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Altimeter Report: 4 Steps to Creating Mobile-First Customer Experiences

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Altimeter Report: 4 Steps to Creating Mobile-First Customer Experiences

Meg Rahner January 22, 2015

Mobile devices are no longer the “second screen”; we have moved into the era where mobile devices are rapidly becoming the “first screen”, according to a report released today by the Altimeter Group. The report, called “The Inevitability of a Mobile-Only Customer Experience”, analyzes the current state of mobile customer experience (CX), how the landscape is evolving, and what it means for the future of mobile CX. Core researchers Jaimy Szymanski and Brian Solis interviewed 20+ ecosystem contributors, including mobile leaders from Intuit, Citi, Zappos, and Starbucks. Through their extensive research, they found that while most companies understand mobile’s promise, they “both underestimate and underinvest in mobile’s promise” and learned that “an understood and unified mobile strategy remains largely elusive to many executives.”

In one section of their report, they outline four steps to creating mobile-first customer experiences. The report states:

To win among mobile- and digital-first customers, organizations must focus on learning more about customer expectations, frustrations, and behaviors specific to mobile. When done in parallel to other investments, mobile (in each of its forms) becomes an experience unto itself. Accordingly, strategists must apply those insights into architecting an ideal mobile state. Only then can customer-driven mobile strategy truly become part of a company’s DNA and produce results that include increased engagement, lead generation, sales, Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer retention, acquisition, loyalty, and more.”

The four steps are as followed: 

Step 1: Map the Mobile Customer Journey

Nearly half (43%) of companies are not aware of their customers’ mobile behaviors, making it challenging to develop mobile experiences that create loyalty or produce advocacy. Brands need to map the mobile customer journey, in order to understand customer habits’ and digital behaviors, resulting in an ability to design effectively for the experiences customers desire as opposed to solely what technology permits.

Cyril Lamblard, Head of eBusiness and Digital Marketing at Nespresso, shared that the company regularly re-evaluates its mobile strategy to ensure that it’s aligned with the evolving mobile CX. They regularly storyboard and test new ideas for engagement to improve the multi-screen experience, ensuring it remains a fully functioning “boutique in their pocket – anytime, anywhere.”

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Step 2: Reimagine the Mobile-First Customer Journey

The mobile experience is not only the smartphone; it is also tablet and a number of devices that “are not created equal” in terms of users, experiences, and strategy. Companies should define a series of intended mobile experiences at each stage of the mobile journey by aligning each with customer personas and related data. According to the report,

By looking deeper into customer insights, beyond current behaviors, and toward desired experiences, mobile strategies are quickly moved from misinformed to engaging when data analysis and predictive experience mapping take center stage.”

Jennifer Bordner, Mobile CEM at Old Navy, explained that they use a variety of personal and group interview tactics and “shop-alongs” in order to understand how Old Navy customers use technology. She then uses this information to create strategies around mobile couponing, push notifications and messaging, application development, content, mobile website optimization and more.

Answer the following sample questions to guide the mobile experience design process:

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Step 3: Measure and Optimize

To further architect mobile experiences, strategists must define the intended customer response and desired outcomes, by screen, at each step in the mobile customer journey. According to the report, “companies that focus on mobile CX at the core of strategy design, the most common business outcomes associated with mobile customer experience include customer acquisition, customer retention, and customer efficiency.” When defining these desired outcomes, it’s important to consider existing digital, marketing, and CX goals.

Colette Crosby, Director of Marketing at Intuit, says:

Mobile is broken into separate departments by brand at Intuit, with different product teams creating unique experiences. We need alignment around adoption of best practices and common standards for performance analytics in order to stay coordinated. This makes our mobile working group all the more important to ensure alignment and proper reuse of services and components for speed and economy of scale.”

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Step 4: Create Alignment Through a Test-and-Learn Approach

Mobile strategists are challenged with the goal of creating internal alignment across all departments that are somehow related to mobile, and these challenges are especially prevalent at companies that do not have mobile-first strategies. Once this mobile team is aligned, “strategists move on to testing and re-testing their mobile-first strategies both internally and externally. At this stage, IT is pulled in to lead software and hardware development and coding needed to execute on the architected mobile experience.”

In order for companies to grow and thrive, customers should be a main, if not the primary, priority. As mobile becomes increasingly prevalent, companies must adjust their mobile strategies to cater to their customers’ wants and needs. According to the Altimeter Group,

Mobile represents one of the greatest opportunities for customer experience innovation. Across all popular devices, as well as those set to disrupt the game, mobile is a diverse ecosystem that requires dedicated understanding and design. In the future, mobile, through the sum of its parts, will become the standard for hosting the customer journey. Investments today are grossly underfunded to meet this growth trend.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Altimeter Group 

Altimeter is a research and consulting firm that helps companies understand and act on disruption. They give business leaders the insight and confidence to transform their companies in the face of disruption. In addition to publishing research, Altimeter Group analysts speak and provide strategy consulting on trends in digital transformation, social business, data disruption, and content marketing strategy.

About the Authors 

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CO-AUTHOR: Jaimy Szymanski, Senior Researcher: Jaimy Szymanski (@jaimy_marie) is a senior researcher with Altimeter Group, focusing on how organizations adapt core strategies to serve the new “connected customer.” She has developed multiple research artifacts on the topics of digital transformation, consumer mobile, customer experience design, and social business strategy. Jaimy also assists with advisory of Altimeter’s clients that are affected by emerging technologies.



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CO-AUTHOR: Brian Solis, Principal Analyst: Brian Solis (@briansolis) is a principal analyst at Altimeter Group. He is also an awardwinning author, prominent blogger, and keynote speaker. Solis works with enterprise organizations and technology vendors to research the state and direction of markets, competitors, and customer behavior. Through the use of proven frameworks and best practices, Solis analyzes trends, opportunities, capabilities, and areas for improvement to align new media initiatives with business priorities.

Meg Rahner

Meg Rahner
Meg is the PR Coordinator for CircleClick and a writer for MobileFOMO. She is from Erie, Pennsylvania and has a BA in Public Relations from Penn State University. She moved to San Francisco shortly after graduating in 2010 and loves life on the west coast. Since moving to SF, she has contracted for the Academy of Art University's Marketing team, LinkedIn's Recruiting Team, and is excited to be pursuing her passion for writing and PR in her current roles.
Follow me on twitter @megrahner

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