Are You Enabling Mobile Moments?

Kevin Payne | August 27, 2014

Take-aways from a Forrester-led Panel at the Churchill Club

Would you give your cell phone to someone you literally just met? This was what Ted Schadler, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research asked us to do at a recent Churchill Club event “Mobile Moments: The New Battleground for Customers” held in Silicon Valley. The point of this exercise was to make us feel uncomfortable. Why? Because, for most of us, our lives are on our smart phones. Our smart phones contain our personal data, history, location information, photos, apps, you name it…the smart phone is our hub. Lose it and you’re lost.

Schadler hosted a discussion with panelists from Facebook, Redfin, Twilio and Greylock Partners. Here are some interesting takeaways from the discussion:

The mobile experience is drastically different from the web experience. How people use various devices is fundamentally different. This requires businesses to rethink how they do business with digital natives. On mobile devices, consumers want “help on demand” and content needs to be instantly relevant. Communications – that is, the act of communicating – are actually part of the mobile experience and trust is developed through the communications process. Where the web drives towards “self-service,” mobile drives to true “service” (think Uber).

  • Businesses want to control the entire stack of the service experience. In the service economy, businesses like Uber want to control experience from start to finish. This is not true for many or most web experiences. Addressing this requires reengineering the entire process for businesses, at a cost of $189B by 2017 (according to Forrester).

  • Application engagement is the new metric. With 94% of apps on smartphones going unused after six months, the metrics need to change from the current thinking of “application downloads” to “application engagement.”

  • Experimentation (such as A/B testing) leads to data driven design. The UX will look different for different people and delivers true personalization.

  • Overcoming the privacy and personalization paradox requires a clear value exchange. The tradeoff between what service you get and what information you’re willing to share requires a clear value exchange.

  • Support both native apps and HTML5. Because you can’t control how your customers come to you, you need to support both.

  • Support for the mobile web is table stakes. If you’re not doing that much, you’re already losing.

But I found the last point of the panel perhaps the most intriguing. The point was: In a world where probably thousands of mobile apps are introduced each month, the battle will be for them to be discovered and used. One of the panelists said that this isn’t a marketing problem. Mobile apps must have utility…they must add value or they won’t be used. No amount of marketing will overcome application shortcomings.

Additional perspectives on this topic are covered in a new book The Mobile Mindshift which was co-authored by Ted Schadler and other Forrester analysts. It’s a great study on how our mobile society is changing the way we do business and provide customer service.

The book references a [24] case study involving American Express which uses a multi-modal solution for credit card charge verification for a mobile phone. I have a limited number of copies and, if you’d like one, please email me.