Why you need a mobile-first strategy
It’s hard to ignore the influence of smartphones on our day-to-day lives. For many, it’s the first thing we reach for in the morning, and the last thing we look at before going to bed. According to Comscore’s 2017 U.S. Cross-Platform Future in Focus report, more than 80 percent of adults now use smartphones, which account for seven in 10 digital media minutes and 69 percent of all digital time spent. Despite knowing that mobile has become the primary mode of communication for the majority of consumers, few companies are confident they know how to make this channel count.
Regardless of the uncertainty, mobile adoption is necessary as it is a crucial part of the customer experience. It’s a means for consumers to immerse themselves in a brand, and an efficient way for organizations to interact with potential customers.
Mobile apps have created engagement opportunities that no other channel has ever achieved. Capitalizing on them requires understanding the value of mobile in the context of customer service, and ensuring that you’re providing the experience your customers are seeking in the modern era.
Consumers in The Age of Assistance
According to Jonathan Spangler, senior manager of product strategy with TELUS International, the reason for the focus on mobile is not simply because consumers are hooked on their smartphones, but because we’ve entered what Google’s calling ‘The Age of Assistance.’ “It’s a push toward immediacy,” Spangler explains.” As consumers, we’ve become relaxed about having information stored in our long-term memory. Instead of asking ourselves whether we know the answer to a question on Jeopardy! we go to Google and search for it.”
Smartphones both drive and encourage this kind of behavior. “They can carry information about our home location, business location and the best product for each consumer,” Spangler says. ” The Age of Assistance is about the immediacy of on-demand information — is a store open now? Can I get same-day delivery? And so on.”
For companies, preparing for the Age of Assistance involves making sure their brand is visible and providing the answers consumers seek. Spangler emphasizes the importance of securing a high search ranking on Google for your mobile site. With Google now prioritizing mobile-friendly content on its search engine, following the company’s best practices for mobile-first indexing is a must.
Four key mobile trends
In addition to focusing on meeting customers’ mobile engagement needs, companies must understand how mobility is impacting consumer behavior. Mobile usage trends can change frequently, but there are four key areas that businesses should focus on today.
1. Mobile speed
When it comes to mobile content, speed matters. A slow-loading site page can mean the difference between a transaction and a bounce.
Immediacy is the default mindset for mobile users, who have come to expect fast and seamless experiences on their mobile devices. All content, therefore, must be optimized for mobile devices and allow site users to access product information and customer service quickly.
2. Personalized content
Today’s consumers expect a personalized brand interaction. They’re eager to source what they need and move on, and a personalized approach to service and delivery makes it easier for them to locate information specific to their needs. This goes for both marketing content and customer service information, which businesses must customize to meet users’ on-the-go communication style.
“When a user installs a mobile app, they not only choose to provide their location but other personal information as well,” Spangler says. “You can’t say that about a phone call, chat session, or email interaction.” These decisions provide an opportunity for hyper-personalization and require a heightened degree of sensitivity around data privacy. Businesses that use the data volunteered by their customers to create a holistic brand experience, and are transparent about how the data will be used, stand to increase sales, return visits, loyalty and consumer trust.
3. Artificial intelligence
Another way to create a personalized customer experience is by employing artificial intelligence (AI). Many AI tools, such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems that integrate with analytics programs, allow brands to mine data for signals about their customers’ preferences in order to deliver more relevant information and personalized offers.
According to an MIT Technology Review Report, close to 90 percent of the companies now using AI in the customer journey are seeing faster complaint resolution. The report also found companies that are using AI to make the customer experience more efficient, deepen their relationship with customers and create more personalized experiences overall.
4. Mobile payments
As consumers become more comfortable with mobile banking, they’re increasingly using their phones for retail transactions. Studies predict the use of a mobile wallet will surpass credit and debit cards by the year 2020.
Here again, a mobile-first strategy is altering the customer-company relationship. By leveraging mobile’s capacity for speed and convenience, consumers are able to enjoy the kind of simplified shopping experience that’s increasingly common in the Age of Assistance.
Given the inevitable ongoing evolution of the smartphone’s role in our lives, customers’ reliance on this channel,and the substantial utility of the medium, a mobile-first strategy is a necessity for today’s leading organizations.