It seems like the numbers are finally confirming what we’ve known to be true for some time…
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been tracking phone use for a decade and the number of households only using cellphones had been rising by about 5 percentage points each year. Lately, the increases have been smaller and last year it only went up 3 percentage points to 41 percent of U.S. homes.”
…people are cutting the cord, and we’re more mobile than ever. But what does an increasingly mobile consumer base mean to your business?
We’re Mobile, So What?
Since there is no single, easy answer to encapsulate how this mobile-first culture will impact your business, consider the following:
If you know which of your existing customers have smart phones, SMS-enabled phones or similar, you can offer a richer customer experience. But how do you go about reducing customer effort?
If you perform some automated outbound dialing, you may be placing your company at risk by dialing mobile numbers. How do you know that a number meets your dialing criteria?
People with smartphones can initiate web chat with your enabled agents. Do your chat processes assume that the user is mobile, or in a fixed location?
People with SMS capabilities can use text to perform self-service. What services have you enabled for the SMS crowd?
People with smartphones have Internet access at their fingertips. How many throw-away web apps have you deployed?
What are your mobile phone strategies for marketing calls? Collection calls? Emergency notifications? Proactive notifications? Event alerts? Inbound service calls? Placed order follow-up and delivery notifications?
Differences to Keep in Mind
So what are differences of mobile devices compared to fixed location devices?
Customer Support If you assume that the customer is co-located with the product that requires support, you may be in for a surprise. Conversely, if the customer has a mobile device with a camera, how can that improve your customer service process and move towards a more positive customer experience?
Sales and Marketing Is a webinar on a phone as effective as one targeting a fixed location? Are recorded presentations and videos consumed in appropriate sized bites for the mobile crowd? When is a mobile device absolutely detrimental to your presentation, sales, and marketing efforts?
Collections Do your collections agents address mobile technologies differently than they do with landlines? Are there rules and guidelines that may vary depending on the target device? If you are communicating with a customer via a mobile device, or they indicate mobile device availability, do you use that information and availability to facilitate promise to pay transactions?
Fulfillment How does SMS messaging fit into your fulfillment and notification strategy? Are certain notifications more effective when delivered to a mobile device compared to an email account or landline?
HRIS How are your employees enabled via the human resources information system? Can you take the opportunity to guide employees through benefit selection and utilization? Should the HRIS present information in different fashions, depending on the device or browser in use?
Where Do You Start?
I know, this may seem a bit overwhelming. However, whether you like it or not, the way people connect with each other and, more importantly, your business, has changed. And there’s no turning the clock back on that, so the only choice you have is to adapt. The old ways aren’t going to cut it anymore.
So how do you do that? The answer to that question, of course, is going to vary from business to business. But there are a few top-level questions you can ask yourself to point your organization in the right direction:
Which of you customer segments use mobile devices?
Which do not use mobile devices?
How are your customers and purchase potential segmented? By age group, geography, education, income?
Which segments consume your products?
Are you providing the appropriate level of mobile access, driven by customer segmentation and product consumption?
How can mobile self-service fit into or enhance your strategic profitability goals?
How would an increase in customer satisfaction (maybe as high as 95 percent) support sales and social marketing efforts?
How important is it that you are regarded as an innovator?
How quickly would customer segments migrate to a vendor who improved their experience by reducing their effort?
When is using a mobile device the wrong application for your business?
What is a better (more effective) channel in those situations?
How do mobile devices and the channels enabling them align with your transactional continuity standards?
In the next few weeks, we will be posting articles and additional blogs to address some of these questions. But for now, the key takeaway for you is to understand the population is increasingly mobile, and you need to respond. Because, unless you have an extremely static market segment, your customers are following –or, in some cases, leading –this trend.
So you either need to support this shift or be content to watch your competitors steal your customers.