We love our smart phones. For the vast majority of us, checking our phones for emails, text messages, news, and social media updates has become instinctual.
Waiting in line for coffee…check the Weather Network app.
At a red light…text your spouse.
In a meeting…check email.
At the airport…play online poker.
At lunch…take and post an Instagram picture.
In the bathroom…read Facebook posts.
We check our phones often. We do it without thinking. And we do it often.
(Oh, and maybe, just maybe, once in a while we actually call someone.)
Our addiction to smart phones, combined with our love of social media, had the organizers of this past week’s MarketingProfs B2B conference in Boston thinking that an intervention of sorts was necessary.
While checking Facebook, I noticed this warning on the back of the bathroom stall door.
And later, while checking my email, I noticed this sign above the urinal.
I found these signs to pose quite a conundrum. Ann Handley, MarketingProf’s Chief Content Officer, and her team posted these signs complete with hashtags, which we all know is the universal call to action for: Tweet This.
Yet their message seems to imply that we should not be tweeting. What to do, what to do? [Damn you Ann!!]
I tweeted them.
Yes, we’re addicted to our smart phones. Of course, you don’t need me to tell you that. You know it. You do it. In fact, you’re probably sitting on the toilet reading this right now.
Yet, if we all know this, why are so few businesses “mobilizing” their businesses?
Mobilizing the Customer Experience
Addiction or not, smart phones provide a direct connection to our customers. Through text messaging, social media, e-mail, apps, and news feeds, mobile devices provide a constant touch point with a business.
Every time consumers look at their phones, they’re opening a window for a possible brand engagement. What are you doing to answer that call?
There are dozens of strategies and tactics that can be deployed; however, as Tim Hayden so eloquently stated in his mobile presentation at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum, the key principle is to simply remove the friction of doing business.
Improve the Customer Experience Using Mobile
- Use browser sniffing technology to determine if customers are accessing your Internet properties via a mobile device.
- Understand your customers’ needs when they access your business through a mobile device. If operational in nature (most often the case), provide direct access to their accounts or customer service, not to your marketing blurbs.
- Use geo-location services to push your brand to the customer when they need it, even if they don’t know they do.
- Ensure your website is built with responsive design so that the same user experience is available across all channels.
- Don’t ignore “line of sight” advertising such as bus shelters, coffee shops, and airports where people are most often on their phones. Create ads with specific mobile calls to action.
- Mobile screens, which are increasingly those by which your customers interface with your digital brand most often, are limited in size. Don’t overcomplicate the message or creative.
- Ask for permission, as appropriate, to text your customers directly. Allow customers to text you their questions instead of tweeting them and, in turn, ask them to allow you to text them.
Listen to Your Mobile Customers
The last piece of advice I’ll add here is to listen 24/7/365. Thanks to mobile devices, your prospects, customers, and competitors are online 24/7 and so you need to be as well.
Real Time Complaints. Often, customers will use their smart phones to complain on social networks while a negative brand experience is happening in real time. This is your best opportunity to prevent a viral social media storm from occurring and to convert an unhappy customer to a loyal advocate.
Real Time Questions. Customers turn to their smart phones while “in the field” and actively seeking help or a recommendation. Are you there to provide the required help or recommendation before your competitors are?
Real Time Opportunities. Monitoring community conversations as they occur in real-time provides you the opportunity to uncover occasions for amazing customer experiences. For example, seeing a group conversation brewing among a group of people after a local concert may allow your community manager to offer a real-time promotion at your local restaurant or bar.
Are people too connected to their smart phones? Bad for people, good for business?
Mobile devices offer a better opportunity to engage a brand’s customers than a personal computer. Agree? Disagree?
Share your thoughts either way in the comments below.
Feed Your Community, Not Your Ego