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.