Eighty-four percent of CIOs at customer-centric companies focus on the mobile customer experience. Why? Because more than 50% of all U.S adults now have a smartphone device and a whopping 76% of millennials rely on their mobiles to find information and solve problems.
Today’s customers have different expectations than they did in the past. They want customer-friendly experiences on their mobile phones, the ability to find store operating hours from a Google search and the option for live-chat assistance when they visit a mobile ecommerce store.
As businesses, we need to adapt to these changing expectations around mobile or risk losing customers to competitors. Bill Loller, Vice President of Mobile at IBM, says, “there has been a ‘mobile mind shift’ in customers. Customers now expect to get what they want in their immediate context and moments of need.”
He goes onto say that mobile is becoming a customer’s problem-solver. With just one small device, customers can find answers to their questions in minutes. Bill says it’s this shift that is dramatically transforming customer expectations.
With that in mind, here are the top five reasons why the mobile customer experience is important:
- Customers are using their mobiles more than their desktop PCs.
- Customers are making purchases directly from their mobile devices.
- Customers are becoming intolerant to faults and aren’t afraid to take their business elsewhere.
- Customers are searching for local businesses on their mobiles.
- Customers want personalized customer service via mobile.
- Customers are using their mobiles more than their desktop PCs
1. Customers are using their mobiles more than their desktop PCs
2014 has been billed as the year of the mobile revolution. According to ComScore, this year will be the first time the number of mobile devices connected to the internet will surpass the number of desktop devices connected to the internet.
This type of uptake of technology has never been seen before. Remember back in 2008 when only tech-savvy people had smartphones? Now every kid, parent and even grandparent has a smartphone with easy access to the internet.
With more of your customers now relying on mobile to access your website and engage with your company, it’s important to ensure the mobile customer experience is just as good – if not better than –, your website customer experience and retail customer experience.
2. Customers are making purchases and researching products directly from their mobile devices
According to a survey by Econsultancy, 48% of respondents said that their customers purchase products directly on their mobile device – a 5% increase from last year. Furthermore, they found that 60% of companies said their customers research products on mobile devices for later purchase online.
This shows that customers are turning to mobile to engage with your company. But what areas should you focus on?
Bill Loller believes that to improve the mobile customer experience, businesses must “understand the context in which their customers use mobile devices” and adapt their sites and apps to reflect these different scenarios.
I agree with Bill. As a business, you need to understand why and when your customers prefer to use mobile. Focus on improving these key mobile experiences and integrate them into your overall customer experience.
3. Customers are becoming intolerant to faults and aren’t afraid to take their business elsewhere
Your customers have little to no patience for bad mobile experiences. A survey by IBM found that 16% of respondents would be more likely to buy from a competitor if they encountered a problem during their mobile experience, while 13% admitted they would abandon the transaction altogether.
Alarming statistics like these are driving big brands to invest heavily in improving their mobile experience. Companies like Macy’s and Disney are striving to make their mobile experience just as enjoyable as their web and retail experiences.
For businesses that are neglecting mobile, this poses a significant problem. More and more customers are relying on mobile to conduct business with you and they’re not afraid to look elsewhere if you don’t provide a good experience. This means you could potentially miss out on lots of opportunities.
Think about it. If your customer visited your website on their mobile device and couldn’t quickly find the information they needed, what would they do? They won’t email you and personally ask for it – they don’t have time for that. They’ll likely head back to Google and find another website or company that can provide them with the information or product they need.
4. Customers are searching for local businesses on their mobiles
How often do you use your mobile to search for local restaurants, retailers, hair dressers and/or plumbers?
Probably a lot.
This is because mobile technology has added a level of convenience to your search for local businesses. Back in the day, you might turn to Yellow Pages, scroll through the listings of businesses and give one a call. Now you can type a search into Google and see multiple businesses located near you, read their reviews, see opening hours and find contact details. This convenience is what is driving mobile search.
Google conducted a study on local search intent and found that four in five consumers carry out local business searches on search engines, with 88% of respondents using a smartphone device.
The study found that searchers are primarily looking for business hours, directions and a local store address. Do you have this information easily accessible on your mobile site? Furthermore, are you listed on other websites like Google Local and Yelp to ensure that customers can find accurate information about your business?
These are the questions you need to be thinking about as you look to improve your mobile customer experience.
5. Customers want personalized customer service via mobile
Mobile users consider their devices a part of themselves. A study of mobile behavior by ExactTarget found that 90% of mobile users aged 18-24 sleep next to their mobile device. It is the last thing they look at before bed and the first thing they look at when they wake up.
Joe Tawfik, a customer experience professional, says that for customers, it’s their personal space – they customize everything to meet their needs. As a result, companies need to ensure their messages to consumers on mobile are also personalized. Customers want personalized relationships with the brands they engage with.
This is noticeable when it comes to customer service. Customers who are using their mobile device to buy and research products do not want to be directed to a FAQ page or 1800 number. They want instant help.
Live chat is a popular channel that companies are adopting to provide this personalized customer service. Some companies are also encouraging customers to use social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to ask their questions and provide feedback.
Make sure that your mobile customer experience considers customer service. Recognize that using only the traditional channels are no longer accepted and be open to using live chat and social media to offer a personalized level of service to customers.
Expectations are changing – can your mobile customer experience adapt?
The mobile revolution is changing consumer behavior and dramatically transforming customer expectations. The mobile customer experience is now more important than ever. Your customers are searching for your products and researching your company on their mobile devices.
As a business, it’s your job to ensure the mobile experience you deliver is consistent with the experience you deliver across all your other channels.
If you’re interested in learning more, I highly recommend these articles by industry experts: