The effect of mobile on customer expectations

Published on 17 April 2013 by in Latest News

As this recent presentation by communications research firm Enders Analysis so clearly demonstrates, Smartphone ownership has risen dramatically in recent years, bringing with it a seismic change in customers’ service expectations.

The presentation outlines the extent of mobile’s ubiquity, as smartphone penetration rates now break the 50 per cent barrier in the UK, not least thanks to sales volumes four times those for PCs at the turn of the New Year.

This widespread cultural movement has caused a dramatic shift in consumer expectations, as members of the public quickly adapt to using mobile technology to aid them in all manner of situations.

Constant access to email, apps and social media mean customers expect communication to be almost instantaneous, placing pressure on companies to improve their response times. This may be particularly true for social media, since mobile Twitter use is soon set to eclipse desktop access, according to the latest report from consultancy firm Strategy Analytics.

That’s not to say that desktop connections should be forgotten just yet; instead brands must focus on creating a seamless connection between the mobile and desktop experience. Customers should be able to carry on where they left off when switching from one device to the next. This means, for example, that an item placed in the digital shopping basket via a customer’s smartphone should still be there when they log on to their computer at home.

Innovative multichannel retailers are pushing this connection further still, so that smooth integration between online and offline channels may soon be the norm. Services to replace physical loyalty cards and bank cards with inbuilt loyalty and payment apps, as Starbucks has rolled out, are common ways to facilitate this continuity. Adding geolocation technology into the mix, retailers can also serve customers by providing real-time targeted offers while in store or using mapping to offer directions to the brand’s nearest branch.

As brands begin embracing these strategies to improve the customer experience, and with technology like Google Glass on the horizon, the only question left to ask is where customer expectations will move next?

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