Quality vs Frequency: What’s Your Mobile Strategy?
June 12, 2013 Editor 0
Your customers are in the midst of a mind shift. First they get a smartphone. Then they learn that they can ask for any information and get an instant result. What’s the weather forecast? Is this dishwasher highly rated, and is it available more cheaply elsewhere? What’s the song playing on the radio in the deli? Mobile answers all these requests and reinforces, in a Pavolovian way, the concept that we call the mobile mind shift: the expectation that any desired information or service is available, on any appropriate device, in context, at a person’s moment of need.
Based on an analysis of data from over 4,000 online American consumers, we estimate that 22% of consumers have made this shift already. They are among your best customers: typically younger and more affluent than other Americans. And they are demanding mobile utility. Your job is reduce the distance between what they want and what they get. Meet their demands and they’ll be loyal to you. Fail, and they’ll switch to a competitor, or a digital disruptor like Uber or Mint or Google News. When attempting to deliver on mobile, we’ve recognized that company strategies vary based on where they fall on two dimensions: quality of experiences and frequency of experiences.
The vertical axis reflects the quality of experiences, as measured by tools like Net Promoter or the Customer Experience Index. The horizontal axis reflects the frequency of experiences — companies whose customers interact with them weekly or more frequently are on the right, those with less frequent interactions on the left. What strategy should you use for mobile? That depends on what quadrant you fall into. Companies in the upper right deliver frequent, high-quality experiences. Their customers will expect those frequent experiences to include mobile elements. A good example: Tesco stores in Korea. They put graphics up on the walls of subway tunnels that look similar to store displays. Customers can use their smartphones to photograph the items they want, and have them delivered as soon as their subway gets them home. Result — demanding customers get what they want, and remain loyal to Tesco. Companies in the upper left deliver great experiences, but infrequently — they need to use mobile to increase the frequency. Think of brands like Nike, with which a customer might interact only two or three times a year, when they buy running shoes. Nike realized that on mobile, people were interacting with mobile brands more often, so they created a whole line of free mobile apps, like the Nike Plus Running app that runners interact with every day. Now the Nike customer thinks of Nike in a favorable light far more often. Those in the lower right deliver frequent experiences, but often disappoint customers. Most telecom operators and banks fall in this quadrant. Fixing customer experience problems is slow and expensive. In the meantime, companies in this quadrant can add good mobile experiences to help counteract the poor ones. Take Verizon, whose tablet app delivers access to 75 channels of TV when viewers are connected to their home networks. This gives customers reasons to think favorably of Verizon many times a day. This app was popular enough to get a three-and-a-half star rating. If you’re in the lower left, mobile probably won’t solve your customer problems. But you can use mobile utility to remind customers that you’re on their side, perhaps by partnering with a digital disruptor in your space. Many health insurers are in this spot, since they typically rate at the bottom of scores like the Forrester Customer Experience Index. One of those insurers, Cigna, helped its subscribers by providing free access to an app that helps with meditation, an app that would otherwise cost subscribers money. As more and more customers make the mobile mind shift, companies need to make mobile strategy decisions that match their customers’ experience. Failing to deliver mobile utility could drive these customers away. But choosing the wrong strategy could be costly. Choose based on the quadrant your company lands in, and you’re more likely to create mobile experiences that match your customers’ expectations.
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