This is a guest post by Jaimy Szymanski, senior researcher at Altimeter Group. This is a follow-up piece to MobileFOMO’s article last week, “4 Steps to Creating Mobile-First Customer Experiences“, adapted from Altimeter’s report, The Inevitability of a Mobile-Only Customer Experience.
Channel- and screen-hopping consumers are often a result of poorly architected mobile experiences, according to recent research by Altimeter Group. In the report, “The Inevitability of a Mobile-Only Customer Experience,” my colleague Brian Solis and I explore how companies are currently approaching mobile strategies and how they must evolve experience design to meet rising consumer expectations and increasingly mobile lifestyles.
Key findings from the report include:
Mobile is treated as only part of CX, not a holistic experience. This leads to low budget and staff allocation, forcing unnecessary cross-channel and/or multiscreen experiences.
Mobile is both part of the customer experience and also emerging as a self-contained experiential platform. Yet, we found that many companies continue to treat mobile either as just another channel or technology, allowing different internal groups to manage disparate touchpoints. Brands must rethink mobile’s role in the customer journey, within the organization, and particularly where and how it can become a self-sustaining (beginning to end) experience for a mobile-only consumer.
When companies focus too much on a medium’s technology, they lose sight of what the intended customer experience should be among consumers who see mobile as part of their lifestyle.
This lends to mobile falling into the trap of “mediumism,” or placing inordinate weight on the technology of any medium, rather than amplifying platform strengths and conveying empathetic value propositions to create desired experiences and outcomes. Technological implications should remain considerations during the final stages of mobile strategizing, as they represent a means to an end, not the end in and of itself.
Organizations that operate under a mobile-first agenda, driven from the C-suite and led by a passionate change agent, reap rewards in greater customer engagement, satisfaction, advocacy, and more.
Companies must establish collaborative relationships between each level of the digital hierarchy in order to adapt quickly to changes in mobile customer behavior. One way companies overcome hurdles to achieve real business results is through establishing a “mobile working group” that moves beyond more common digital centers of excellence where mobile is only a part of the equation. Mobile work groups oversee all related initiatives to ensure a customer-centric focus.
To win among mobile- and digital-first customers, organizations must focus on learning more about the customer frustrations, expectations, and behaviors specific to mobile.
Understanding the mobile customer lifestyle is a key element of journey mapping research. In addition to gathering demographic, psychographic, and socialgraphic data about mobile customers, we recommend strategists also pose the following questions in order to build relatable personas for use in strategic targeting:
- What uniquely defines our mobile customers?
- What is different about their customer journey?
- What are their expectations, what do they value, and how do they define success?
How are they influenced, and by whom? How and whom do they in turn influence?
- How can you design for device or platform-specific journeys to minimalize channel-hopping or multiscreening?
Strategists must re-imagine the mobile-first customer journey as it could be, benchmarking against new opportunities vs. the current status quo.
Begin with a deep dive into the areas where customers already experience the brand on their devices, as these mobile moments are already familiar. From there, we found that companies broaden their purview to all touchpoints throughout the dynamic customer journey, using customer data to support each step. This information is key to support why each step of the ideal mobile experience is critical to keep customers on-channel throughout brand engagement.
Once mobile becomes a part of a company’s DNA, it is no longer treated as a “bolt-on” to existing digital initiatives; it’s a natural first step in customer experience strategy development.
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. True mobile leaders use customer challenges and expectations to inspire — not hinder — their mobile strategies.
When organizations evolve past treating mobile as a channel, funding and resource allocation challenges dissipate. Empathizing with customers by understanding the role mobile plays at the core of their lives, in the context of each moment and state of mind, sparks innovation, not iteration. And, this lends to developing experiences specific to the new first-screen that meet and exceed needs and expectations while positively impacting the bottom line — in digital and beyond.
To learn more about how to create customer-centric mobile experiences, download Altimeter Group’s report, “The Inevitability of a Mobile-Only Customer Experience.”
Jaimy Szymanski (@jaimy_marie) is a senior researcher with Altimeter Group, a San Francisco digital advisory firm. Her research focuses on how organizations adapt core digital 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 advises Altimeter’s clients that are affected by emerging technologies.