5 Best Practices for Mobile Consumer Engagement

Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 13:24

You can’t ignore mobile.

There are more than 1 billion smartphone owners in the world. By 2013, experts predict that the number of smartphones will actually outnumber the number of people on earth (Source). Can your business afford to ignore mobile consumers?

Of course not.

If you work for (or own) a business—no matter the industry—mobile engagement is key to growing brand trust and value. By creating meaningful, convenient connections with customers at their fingertips, you are investing in the growth of your business. But currently, businesses aren’t directing enough attention or resources to mobile. In fact, only one out of every four brands has a mobile strategy, according to stats from Social Media Today.

To start activating a mobile engagement plan for your business, take inventory of current mobile activity and use these 5 best practices to enhance customer service on this booming channel.

1. Create Rich, Curated Experiences

Personalization has become something of a buzzword in the ecommerce realm but on mobile it is more about curating top choices for users. Think of it as personalization, but with fewer, hand-selected choices for a more simplified experience for the mobile user.

Shoppers, especially those browsing via mobile, crave a quick and to-the-point customer service experience. Pressed for time, mobile shoppers are likely spending with a sense of urgency as compared to the in-store / PC consumer. According to research conducted by ChoiceStream: “Big spenders are more likely to react to ‘Recommended for You’ statements.”
With this in mind, a personalized experience must be top-of-mind when shaping a mobile strategy. 

It’s key to remember that like any shopping venture, mobile should offer convenience and direct relevance to the consumer. A recent study from Harvard Business Review found that 46% use their mobile devices for “me time.” This includes “seeking relaxation or entertainment.” Ensure that your mobile experience is simple, intuitive, and personalized in order to  become a part of your consumer’s valuable “me time.”

2. Leverage Geolocation Data

In February 2012, 74% of smartphone owners used location-based information,” according to LivePerson.

Make the mobile experience immediately relevant  and tailor your campaigns by region or city. Geolocation data can boost campaign customization in several ways; one obvious perk is the ability to point consumers in the direction of your nearest physical location. Another easy win is to offer great local deals and seasonal offers at the store nearest the shopper. Shoppers on-the-go appreciate the convenience of an interactive map or clear directions. This, in turn, can help boost in-store sales activity.

Mobile Commerce Daily suggests that, “demographic, psychographics and past purchase behavior, for example, can be combined with dynamic real-time data such as weather and traffic conditions to create highly customized and relevant messages.”
Marketers or ecommerce pros can further leverage this information during subsequent engagements, like mobile chat or personalized offers to enhance the consumer’s experience.

3. Deliver a mobile-optimized experience

Today, 55% of mobile owners access the web via mobile (Pew Research Center, 2012), and 57% of consumers will not recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site (Computerware 2012). It’s more crucial than ever to have a mobile optimized site or application as a part of your brand experience.

Today’s mobile experience is all about “tactile design,” which essentially is a combination of digital design and industrial design. If you’re not designing for touch, you fail to engage visitors, and will potentially lose customers.
Consumers seek a one-of-a-kind experience on their devices, different from that of PC or in-store. If your mobile site is an exact replica of your online site, you’ll inevitably lose potential mobile customers who are often impatient when it comes to navigating and scrolling a wonky site.   Visitors will bounce quickly if they can’t easily and quickly access the info they’re looking for. Also, make sure that the information that mobile users are likely looking for is front and center, rather than buried three clicks into the site.  

Mobile browsing is no longer supplemental to sales; mobile is its own shopping avenue. Today, one in four consumers engage in online shopping only via mobile (Prosper Mobile Insights, 2012) and Google also found that “Shoppers who use mobile more, buy more.”  It’s more important than ever to think intelligently about your brand’s mobile experience.

4. Offer choice of channel

It the age of the mobile consumer, it’s surprising that many mobile sites don’t provide the same choices for customer service as they do on websites, including the option for live customer service. We expect immediate help in-store and via PC, so why not on mobile devices? Isn’t instant access to personalized support even more imperative for mobile users?

In fact, according to a Forrester report, nearly 40% of US online consumers would like the same level of online customer service function on their mobile device as they do on their PC (Clarkson, 2012). This represents a huge opportunity for brands to step up their mobile game.

One way to close the gap between the in-store and mobile customer experience is by providing an instant connection to a live agent and product expert from within the mobile site or application. More and more consumers prefer the convenience of text-based over voice communication, for several reasons-- noisy environments, personal details in a conversation, and the ability to multi-task, or continue mobile-browsing while chatting with customer service, friends, etc.  Live chat can also provide the opportunity to connect a shopper with a product expert when one isn’t available in-store.

It’s also important to remember tip number 3 when implementing mobile chat-- make sure the chat experience is optimized for the mobile user and explore advanced functionalities. For example, allowing the mobile user to continue to browse while simultaneously engaging in a chat session ensures a more efficient and seamless experience for the customer.

Many businesses are already seeing success with mobile engagement -- a leading global electronics provider deployed mobile chat and saw over 20% of their chats originating from mobile devices. O2, a leading telecom company is training hundreds of its customer service reps to handle mobile chats (Internet Retailer) in order to engage customers in this growing channel.

5. Use mobile to create a seamless customer journey

Explore additional features that will bring value throughout the buying journey to create a truly holistic experience. For example, Google marketing experts suggest that you “meet the showrooming challenge head-on.” Instead of avoiding in-store use of mobile devices, embrace the trend. Find ways to use this practice to improve the in-store experience. You can offer creative apps that actually encourage in-store mobile browsing, like price scanning, product videos to help you choose a product, or in-store live chat (helpful for large department stores).

A seamless customer journey will effectively integrate the use of online, in-store and mobile channels to meet the needs and habits of today’s always-connected consumer. Consumers want to transition from one channel to the next with ease, and enjoy access to immediate and personalized service at every touchpoint. Ultimately, your mobile strategy should not only compliment your overarching brand strategy, it should stand alone as its own powerful marketing entity.

“In 2013, mobile devices will pass PCs to be most common Web access tools. By 2015, over 80% of handsets in mature markets will be smart phones. 20% of those will be Windows phones."  – Forbes, Gartner: Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends For 2013

Next Steps...

Join us on July 31st for an enaging free webinar, "Mobile Engagement Made Easy: 5 Best Practices Plus a Mobile Engagement Success Story" to help you kickstart your mobile strategy. Can't make the webinar? No problem! You can download LivePerson’s white paper, Leveraging Mobile Engagement to Boost Sales, Service, and Customer Satisfaction, for a more detailed look at mobile engagement.

Sources: 1) Pew Research Center, 2012. 2) Computerware, 2011. 3) Prosper Mobile Insights, 2012. 4) LivePerson, 2012.


Discussion Points:

What special features does your brand offer via mobile? What would you add to LivePerson’s list of mobile customer service best practices? We’d love to hear from you. Please share in the comments below.

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