By Steve French, Global VP of Product Management & Marketing, OpenMarket for Pipeline
Today’s connected customers expect interaction with preferred businesses to be three things: quick, easy and secure – and most importantly they want this communication to occur via mobile. As consumers become increasingly receptive to interacting with enterprises through their smartphones, Gartner took it a step further and predicted that by 2020 customers will manage 85 percent of their own relationships with enterprises without any human interaction at all.
As we enter 2016, what does this shift in consumer mindset mean for mobile technology? Below are the biggest ways we believe mobile will impact enterprises and their customers in 2016 – and how enterprises must adapt their mobile technology strategies to succeed with customers. In addition, mobile network operators should consider how they can leverage mobile to improve the experience for their own customers – both consumers and enterprises. This means supporting the mobile requirements and unique needs of their enterprise customers in order to differentiate from the competition and generate new revenue streams.
SMS and Mobile Web Communication Will Beat Mobile Apps
There are over 1.6 million apps available to today’s consumers; but quantity does not mean quality, or that the apps are actually being used. In fact, 80-90% of downloaded apps are only used once and then deleted, according to Compuware. Whether it’s poor user experience, too much required personal or sensitive information, or app overload; the results are the same: the majority of consumers are not finding enough value in most apps, and thus they are bypassing or deleting them altogether. With the enterprise challenge of getting customers to find utility in their apps and keep the apps on their smartphones, it’s important for companies to adapt and reach consumers where they want to be reached in 2016.The more efficient and direct way for enterprises to deliver information is via text messaging or the mobile web.
People spend an average of 2.7 hours on the mobile web daily and 90% of text messages are read within three minutes of delivery. They also prefer to communicate via text – 75% want to receive offers sent to them via SMS specifically. Given mobile messaging’s ability to directly deliver relevant and useful information that will be read within minutes, as well as consumers’ preferences for communication via mobile and specifically texting, enterprises will benefit from using both channels. In 2016 we will see companies lessen their focus on mobile apps and increase the mix of mobile web and text messaging – as an optimal approach to communicate with consumers.
Enterprises Will Beef Up Mobile Security With SMS Capabilities
Each year, thousands of security breaches occur around the world – even with the biggest, most established companies. The year 2014 alone resulted in the theft of over 1 billion records of personal identifiable information (PII), and consumers are becoming more aware and fearful of personal ID theft. With 17% of people using their mobile phone for most of their online browsing, it’s essential for mobile communication to be secure. In fact, more than half of app users have uninstalled or decided to not install an app due to concerns about their personal information. It’s up to enterprises to gain consumers’ trust with communication avenues that are safe and protected.
Interestingly, despite mass SMS adoption (88% of organizations are already using text messaging in some form); few enterprises have been leveraging its capabilities to increase customer security. By utilizing, for example, mobile pin two-factor authentication (2FA), an enterprise is able to automatically authenticate a user’s ID to mitigate the risk of theft of personal information. Taking advantage of SMS for heightened security purposes will be an easy and much needed next step for carriers in 2016.
Mobile Messaging Will Give Call Centers Deep Insights
By communicating with customers via mobile, enterprises are provided with a variety of critical, individualized data – contact and transaction information, and interaction history and information across phone, chat, email, social media and SMS. And what’s the best way to interact with consumers? Know who they are and what they like in order to better serve them.In 2016, thanks to text messaging, contact centers will have more valuable 360-degree insights into their customers than ever before. With this information, businesses can turn troves of data from disparate sources into actionable insights to provide customers with a highly-relevant and personalized experience, resulting in increased brand loyalty.
Consumers Will Demand Mobile Customer Service
When it comes to customer service, today’s consumers – especially millennials – are more unforgiving than ever. Eighty-six percent of customers will quit doing business with a company if they have a bad customer service experience, and just a 1% drop in service is equivalent to a 15% drop in customer satisfaction. When they do experience poor service, it’s easier than ever to post a bad review via social media or review sites to damage the company’s reputation. To avoid negative reviews and losing customers, it’s important for companies to provide the type of service their customers want. For millennials – who will make up 75% of the workforce by 2030 – that means receiving information quickly and via mobile.
Millennials hate being told they’re a valued customer while having to wait to speak with a representative for an extended amount of time. In fact, they’d rather avoid speaking on the phone altogether. Today, 64% of millennial consumers prefer texting a company for information versus calling them, and 77% of them have a more positive perception of a company they can reach via mobile messaging.
In addition to pleasing customers with quick and efficient communication, companies using mobile messaging-based customer service will be able to manage multiple inquires at once, allowing them to resolve more inquiries and close customer service tickets at a higher rate. This means companies will have the opportunity to more cost-effectively improve customer retention rates, while creating long-term loyalty and revenue opportunities in the process.
Enterprises must adopt “New Age” communications as consumers look toward Emoji-based mobile messages, increasing their volume by 25% next year. Millennial consumers are ingrained to appreciate the ‘short and sweet’ and personalized – the essence of the emoji. In 2016, more customers will want to interact with enterprises in the same manner. While traditionally thought of as an unconventional business to consumer communication practice, today’s consumer has become accustomed to communicating in such a fashion. In fact, while emojis used to be predominantly texted and tweeted by teens, today there are more 25-29-year-olds identifying as “frequent users” (75.9%) than under-25-year-olds (72.2%), according to Emogi.
Additionally, more than six out of 10 in the age 35+ crowd self-identify as frequent users.A great example of a business using emojis to engage with their customers is Domino’s Pizza, who allows customers to order pizzas by simply texting a pizza emoji directly to the company. The signs are clear: enterprises that don’t begin to adopt this practice will lose valuable mindshare with not just the largest generation today – millennials – but also the generation that precedes them.The bottom line in 2016 is that consumers will have a zero-tolerance policy for service that isn’t prompt, customized and securely delivered via their mobile device.
To succeed with customers and meet their mobile needs, enterprises will need to focus on mobile web and SMS communication, leverage SMS to increase security, and dive into customer insights provided by using text messaging. By integrating SMS in new and unique ways in the coming year, enterprises have an untapped opportunity to enhance the customer experience and build long-term loyalty. For mobile network operators, there is a clear opportunity to improve their own customer experience and to partner with their enterprise customers to provide more mobility solutions.