Mobilizing the Customer Experience Economy Beyond M-Commerce

Posted by Taylor Haney on Fri, Apr 17, 2015

This month we are talking mobile and we're excited to share a new guest blog with you written by Paul Henderson, CMO at HeyWire. Paul discusses the importance of a mobile customer experience strategy. 

Paul HendersonPaul Henderson is Chief Marketing Officer for HeyWire, the leading enterprise text messaging service for connecting customers with businesses. He has more than 20 years of experience leading marketing, business development, product and customer experience teams at a variety of companies, including Avid Technologies, Axeda, Intel, Intuit and Sun Microsystems. To reach Paul on Twitter, follow @paulfhenderson.

Proof that we are living in a mobile-first world is everywhere, from CTIA data that nearly 40% of U.S. households are already wireless-only to a recent comScore report stating that 52% of all digital time spent on the web, apps, desktop, tablet, smartphones and wearables is spent within a mobile app.

And while much of the industry’s attention is put on m-commerce, from new features like Apple Pay or disruptive apps like Uber, the rest of customer relationship management – the engine driving today’s customer experience economy – is still not properly mobilized.

Take customer service. As an example, someone riding the MBTA to work might be maximizing their commute time by shopping with Amazon, Zappos, LL Bean or other retailers, either using an app or the website. As their browsing turns into interest, they might have a question about colors, sizes, availability or other product details. These customers are “in the moment” on a mobile device, but their support options remain calling a 1-800 number, sending an email or starting a web chat.

And yet, according to both Nielsen and Pew Research Center, the #1 activity on smartphones is text messaging. Why not engage mobile-first customers in their preferred communications channel and device? Business messaging is private, ubiquitous and supports two-way conversations that can be continued without waiting on hold in a phone call queue or making sure a web chat session does not time out. In fact, 52% of customers in a survey actually preferred texting businesses over phone, email or web chats.

HeyWire BlogMore importantly, the use cases are wide ranging beyond just retail. Broadcasters can use business messaging to engage in two-way dialogues with their audience while mortgage brokers can keep clients posted on quotes, documentation and the closing process. Recruiters can communicate privately with prospects, and universities can answers questions from applicants and accepted students.

Once businesses have connected to customers and prospects through mobile messaging, it becomes a channel to engage them with their brand beyond just service and support to questions about products or new offers that will increase sales and customer loyalty. That’s the new mobile world.

And it’s one that companies are racing to embrace, such as Facebook with its recent “Businesses on Messenger” news. As businesses look to establish this new messaging channel, they will need to decide what’s best for their business and their customers: an open, cloud-based approach that reaches every mobile phone or a closed channel requiring a proprietary app?

Either way, the customer experience increasingly needs to be mobilized – from initial demand generation to purchasing, service and support, and ongoing brand engagement.

You know it is time to rethink customer engagement when there is so much customer angst about calling into a contact center and being put on hold that U.K. academics are studying the “reliably irritating experience” and whether “playing pop music instead of instrumental elevator music may make callers less angry.” So perhaps the answer for mobile-first businesses will be no hold music at all – “just text us!”

Topics: MITX, mobile