How to Succeed in the Mobile Movement

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - 12:31

The Internet as we knew it is no more. Mobile is the new Internet, and it’s better.

For years, we’ve heard nonstop buzz around mobile, and as its capabilities and functionalities continue to mature—mobile commands consumer attention and adoption. In late February, CNN Money reported: “Americans used smartphone and tablet apps more than PCs to access the Internet last month—the first time that has ever happened.”

Consumers want and use apps. 1.3 billion are communicating through multimedia messaging service (MMS) platforms like WhatsApp, so if your strategies are built around email, MMS or voice—it’s time to add mobile to the mix.

The good news: we’re still in the early phases of the shift to mobile. The world will continue to be re-imagined through the lense of an always-on, always-connected consumer. And, although mobile’s potential is widely publicized, businesses have yet to fully realize it. We’re still in the early innings of the mobile game.

So, how can your brand become the next WhatsApp? It probably can’t, but how can you enable that one-on-one, immediate support connection for your mobile customers? Live, mobile chat.

And not just any chat. Mobile consumers expect intelligent, real-time messaging from their favorite brands—especially when they are engaging via a real-time channel. The first step is to understand your mobile customer’s specific needs, and what makes his or her journey unique.

Define Your Mobile Customer Journey

What makes the mobile customer journey different? In a nutshell, mobile consumers are characterized by:

  • Greater intent to purchase.
  • Higher expectations of the user experience.
  • Less patience.

Today’s digital shopper is immersed in the mobile movement. They text friends, visit Facebook profiles, publish tweets, send work emails, and, of course, shop—all on mobile. Nielsen says it perfectly: “The key to success is identifying and maximizing the opportunities where they exist.”

But, when engaging with the mobile consumers, it’s critical to remember that the stakes are higher on mobile as consumers are more likely to purchase. According to Tech Investor News, mobile commerce (m-commerce) spend will exceed $100 billion by the end of the year. Forrester predicts that nearly 30% of U.S. retail sales online will be made via tablet or smartphone this year.

On-the-go shoppers likely know exactly what they want, and what they’re looking for. They don't want to waste time; they want information. Plus, mobile shoppers enjoy convenience. If you don’t make it easy to purchase, they won’t open their wallets, which leads into my next key point.

Mobile customers expect a user experience that meets or excels beyond that of a PC. These customers need the support and connection that your desktop visitors are getting today, or else they’ll choose your passive (and less efficient) channels like voice and email.

As the channel of choice, the mobile experience should fit seamlessly into the holistic experience online. This includes all stages of the journey, from browsing to buying. According to Jumio, 66% of mobile shoppers have tried to buy something and then abandoned the purchase because of trouble at checkout. Take away the convenience of mobile, and you’ve destroyed the allure. LivePerson research also found that 14% will choose one site over another if it’s optimized for mobile devices.

Something else to consider: The mobile journey likely isn’t idle. They are probably in a store, too, watching TV or surfing the Internet on a tablet. These multi-taskers won’t wait for customer support.  According to Google Think Insights, “55% of consumers using mobile to research, want to purchase within the hour. 83% want to purchase within a day.”

Mobile consumers are reinventing personal (and professional) communications. They connect through real time messaging apps. Brands can follow suit, with mobile chat.

4 Best Practices to Engage Mobile Consumers with Chat

With mobile, consumers have an ‘always-on’ connection to brands. Supporting a 24/7 gateway is tricky. But, brands can make mobile milestones more meaningful (and balanced) through mobile chat.

Below are three ways to cater to these shoppers, and differentiate the customer experience through mobile chat.  

1. Offer mobile chat. Many businesses that see the immense value of chat on desktop sometimes can’t comprehend that their visitors will engage in a meaningful chat via mobile. Despite having witnessed the shift from bricks and mortar to ecommerce, they’re having a difficult time seeing the shift to mobile. Visitor demand to engage with chat on mobile is there. In fact, new (big) customers launch LivePerson Mobile products every week and go from 0 chats per day on mobile to thousands. Turn it on and customers will flock to it.

2. Use existing and contextual intel. Let your customer know that you know exactly what they want by sending personalized communications (i.e. coupons based on a recently visited product page, FAQ pages, etc.). Or, utilize location mapping to send mobile consumers to your closest store.

With intelligence on your side, you can even pinpoint those customers who are in a hurry, and invite them to chat first.

Remember: Maintain an omnichannel experience by sharing customer data across channels. Keep chat agents in-the-know on customer behavior or past purchase history, regardless of device or in-person interactions. The personalized experience cannot live in isolation.

3. Visually engage. Your mobile consumer is probably sending snaps on SnapChat or FaceTiming with friends. Why not mimic the experience they like best? Instead of a simple chat, make the experience more stimulating by sharing photos, videos, or better yet, share your screen.

When it comes to customer support, engaging direct on the customer’s screen via screen sharing is perfect for troubleshooting, and future digital adoption. Or, facilitate understanding with visual cues. Your chat agent can indicate where to click by pointing to areas on the user’s screen. Showing your consumer what to do, or what they want visually trumps your explanation in words.

4. Get to the point. Mobile consumers are in a hurry. Use short, to the point sentences to get your message across. And, send your top-tier customers to your best agents. Don’t risk sending a high impact customer to a support agent who might make them wait.

In a previous post, I also referenced the differentiator when it comes to mobile: “Think of it as personalization, but with fewer, hand-selected choices for a more simplified experience for the mobile user.” In short, keep messaging simple, yet relatable.

Pew Research found that a cell phone is something that 29% say “they can’t imagine living without.” Do you think they can say the same thing about your brand?

Have you had success with mobile chat? What tactics does your brand use? Share your stories in the comments.

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