Do You Have An App For That?

How Mobile Devices & Social Media Will Shape Your Customer Experience Strategy

I have a love-hate relationship with my Smartphone.  Can you relate?  I love that this little gadget allows me to stay connected with work and friends when I’m on the go (sometimes I hate this).  I love that when my 5-year-old asks me what the state bird of Kansas is while we’re shopping for a vacuum, I can pull up a photo of a Western Meadowlark, and two seconds later read consumer reviews on vacuums and check to see which store offers the best price.  Whew!

But, I hate to wait.  And I feel like I do a lot of waiting when I use my phone to look up product info, and it’s frustrating.  There’s a reason.  Take a look at this:

Mobile Marketing – A Closer Look:

In June 2011, Google and the Mobile Marketing Association found that only 33 percent of U.S. businesses had mobile optimized sites.  Surely that number has increased since the study was commissioned.  But, when you compare that statistic with what a Pew Research Center survey just revealed — that more than half of adult cell phone owners used their phones during the 2011 Christmas season to seek help with purchasing decisions — it’s clear that businesses are lagging behind consumers when it comes to mobile marketing.

What about Social Media?  How Does It Measure Up?

Consider this.  A December 2011 study from InSites Consulting shows American marketers are still in their infancy when it comes to integrating social media. InSites surveyed 200 British and 200 American senior marketers and found:

  • 42 percent of U.S.  companies are still in their infancy when integrating social media in their company.
  • 16 percent have fully integrated the new media.
  • 66 percent have a Facebook page, 51 percent a Twitter account, and 44 percent a company LinkedIn page
  • Companies from the financial and health industry lag behind, while tech and telecommunications and the media sector are ahead.
  • The main barrier to change is the unclear financial return. But this survey shows a positive correlation between the extent of social media integration and the financial results.

Now look at it from the consumer side of things…

A June 2011 study by Knowledge Networks found that the purchase decisions of 38 million 13 to 80-year-olds in the U.S. are now influenced in various ways by social media.  The teens and adults surveyed reported high levels of social media influence as follows:

  • 23.1 million discover new brands or products through social media (up 22% from 2010 study)
  • 22.5 million use social media to learn about unfamiliar brands or products (up 9%)
  • 17.8 million are strongly influenced in their purchase decisions by opinions in social media (up 19%)
  • 15.1 million refer to social media before making purchase decisions (up 29%)

And to tie all this mobile and social data together, nearly 80 million people check social media from their mobile device!

What Does This Data Mean for CX?

My recent vacuum-buying experience coupled with the results of these studies makes me think about the impact that mobile devices and social media have on a customer’s journey and where they fit in to a company’s customer experience strategy.

Clearly the touchpoints associated with these channels are incredibly complex.  And, while there are lots of what I like to call “soft metrics” that support the need to invest in these areas, the hard ROI facts may not always be clear.  But, take a look at this quote I found in a Gartner press release announcing its new Multichannel Retailers Forecast:

Focusing on ROI on multichannel is a misnomer,” said John Davison, managing vice president at Gartner.  Retailers should focus on identifying the impact of investments in one channel on the other channels. For example, our multichannel retailers’ forecast shows revenue from the mobile channel through 2015 is less than 2 percent, but retailers should not underestimate the impact this channel will have in pushing sales to other channels. Equally, an expected drop in store revenue does not mean reduced investment in their stores. In fact, the store will require more investment targeted at cross-channel shopper fulfillment as its importance as the hub of the retailer’s multichannel offer increases.”

So back to my question…

How Does Mobile and Social Fit Into Your Customer Experience Strategy, & Where Do You Start?

  1. Get in the Game:  Based on the evidence provided from the fore-mentioned studies, it’s clear that companies need to get in the game and/or “up their game” in the mobile and social arena.  Consumers want it, they have high expectations, and they’ll leave us in the dust if we can’t deliver.
  2. Visualize the Game Plan:  Clearly you need a game plan before you can start playing.  Begin by talking to your customers.  How are they currently using mobile and social media?  How can it enhance their experience with your brand?  Next, visualize the mobile and social components of your customer journey and map the touchpoints.  Touchpoint Dashboard can show you where mobile and social best fit into the overall customer journey.  The tool’s ability to integrate your customer data into a journey map format will give you a detailed view of what customers expect, how you can meet (or how well you are meeting) their expectations and how it all ties together in your business strategy.
  3. Play Smart:  Getting in the game is the easy part, but doing it right is another thing entirely. Mobile and social will need to be seamlessly integrated into the business and customer service plans. A customer’s experience in the mobile and social channels should not only be consistent with the experiences they have in other areas, it should also be consistent with a company’s overall brand essence and values.  Just like everything else in a customer journey, consistency and quality is the key.

So, if you find yourself thinking, “Should we have an app for that?” proceed with caution, but DO proceed.  Consider all the data surrounding these channels.  Do your research and analysis. Map the journey and see how these channels impact other areas of your business.  Touchpoint Dashboard can help you connect the dots and will outline the intelligence you need to determine if you should and how to best integrate mobile and social into your customer experience strategy.

Learn more about Touchpoint Dashboard at Touchpointdashboard.com.

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