Great Expectations as Mobile Commerce Matures

Great Expectations as Mobile Commerce Matures

We recently experienced the first truly “mobile” holiday shopping season. eBay alone reported $100 million in sales on mobile devices in the U.S. Worldwide, the company’s mobile sales increased 166 percent and soared to $230 million. Yet despite these market indicators, it’s wrong to think of the mobile boom in only retail terms. Financial services, travel & hospitality, insurance—in fact, any industry that relies on online channels—have much to gain from the movement to mobile. To do so, however, they must not only launch a mobile website or application, they must also set a strategy that’s centered on the mobile customer.

On-the-go consumers value the opportunity to do business ”on the spot”—whether it’s paying bills while riding the subway or holiday shopping while lying on a beach. Their growing preference for conducting transactions on their mobile devices is clear and quantifiable. What’s not always obvious, however, is how great the opportunity is for companies who not only “do mobile” but also do it in a way that’s satisfying to their customers. Organizations are already seeing how high their customers’ expectations are for this new platform. According to a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by Tealeaf, 80 percent of respondents expect the mobile experience to be as good as their experience in stores, and 85 percent expect it to be better than or equal to online using a laptop or desktop computer.

When companies devote time and resources to providing a quality mobile experience for their customers, they build credibility for their brands in other channels. Nearly two-thirds of respondents to the Harris survey said a bad mobile experience would make them less likely to buy from the same company via any channel, including over the phone, through a catalog or in a brick-and-mortar store. Companies that provide positive mobile experiences are well positioned to pick up new customers from all the businesses that let mobile customers down.

Improving the Mobile Customer Experience

So how should companies go about developing an effective customer experience management strategy that fully embraces mobile devices? Here are four key steps:

1. Organizational Commitment

Start by making mobile customer experience a priority. In light of how much time and budget most ebusinesses are spending attracting visitors to their online channels, it only makes sense to dedicate sufficient resources to ensuring those visits convert into revenue, no matter which channel they choose to use.

2. Understand customer behavior in a multi-channel world

Don’t just understand how your customers use specific channels in isolation, but also how they use them as part of a wider purchasing journey. Do your customers tend to use their mobile devices to browse and then buy online (or in-store)? How do marketing and promotional efforts like email marketing and SEO affect this behaviour across different channels? With visibility into each platform and the ability to take a broader look across channels, across sessions and across devices, you’ll get a 360-degree view. These insights will enable you to plan a mobile strategy that works for your customers. Just remember that behaviors can change quickly, so you’ve got to manage the customer experience on an ongoing basis.

3. Uncover and prevent issues

Identify customer struggles and nip potential problems in the bud. Are customers getting to a certain point in the transaction process but not pulling the trigger? By quickly spotting areas where mobile customers are struggling, you’ll minimize the impact these issues have on your bottom line.

4. Link your channels

The study shows that nearly one in four frustrated customers call customer service if they experience a problem conducting a mobile transaction. However, most contact centers are ill prepared to help customers with their mobile transactions. Giving your customer service agents insight into the mobile customer experience will significantly increase customer satisfaction, retention and order values.

Closing Thoughts

The era of mobile commerce isn’t around the bend—it’s already here. In an effort to keep pace, organizations are scrambling to get new mobile capabilities into market; just as a decade and a half ago they were rushing to launch their first transactional websites. Those who approach this opportunity with a well-crafted plan for gauging and managing the mobile customer experience will be the ones who’ve set their mobile channels and their brands up for success.

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