mobileIt’s hard for me not to laugh when I think back to when mobile phones were the size of a brick, your wireless coverage area was often limited to the city you lived in, and most of the world was still tied to a landline cord. Today, mobile phones are “smart” and consumer coverage areas are not measured in cities we live in, but how much of the world we want to include in our call plan.

Imagine, 73% of the population in developed markets use a smartphone and push out 16 billion text messages daily! These remarkable statistics showcase how the world’s communication habits have evolved. Additionally, the statistics point to the fact that the average consumer has become “mobile-first,” if not “mobile-only,” with more and more households discarding their landline phones for good.

Taking a deep dive into the current state of mobility, analyst firm Ovum recently asked consumers about their preferences for receiving communications from businesses under different circumstances. The survey data shows that:

  • Customers have a strong appetite for receiving timely and helpful communications from companies they do business with.
  • Their favored types of communications include fraud alerts, service outage notifications, appointment reminders, product recalls, and account updates.
  • Respondent preferences for receiving text messages and push notifications are on the rise.
  • Automated voice messages are favored over receiving a phone call from an agent.
  • Most consumers resist traditional telemarketing calls.

Ovum summarized survey findings in How Mobile Technology Improves Outbound Engagement and Customer Experience. They identified four best practices that will help your organization leverage mobile channels and technologies as part of an outbound customer engagement strategy:

  1. Capitalize on Multiple Mobile Channels: Since consumers virtually always have at least one mobile device with them, a successful outbound communication strategy includes using multiple mobile channels such as text messaging, email, video, push notifications and voice calls to engage them wherever they are.
  2. Leverage Mobile’s Unique Capabilities: Businesses should leverage the inherent capabilities of mobile devices to improve the experiences of their customers. Capabilities include mobile web pages (via text or email that includes an embedded link, which drives a customer to a customized web page), location services (mapping to pinpoint customers to services such as roadside assistance or targeted marketing offers), and the Wallet app (allows users to store and display information such as boarding passes, tickets, loyalty cards, coupons, and appointment reminders).
  3. Capture Customer Preferences: Asking for, capturing, and then adhering to customers’ opt-in communication preferences is an important piece of an organization’s outbound strategy. Companies that communicate with customers in accordance with their requests, including content type, message frequency, and channel choices, are more likely to build a solid and lasting business relationship.
  4. Personalize Messages: People feel more connected to a company that sends them relevant and customized content. Examples include sending communications with important information like a customer’s scheduled appointment date, or an upcoming payment due date, or referencing recent account activity or interactions with an agent. By doing this, the company connects to the customer in a personal and preferred manner that strengthens their business relationship.

The example below illustrates an interaction where the customer information is carried forward from one channel to another throughout an appointment reminder interaction. In this instance, there is also a blending of self-service and agent-assisted interactions across multiple channels.

Ovum Image 2

For businesses to survive and thrive in this “mobile-first” world, they must have a holistic mobile strategy that is designed with their customer’s behaviors and expectations in mind. Customers respond more favorably to communications that they want to receive over preferred communications channels and it has changed the dynamic of collaboration. Evolving your outbound communication efforts to reflect these changes in customer behavior, you interact more, increase revenue, build stronger relationships and, in doing so, you start a conversation that ultimately builds customer loyalty and the optimal customer experience.

To learn more, I encourage you to download the Ovum white paper, How Mobile Technology Improves Outbound Engagement and Customer Experience. It covers the areas highlighted here, as well as when you should proactively contact your customers, and how to evaluate and select the right vendor. Are you ready to learn how?