Why Mobile is Not Just Another Channel

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Mobile devices have come a long way. However, mobile is not just another channel through which to reach potential customers. Mobile communications can be used as a way of enhancing your multi-channel strategies to gain maximum benefits for your business. That gave me an idea: write about how the unique attributes of smartphones can be leveraged to generate more personal and profitable customer interactions. The inspiration came from a February 2011 Forrester Research, Inc. report, Mobile is Not just Another Channel.

A multi-channel customer experience should be a seamless, unified and connected experience between communication channels. Mobility is a channel that delivers new audiences that may not be found in print, online or in other channels. Mobile communications reach customers in unique ways and deliver unique experiences and they extend existing business services (website, online ordering, in store, etc.). The mobile channel is, in essence, where the “Multi-Channel” customer is headed.

Many companies are using mobile as a way of reaching online shoppers or providing customer service. However, there are other ways to use the mobile channel, especially when you add this channel into your customer experience and multi-channel strategies.

For example, your mobile communication strategy could be a combination of print, online, and mobile communications. In this scenario, mobility can help acquire customers and business that perhaps neither channel is currently capturing alone. I still love reading my Sunday advertisements from my Sunday paper. And of course, I also enjoy shopping on Sunday afternoons on my iPad while watching NFL. A paper advertisement doesn’t drive me to purchase anymore. However, a QR code that I can scan from a paper ad that delivers me a link to more products, information or offering does. So in this example, the QR code helps bring together print and online channels—and all of this is capable by introducing the mobile phone into the mix. You merely create a QR code to be printed in a location. Consumers then scan the QR code and are either directed to your website, a mobile app, or perhaps a special discount is sent to them. So in this example, the mobile channel helps execute your communication strategy more effectively.

Delivering communications to these new mobile audiences can increase revenues because you are giving customers an easy, and in many cases preferred way and reason to access your company.

In order to capture your mobile audience, you also need to appeal to their senses on the mobile application itself. This could mean creating an application that gives them multiple ways to interact with your business. They may be able to buy your products online via their mobile phone. They may be able to make an appointment with you via a mobile application. However you incorporate mobility into your communication strategy will rely completely on you and what your business is all about.

When you use mobile communications as part of your customer experience strategy and you help to drive traffic to your other channels, you are increasing consumer “stickiness.” Mobile pages representing your website can increase shopping on your website as customers now have the opportunity to shop whenever and wherever they are, instead of waiting until they are in front of a computer. The same thing can be said about mobile coupons and other advertising methods. Delivering these things into consumers’ hands while they are out and about can create an immediate impact.

These unique mobile ways of reaching customers can help your company stand out from the crowd. Unique experiences are what will ultimately keep consumers coming back for more because you are giving them something that your competition is not. Mobile services and strategies will continue to evolve, and should be viewed as multi-channel, cross-channel or mobile-only communications, with their sophistication growing over the course of this evolution. As with any other channel, offering mobile services that have the ability to lift consumer satisfaction, loyalty and brand perception just makes good sense.

Related posts:

  1. Keeping Pace with Changing Expectations – The Ingredient for a Positive Customer Experience
  2. ACCE | Customer Centric Communications - Mobile, Social, Text, Email, Chat
  3. The future of mobile payment processing
  4. Social Media and the Call Center
  5. Communications are Converging
Mary is Varolii's Call Center Industry Practice Manager. She helps customers define their enterprise multi channel communication strategies – and her area of expertise is within the call center. Mary has more than 17 years of contact center experience including managing inbound and outbound global operations across a variety of industries. Starting her career within call center operations like Xerox and FTD, Mary moved into the BPO Industry working for global companies such as iQor, and eventually became a call center industry consultant. Mary has helped companies across all industries develop and execute their call center strategies. Mary is widely published and is a sought after speaker for ICMI and Contact Center events. An avid social networker, you can find her on Linkedin and Twitter.

7 Comments on "Why Mobile is Not Just Another Channel"

  1. Marc Zazeela says:

    Great article Mary. I agree that multi-channel communication is the way to engage, attract, and keep your customers. Adding mobile to your mix augments all of the work you have done in other mediums.

    I might add that if you are communicating with your customers via mobile, make sure the apps and web pages have been designed for viewing on a smaller screen. Trying to load large, colorful, graphically rich pages on a smartphone can be a little tedious.

    Cheers,
    Marc

    • Mary Cook says:

      Thanks, and excellent point, Mark. In the Forrester paper, Mobile is Not just Another Channel, Julie brings this up as well. "Which of my online content, services, and features should I include in or squeeze into my mobile offering? Squeezing is an oversimplification, however, and actually means deciding which of the existing content and features make sense in the mobile environment and then ensuring that the content and formatting suits the smaller screens of myriad handsets".

  2. Jen says:

    About this last point: do you think the growing use of tablets could change that? In fact, do you see tablets taking over the major size of the mobile market? Because in this case also graphic and formatting concerns would have to be reviewed.

    • Mary Cook says:

      Hi Jen - I think enterprises are planing for both mobile platforms - mobile phone and tablets. Both will be around, in my opinion, for a while. Who takes the lead will be fun to watch...

  3. Jen says:

    I think that we are going towards an integration of both platforms. Now phones are well widespread and tablets are owned by a relatively few users, but I see this changing quite fast, with prices dropping and technology bringing the devices together more than ever. The goal is to get a unique mobile device that incorporates all the features. Don´t you think?

    • Mary Cook says:

      I think that could be the end goal, but I am not convinced we are merging into one device yet. Even with Bluetooth technologies, I cannot visualize walking through an airport using my 7” tablet for a phone.

  4. Great article Mary, i too agree that multi-channel communication is the way to keep connected, engaged and smooth running for client and services. Mobiles are so convenient, and the smaller apps are handy when on the move. It is an interesting insight into these communication platforms.

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