Customer experience, the mobile phone and common sense

 It is not just consumers that get angry when there is no – or patchy – mobile coverage. The arguments about whether retailers should have a mobile strategy are over. They have to. It is, however, difficult to have a mobile strategy when you have no – or patchy – mobile coverage. When your site hangs, or hangs up, while your customer is browsing, or worse when he is paying, who does he blame?

Leave that aside for now.

Let us pretend, for a moment, that the table stakes have been met. We are in a city, even a small town, and we have ubiquitous, robust, 3G coverage (4G would be nice, and we can dream, but….).

Two studies provide interesting and valuable insights into how common sense – our watchword for this year – should be at the heart of a mobile strategy. One, which provides the interesting, just copy and paste into Powerpoint, statistics, comes from OpenMobile Media. The other, which provides the, ‘yup I had that exact experience the other day’ type insights comes from Practicology (you need to register, but it is fast and worth it).

Some of the statistics are fascinating. According to the research, fully 86 percent of shoppers would prefer to visit the web site of a retailer with a loyalty programme, and 73 percent are interested in interacting with those retailers via their mobile. That said, the actual usage is not there yet. Only 41 percent of people have used a mobile to browse for a product having seen an advert for it, while 53 percent compare in-store prices to online prices.

The insights into what works on a mobile web site prove that those who are the best at showing off their products and services are not necessarily the best at allowing customers to pay easily and seamlessly.

At the ‘front end’ there are some common sense type of rules.

Do not make the tick boxes too small (fat finger syndrome)

Get intuitive with the search results. If a customer enters ‘shoes’ do not just show him every shoe in the shop, ask whether he means men’s, women’s, children’s and whether they are looking for a particular size or colour. You know, like you would in a shop.

More relevant perhaps to our world is the check out process.

Insisting that customers register before they can check out is a real turn off. You need to make check out quick, simple, easy – and informative. If there is no message that says you are processing their payment, they might click the button again, or think the mobile connection has dropped (surely not) or even be sitting or standing there watching nothing happening thinking ‘I wonder how much data I am using up doing absolutely nothing?’

Is date of birth entirely necessary?

Are the ‘mandatory fields’ clearly marked for a mobile device?

When the payment is processing, keep them informed.

There are other common sense insights and statistics from both these sources, but the messages are clear. Customers are on the way to using mobile devices for everything. To help them migrate we must do everything we can to make the journey easy, intuitive and safe.

And to do that, we must think like the customer we are, and use that common sense we have heard so much about.

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About Alex Leslie 400 Articles
Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet.

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