Incorporating Mobility into a Customer Experience Strategy

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1 INSIGHT Incorporating Mobility into a Customer Experience Strategy Michael Fauscette IDC OPINION IDC believes that mobility must be a part of any customer experience (CX) strategy. Consistent engagement across all potential interaction points is one of the most important objectives in building out a strategy and would be incomplete without a mobile component. Mobile applications can create support channels, provide content, support loyalty programs, enable commerce, and produce many other potential use cases. The key offerings that mobile devices provide for both customers and companies include: Customers have the capability to connect with companies through a variety of ways 24 x 7; they will look for companies to meet them on their preferred network or tool. Companies have the opportunity to use proximity marketing as a part of their overall marketing efforts activities that are proving to be very effective for driving engagement for many companies. IN THIS INSIGHT This IDC Insight takes a look at the growing use of mobile devices as a core component of an overall customer experience strategy. A complete CX strategy looks to build out consistent experiences across online and offline channels, and mobility must be addressed or businesses miss a big opportunity and create a large risk. A mobile CX strategy could include: Mobile applications. Customers can access content and services, conduct commerce, participate in loyalty programs and customer communities, and get support. Facilitated interactions. Mobility provides another approach to initiating communications between customers and employees across many public and/or private social communities and networks. Marketing tools. Companies can utilize proximity marketing technologies to interact with customers. SITUATION OVERVIEW Delivering a positive customer experience is the goal for every business; however, with the challenges that many companies face in a world with increasingly connected customers, it is no easy task. Doing business in the postindustrial economy is complicated, and customers don't make it any easier. Internal systems at many companies also contribute to the complexity and issues of building a comprehensive customer experience solution. Customers expect consistency and interaction with businesses across as many online and offline channels as they choose. They're always on and connected, and that real-time expectation spills over into the way they do business. Figure 1, from a recent IDC survey, shows the most important factors in achieving a superior customer experience. April 2015, IDC #255611

2 FIGURE 1 The Three Most Important Factors for a Superior Customer Experience Q. What are the three most important factors in achieving a superior customer experience? n = 423 Source: IDC's CXIT Survey, 2015 Consistent experience across interaction points is not only at the top of the list for customers but is often listed as the most difficult and challenging issue for businesses trying to implement a comprehensive CX strategy. Part of that difficulty stems from the explosion of the number and type of interaction points and the resulting increased complexity of identifying customers in each channel. Identity is a pressing issue for any company trying to improve the customer experience, and a crosschannel identity solution has to be a part of any strategy. The mobile device, particularly the smartphone, might offer a way to contribute to the identity solution across many of these channels due to its rapid adoption and use. It has become so ubiquitous that it offers an interesting connection point to customers and prospects IDC #

3 In the survey, there were two additional highly rated mobile factors excellent self-service capabilities on Web or mobile apps and presence across communication channels, including mobile devices that provide more insight on the potential of integrating mobility into the CX strategy. Mobility has become the largest interaction channel for many people and offers some interesting opportunities to dramatically change the customer's level of engagement with the company. Of course, there is another side to this opportunity the expectations of customers for the type and quality of experience are very high. Applications that fail to meet those expectations are quickly abandoned. In addition, interactions on social networks must respect the online communities' norms of behavior. This means that employees that design apps or interact on mobile channels must be trained to understand those expectations. Analysis Delivering a consistent experience across all interactions is a complex task for most businesses. Building and executing a strategy that captures all of those potential interactions, ties them to a specific identity, and then facilitates employee responses that are consistent is an integrated technology, underpinning a process and cultural shift across the entire company. The technology platform has many components such as an integrated data model that brings together data from the social Web, all customer transactions, the customer community, and any other source that is available (e.g., data feeds from a data cloud). The components will vary by company, but in general, they should include: A customer community platform An integrated CRM suite (sales enablement, marketing, customer service, and social monitoring) An enterprise social network (ESN) that is integrated into all other business systems An ERP system that is fully integrated with the "front office" customer systems An enterprise platform (on-premise or transitioned to a PaaS, depending on the maturity of the business) A mobile enterprise application platform In addition, there are a number of industry-specific systems that would be integrated into the CX strategy, depending on the specific vertical. A key part of building the CX strategy is to determine the role that mobility will play from both the customer and the employee perspective. Because of the widespread and expanding use of smartphones, it's reasonably likely that many of your customers and prospects have and regularly use mobile devices. It's also becoming much more common for those users to prefer interaction on those devices. The mobile device is the single-point aggregator for a wide variety of interaction channels and has high potential for adding to the overall experience in some very positive ways. Some of the potential use cases for mobility include: A channel for delivering product and service help and support A commerce application A loyalty program A channel for delivering content A method for increasing participation in customer communities A channel for marketing, particularly proximity marketing An industry-specific transactions app 2015 IDC #

4 Applications Deploying a specific application for customers can be a very effective way to improve the overall CX and add value to each customer relationship with the company. The concept varies by industry, of course, and can work effectively in both business-to-consumer and business-to-business scenarios. The most important concern is the overall mobile experience. The app design has to be well executed, have a clean and modern user interface, and offer clear value to the customer. The starting point is what activities you want to enable for your mobile customer; however, all too often, the design doesn't focus on what the customer will need and want to do. Don't underestimate the customer's willingness to interact on the device; it will often well exceed your initial predictions for frequency and type of activity. The device form factor also drives some of the customer's behavior. Smartphones are great for consuming content and for some types of media; they can also create it. However, generally, that content is limited to voice, photography, and small social media posts. For creating longer forms of text like blogging, most people will opt for a larger form factor device such as a tablet, notebook, or PC. In a recent mobile enterprise application survey, respondents reported that using mobile apps for CX had a strong ability to improve that experience (see Figure 2). FIGURE 2 The Ability of Mobile Apps to Improve Customer Experience Q. On a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 is not at all effective and 5 is very effective, please rate your opinion of the ability of mobile enterprise applications to effectively improve customer experience. n = 447 Source: IDC's MEA Survey, IDC #

5 The specific features of the application vary quite a bit by industry vertical. The following are a few examples, but this is by no means an exhaustive list: Retail. Application functions include a loyalty program, content on products and services, physical locations, directions, special offers, customer service, commerce/ordering, connections to content delivery, and customer communities. The app can be part of the bridge between a company's store location and its online presence. Loyalty and offers programs are often an integral part of the app experience and can incorporate gamification to increase engagement. Transportation (including public transportation). Application functions range from time and schedule to loyalty and special offers. For private transportation, the app can connect drivers and passengers, enable geolocation, and provide full commerce transaction capabilities. Public transportation apps can also feature geolocation and can be connected to the transport systems to provide real-time updates on the status of trains and buses and arrival and wait times. Banking. Application functions provide access to normal account transactions like check balances, bill payments, and even remote check deposits. Consumer banking apps were some of the earliest mobile apps available. Real estate. Application functions range from simple search listings to mortgage loan applications for preapproval or approval to potential payment calculations to school district information to rankings. The apps can also link to local services, everything from utilities to moving companies and supplies to government services. Hotel and lodging. Application functions include reservations search and execution, directions, local information, and loyalty programs. The app can also extend to acting as a room "key." For companies with physical locations that serve customers, such as retail or hospitality businesses, the growth of online activities has been something of a challenge. Customers really want a convergence of online and offline experiences, and of course, they want it delivered in a consistent fashion. Identity in every channel is always an issue, and mobile devices can help bridge some of the identity problems. Mobile applications can help businesses connect identities from loyalty programs, in-store, online ecommerce, customer communities, and social networks in an environment that can be used to build trust and connect disparate identities. Add to these capabilities geofencing technologies (refer to the Proximity Marketing section) and the in-store and online experiences that can be merged in real time and provide more consistency, including incorporating in-store personnel through alerts. Proximity Marketing Proximity marketing uses technology to find and interact with mobile device users that are in close proximity to the business or have opted to connect with the business in some way. It is permission based and generally uses one of the following technologies to interact with the mobile device: Cellular WiFi Bluetooth NFC GPS/SMS QR code 2015 IDC #

6 The interaction can be in the form of an offer, a free app download, or some other relevant content download. To identify the "target," the business usually uses some form of geofencing GPS, cellular, WiFi, or Bluetooth which is generally more granular and referred to as microfencing. There is some established signal threshold that is used to establish proximity. Most proximity marketing is push based, but NFC or simple QR codes can also be used for pull programs where a target interacts with a kiosk, another NFC-enabled device, or a posted QR code to download an app or content. Using the QR code is the simplest type of program to run and can be very cost effective while still producing solid results, particularly for providing an interactive retail experience (e.g., QR codes on shelf tags) in situations where a downloaded app can be used (e.g., supermarkets and department stores). As previously pointed out, using a mobile app as a part of the overall customer experience strategy can be an excellent way to provide customer service, deliver content, connect customers to the company's community, capture data, and improve the loyalty program experience. Proximity marketing techniques can play an important part in driving app downloads and increasing app use, and it should be considered as a part of that program. There are some good examples of how companies use proximity marketing. The following are a few ideas and examples: Retail: Store maps (particularly useful in large complex store types like building supply) Shelf tags (QR codes) for education and content Real-time promotions Proximity services and store operations/programs provided by mall management companies for mall tenants Digital signage interaction Additional customer data capture Public transportation, including rail station/lines and airports: Interactive transit map downloads Facility maps Access purchasing by transport beacons for other business campaigns Real-time promotions Trade shows: Hotels: Interactive show floor maps Show schedules Promotions and offers from exhibitors 2015 IDC #

7 Hotel maps Check-in/checkout and reservations Restaurants: Real-time promotions Order, takeaway, and delivery services Food information (nutritional, allergy, etc.) Consumer products: Promotions (particularly in cooperation with retail stores) Campaigns There must be value for the consumer in the campaign for customers to want to opt in and be involved. That's really the biggest question for a campaign or app: What value does it deliver to your customer? The answer might be discounts and promotions, better customer service, or engaging and entertaining gaming experiences; overall, there must be an obvious value. In general, you should: Keep the solution as simple and focused as possible. Leverage technology when it makes sense, but don't forget that low-tech options like QR codes might be the most effective for the problem you're trying to solve. Always respect opt in. Individualize as much as possible. People want programs that are personally relevant to them. Location isn't necessarily enough to individualize; that's why loyalty programs and apps can help fill in the profile and support a higher level of tailoring. Provide multilingual support. Language matters so in many places, you will need this for your campaigns to be effective. Keep the content fresh and relevant. Use apps if possible. They improve the experience considerably and provide a richer opportunity for tailoring to an individual. Utilize the real-time aspect of campaigns. It gives you the opportunity to analyze data in real time and correct or change the program as necessary. FUTURE OUTLOOK The number of people that are using mobile devices has exploded over the past several years. Accessing the Internet on a regular basis from a mobile device is very common, and some people even use it exclusively for online activities. Smartphones create perpetually connected customers that are open and look for more ways to get value from the ubiquitous connectivity. The addition of mobile experiences to the overall customer experience strategy is critical and offers businesses many opportunities to provide more consistency across channels and create new opportunities to interact. In addition, mobile applications offer the potential to create real value for both customers and businesses IDC #

8 For marketing, adding proximity marketing technologies and campaigns can help merge the online and offline CX and can be very engaging while offering value and service to customers. Businesses need to meet customers where they are congregating and interact in ways that meet customer expectations and needs. Leveraging that opportunity will provide customers with a more engaging experience and make the overall CX strategy more effective. LEARN MORE Related Research The Mobile Application Ecosystem in a Post-API Economy World (IDC #DR2015_T3_AK, March 2015) IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Mobile Enterprise Applications 2015 Predictions (IDC #253115, December 2014) Market Analysis Perspective: Worldwide Mobile Enterprise Applications, 2014 (IDC #253062, December 2014) 2015 IDC #

9 About IDC International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make factbased decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,100 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries worldwide. For 50 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. Global Headquarters 5 Speen Street Framingham, MA USA idc-insights-community.com Copyright Notice This IDC research document was published as part of an IDC continuous intelligence service, providing written research, analyst interactions, telebriefings, and conferences. Visit to learn more about IDC subscription and consulting services. To view a list of IDC offices worldwide, visit Please contact the IDC Hotline at , ext (or ) or for information on applying the price of this document toward the purchase of an IDC service or for information on additional copies or Web rights. Copyright 2015 IDC. Reproduction is forbidden unless authorized. All rights reserved.

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