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Why companies shouldn't overlook mobile customer engagement

Companies that have a mobile customer engagement strategy can improve personalization, connect with customers over various channels and provide an easy buying process.

Mobile customer engagement enables businesses to increase brand loyalty, so it is important for organizations to have well-thought-out strategies that focus on how mobile apps fit into their overarching goals and offerings.

Mobile touchpoints can lead customers to other channels, such as a company's website, social media or in-person interactions. Companies are investing in their mobile apps -- new and existing alike -- to boost customer engagement and reap long-term growth benefits without a huge marketing budget.

Customer engagement -- like most aspects of customer experience -- does not operate from a single playbook. With no singular way to approach it, it evolves with market changes and customer expectations.

Customer engagement continues to face challenges as the marketplace and customer expectations continue to evolve. With each new digital introduction making a customer feel known, it becomes harder for marketers to keep up and provide an integrated experience across all mobile, social and messaging channels. 

What is customer engagement?

Customer engagement systems aim to create and strengthen customer relationships through multiple forms of interactions with clients. Businesses can use a customer engagement platform -- such as Avaya, Nuance Digital Engagement Platform and Pega -- which provides and centralizes capabilities to enable multiple interactions including social media, web, chat, individualized marketing and the ability to integrate CRM capabilities.

Mobile customer engagement emphasizes the ease of customer interaction, effortless experience and convenience within customer experience. People want to interact and engage with organizations and brands in the most convenient ways -- and in most cases, mobile devices are more convenient than a desktop or tablet because they are rarely more than a hand grab away. Interactions can include a chat feature on a mobile app or website, or using an app to make a call -- so mobile device usage is unlikely to slow down.

While desktop systems traditionally provided capabilities not enabled on mobile devices, more and more mobile apps enable functionality that mirrors the desktop. Users can complete most -- if not all -- functions on mobile devices.

Marketers look at user experience to present and optimize content based on the screen size of the particular device a customer uses and through apps and social media to improve engagement. Regardless of whether consumers spend their time checking email, engaging with friends on social media, working or shopping, consumers can engage with businesses no matter the screen size or channel.

Importance of personalization in a mobile customer engagement strategy

Mobile customer engagement is a point of differentiation between companies that have a well-designed and -executed mobile app and those that do not. Companies that exceed customer experience expectations stand out against their competition by providing a personalized experience, an effortless buying process and new engagement possibilities to meet customer needs.

Businesses deliver personalized experiences by knowing customers and their needs -- including through mobile apps. This begins by using customer data to develop customer personas. Once an organization develops personas, they can then design personalized marketing efforts and use the personas to identify customer needs. Organizations can create personalized experiences by:

  • empowering sales and service representatives with a strong CRM system to knowledgeably interact with customers with information about the customer;
  • offering customers a well-designed self-service experience, which enables them to resolve issues on their own or interact with the company on their terms rather than dealing with support centers;
  • providing support through multiple channels -- including social media, web chat and phones -- to serve customers where they are most comfortable; and
  • personalizing content.

What mobile means for the digital experience

While businesses collect a great deal of information about their customers through traditional website pages, organizations can learn a lot more about customers from data that they capture through mobile apps. Apps often capture information about the user, including how often they interact with the brand's app, how they shop and which categories they frequently shop. The result is that the business collects more information about the user and in turn enables the business to enhance personalization and provide additional targeting and cross-selling opportunities. Businesses can personalize the experience by sending push notifications via an app for sales promotions, order updates, shipping and delivery details.

Push messaging can be a plus for businesses that have an app, but it must provide value to the customer.

Apps can also boost sales by increasing brand loyalty, the time a consumer interacts with a brand and the odds of making a sale. One engagement technique is to push promotional offers when a customer is in close proximity to a favorite brand's brick-and-mortar location. The more time a customer spends interacting with a brand via their mobile app, the less likely it is that the consumer will purchase from a competitor.

Mobile engagement requires ongoing customer touchpoints through various interactive channels, including mobile apps, email, social media and text messaging. However, it's not enough for businesses to have these channels without having a strategic approach. Brand messaging, which connects to the content strategy, must engage customers. Businesses must keep content consistent and actionable across channels, as well as update content dynamically based on the channel. For example, companies can use text messaging to reinforce more expensive email messaging campaigns and social media campaigns, which directs customers to view updated web messaging content.

Push messaging can be a plus for businesses that have an app, but it must provide value to the customer. For example, messaging may provide tips to better use a business's service, discounts on their next purchase and offers that support additional products the customer previously purchased.

Push messaging is an engagement tactic with high open rates that enables businesses to send relevant and targeted messages to customers. Push messaging results in a marketing channel that operates as a channel separate from email marketing, social media and the company's website to communicate with clients quickly. While push messaging enables businesses to give updates to customers, organizations should avoid sending too many messages. Using push messaging too frequently may annoy customers and cause them to delete the app, especially if the customer is not familiar with technology and doesn't know how to adjust notification settings. Businesses should analyze their data and see which customers frequently use the app and control the number of notifications they receive.

The future of mobile customer engagement

Target marketing -- the process a company uses to identify which customers it wants to sell its products and services to -- is the next frontier in mobile engagement, combined with the power of AI. Mobile engagement platform leaders such as Braze and Urban Airship use AI, data and personalization to drive mobile marketing.

Mobile marketing enables businesses to improve decisions on where and how to target and spend marketing dollars, as well as how to engage customers. Organizations can use this customer information to make analytically-based predictions about engagement opportunities, such as sales, promotions and new content offers across customer segments.

Companies looking to evolve and gain a competitive advantage not only embrace mobile, but also AI to build personalized experiences to outperform their competitors. Businesses can use AI to improve customer service through agents, chatbots, virtual assistants and machine-learning communication platforms. AI-powered customer service enables organizations to look at customers on an individual basis to deliver personalized marketing, sales and customer service.

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