, that’s going to get really interesting.
Let me know what you think about these experiments with richer text message formats by leaving a comment here or getting in touch via my LinkedIn.