Again, another great article that speaks to the need to understand how technology is always changing, and keeping those changes aligned with the needs and uses of your consumers. This is a constant struggle keeping on top of the trends and how they impact your consumer. To many businesses follow trends to be current and engaged in the latest and greatest but if your consumer is not engaged in that experience your disenfranchising your customer. Who is more important to your business…your customer…so always stay engaged in understanding how your consumers engage in the marketing channels your developing, and how they use them.
Mobile: The New Heart Of Digital Customer Experience
CMO EXCLUSIVES | February 25, 2014
by Michael Hinshaw
Last month, Econsultancy and Adobe published their Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2014 Digital Trends. The report highlights key digital trends, challenges, and opportunities that marketers need to be aware of during 2014, and is based on a global survey of more than 2,500 marketers and Internet professionals.
- The smartphone has created a deeper emotional connection with users.
- Mastering the mobile customer experience isn’t much more complex than mastering your overall customer experience.
- Mobile is more often a key part of a single experience that crosses multiple channels.
While their findings won’t be a surprise to most digital strategists and customer experience practioners, they speak volumes for the rapidly increasing awareness of a trend critical for any executive to not only understand, but embrace.
The news isn’t just that the top two greatest opportunities for corporations are customer experience and mobile. From my perspective, it’s the overlap between these opportunities. Mobile is increasingly at the center of customer experience–and is rapidly becoming the initial point of contact for consumer and business customers, leading the multichannel/cross-channel experiences that are becoming the norm across industries and segments.
The stunningly swift shift in consumer adoption of mobile as a way to engage with the companies that serve them has its roots in the smartphone. While mobile phones have been common for nearly two decades, the smartphone has created a deeper emotional connection with users, who keep their phones less than 6 feet away and look at them an average of 84 times a day.
Consider that in 2012, 1.2 billion people had smartphones. And by 2017, Forrester Research predicts that number will more than double, to 2.3 billion. Today, 62 percent of U.S. smartphone users expect your company to have a mobile-friendly Web site, and 42 percent expect you to have a mobile app. Nearly a quarter expect their mobile experiences to change based on their locations.
Already, people around the world are just as (if not more) likely to turn to their smartphones as to friends or family when a question comes up, or if they’re looking for advice. So what happens whenevery customer you have expects to be able to access anything about your company, services, and products at any time–from wherever they are?
What happens is that mobile becomes the front line for customer experience. Today’s smartphone isn’t just a phone–it’s a sense-and-respond digital touch point that has radically changed the way your customers interact with their worlds. Whether banking, shopping, or looking for advice and service, your customers look to their phones for just about everything.
So the question isn’t whether mobile is important–it’s how ready you are to deliver the mobile experiences your customers demand.
Four (Initial) Steps To Mobile Experience Mastery
Mastering the mobile customer experience isn’t much more complex than mastering your overall customer experience. Why? Because mobile is so central to any customer experience strategy, if you address the one, you’ll almost certainly address the other.
That said, here are four mobile-centric steps you can take today to begin the process. By no means is this all you need to do–the importance of digital customer experience strategy and design are crucial–but these steps can get your mobile experience kick-started.
1. Map your mobile customer journeys: What happens today, when a customer picks up his smartphone and interacts with your company? Does he go to your app first? Or maybe your Web site? What is he trying to accomplish? What steps does he have to take to do so? The first step is understanding the scenarios that exist and the mobile touch points encountered along the way.
2. Understand how mobile changes what customers want and need: Customer experience is all about understanding customer expectations and meeting them. The only way this changes when a phone is involved is to understand–exactly–how your customers expect to use their phones to interact with your company, and where those expectations are (and aren’t) being met.
3. Understand the multichannel experience: Your customers are using their phones as one of many channels–this isn’t a surprise. What is different is that mobile is more often a key part of a single experience that crosses multiple channels; a single customer journey can start on the phone, jump to the Web, and end up at the call center or in-store. To deliver an optimal mobile experience, you need to know how mobile “fits” with other channels.
4. Look for new ways to create sense-and-respond experiences: From customers’ increasing expectations of location-aware services to the ability of their phones to send (and receive) massive amounts of data about or for your customers, smartphones are the poster child for smart touch points. Seek new ways to leverage digital information and innovation to help your customers do, buy, think, and learn the information that matter most to them.
For years, we’ve been advising executives to get ready for the rise of smart customers. In the face of a radically changing, digitally-driven shift in innovation, engagement, and the very meaning of what it means to be a brand, mobile is not only redefining customer experience today, but promises to continue doing so in the future.
By really understanding what customers expect from your company as they interact through their phones, you’ll be in a position to create the kinds of unique, highly differentiated experiences that can truly set you apart.
About Michael Hinshaw
Currently managing director of customer experience innovation firmMCorp Consulting, Michael Hinshaw radically improves how companies connect with, serve and profit from their customers. OnCMO.com, he shows executives ways to drive value for their firms by transforming customer experience, and the interactions and processes that support it. Michael is also co-author with Bruce Kasanoff of the best-selling book “Smart Customers, Stupid Companies: Why Only Intelligent Companies Will Thrive, and How to Be One of Them.