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Last week, U.K.-based mobile security service provider SecurEnvoy reported that two thirds (66%) of people have nomophobia – a fear of losing or being without their mobile phone. It’s a real phobia; I found it on Wikipedia so it must be real. SecurEnvoy also cited a study by the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, which found that on average we check our phones about 34 times a day. That seemed like a big number, until I started counting how many times I checked my phone. When I got to eleven before the work day even started, I conceded that I’m probably a nomophobe. It was confirmed when I left my iPhone at home yesterday during a 45 minute trip to Target. I felt a little anxious and my fingers felt itchy, yearning to swipe a text message or email. Apparently I’m not alone.

It got me thinking about how this impacts IT support organizations that are now dealing with mobile devices. I assume the anxious feelings of leaving your phone at home are only intensified when it actually breaks. (I think this Portlandia “Dropping Your Phone” video says it all.)

Are end-users expectations higher when their smartphone is out of commission versus their laptops?  Are the KPI’s we’ve set for response and resolution times outdated for this new world of nomophobes? 

Ten years ago, I remember walking up to my company’s IT help desk window (yes an actual window), handing over my broken laptop, and picking it up at the end of the day. I’d use one of the company’s shared desktops and a desk phone to get through the day. I’d probably still be okay with giving up my laptop for a day now, as long as I had my iPhone, but vice versa? No way. My fingers get itchy just thinking about it.

We all know that customer satisfaction is all about the customers’ perception. To me, a half-day turnaround to fix my laptop may seem speedy, but four hours without my phone seems ridiculous. To keep nomophobic end-users satisfied, support organizations may need to apply a different set of priorities and metrics to issues with mobile devices. Ticketing queues may need to be designed to jump mobile device issues to the top of the list, and reports may need to be created to look at performance by device type. On the positive side, when you can fix a mobile device quickly, maybe the sense of relief from a nomophobe will cause their satisfaction to spike, inflating CSAT scores.

What are you experiencing at your help desk? Are users more anxious about issues with their smartphones and tablets than desktops and laptops? Is there a greater sense of urgency around response and resolution times?  Are you changing your metrics and KPI’s based on the influx of mobile devices? I’d love to get your perspectives!

Liz Shulof is the SVP of Marketing at Bomgar

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