The power of the smartphone to shape the customer experience
Channel convergence, customer expectations, and smartphone technology are rising and companies must find ways to adapt their strategies quickly to engage customers in new, more mobile ways.
Organizations must improve the customer experience while increasing outcomes and reducing costs. These days customers not only expect amazing interactive experiences, they demand it. And frankly, they should demand it. Customers carry with them, and pay for, powerful smartphones that provide the unique opportunity of amazing interactions. With that capabiity, it is unacceptable to deliver an average experience.
When you talk about an “amazing experience,” you are not simply talking about the actual UI of a communication. If that were true, this wouldn’t be a challenge. Good communication is not measured by how well you think you communicated to a customer. It is measured by the customer receiving that message and taking action.
Immediacy: Customers expect and demand to be communicated with immediately. It is to the point where they frankly expect you to know where they are. Let’s take a credit card fraud example. It is insufficient and below a customer’s expectations to return home from work to find a 6-hour old voice mail message indicating there is fraud on his or her card. You need to be able to choose and execute a communication strategy that can cross over to additional channels to ensure the customer gets the messages in a timely manner. This is one part of what an amazing experience entails.
Relevance: If you too closely blend communications strategies with things that are relevant and things that are less relevant, you will lose the customer. While Smartphone usage has tripled over the last year, customers typically use their smartphone in durations of 90 seconds to 2 minutes at a time. Therefore, when communicating with a customer, the interaction better be quick, it better be relevant, and it must be done in a way that allows the customer to self-cure or self-serve in 90 seconds.
Contextual: Context is king. If there is one area that can differentiate one customer experience from another, it's the emphasis on context. Consumers will always adopt and use convenient services and products. In mobile, for example, that means offering immediacy through contextual interactions. Failure to deliver on this is a huge missed opportunity. Industries often define the term context as the sum of “what your customer has told you in the past and what they are experiencing at the moment of the engagement.” (Forrester)
Let’s say for example you are an airline and you communicate through automated messaging the same message to the group of travelers impacted by a flight delay. It may be immediate, but it struggles to be contextual. What if instead you offered the passenger an amazing experience where you took into consideration their environment? Through existing technology on the smartphone, you can tell whether the passenger is in Concourse A or perhaps is moving. You probably already know their demeanor because they’re flight is delayed; you can use this information combined with the past history of the person to send them a coffee coupon or a dinner voucher for any restaurant in Concourse A. Apply the situation, their preferences, their attitudes to build a better customer experience.
Personalization: Interactions must also be personal. Communication strategy, messaging content, use of prior interaction outcomes as well as preferences all play into creating a more personal experience for the customer.
Technology: Today, smartphone technology meets the customer’s high expectations head on. Smartphones represent the first “converged device,” eaning all communication channels—voice, text, email, push, and mobile web—all converge in one device. Your communication strategy must be coordinated and holistic. Communicating to your customers in a fashion that is disjointed will fall short of their expectations.
Consumers get a new smartphone every 18 to 24 months. Prices are dropping and they aspire to stay current with new features. As customers “grow with their device,” they will expect vendor applications to also “grow with the device.”
Having your communication strategy create experiences utilizing calendars, driving directions, location, audio, video, and camera creates an amazing experience, increases stickiness and drives up the level of engagement.
Your smartphone customers are perhaps your most engaged customers. They 1) sought out your brand, 2) bought your product/service, 3) downloaded your app, and 4) enabled notifications for that app. Think of this customer as “quadruple opted -in”—providing the perfect opportunity to interact with immediacy, relevance, context, and personalization using a coordinated smartphone strategy that culminates in that amazing customer experience.