More people than ever are running their lives with the help of smartphones, tablets and other hand-held devices; making arrangements, shopping and working while on the go. It’s a concept that would have appeared absurd not too long ago, but is now second nature. Many people confess that looking at their device is the first and last thing they do every day.
From a business perspective, however, it’s getting progressively harder to communicate and engage with this new breed of mobile consumer. As such, there has been a need for more innovative, relevant ways in which to meet the market’s ever-ascending expectations and improve the customer experience to promote brand loyalty. For many businesses, a customer relationship management (CRM) platform has proved an effective solution to understanding their customers better and increasing sales.
CRM: meeting mobile customers’ expectations
CRM is software used by businesses to manage their customer information and interactions with a view to achieving more conversions, repeat sales and referrals. Customers’ and prospects’ information is captured and retained on a central database for use in sales and marketing campaigns. CRM can integrate with other systems and software to create a fuller picture of an individual, which in turn facilitates more personal, engaging interactions.
Naturally, the CRM platform doesn’t exist on its own; there are important thought processes and contact strategies behind it – the effectiveness of which determines a campaign’s success or failure.
If used in the right way, this platform can improve contact strategies very effectively, offering features that align with the ways in which mobile consumers want brands to interact with them. While countless businesses use a form of CRM, they must apply their strategies and though processes to mobile consumers if they want to create or retain competitive advantage.
The importance of applying relevant CRM strategies to the mobile consumer
Customer behaviour has changed with the advent of mobile devices; less frequently are we visiting the High Street or making purchases from desktop PCs. Mobile consumers use their plethora of smartphones and tablets not simply to save time, but because modern life is totally mobile now. Two-thirds of adults believe that they are more efficient purely through use of a mobile device, so says marketing research agency Millward Brown.
When it comes to contact strategies, mobile consumers want to receive communication that is personal and relevant to them, which is no easy feat given just how diverse these customers actually are. Businesses must take these differences into consideration, using CRM strategies to segment them perhaps by gender, location or by info gleaned via integration with other systems. This will ensure the delivery of more appropriate communications – on topics of which they have an active interest. They want to feel like they are an individual, not just a faceless name on a database. That way, businesses are far more likely to receive some sort of positive interaction from the recipient.
Meeting these demands requires a different approach towards managing the customer life-cycle. The process needs to be more considered, timely and customised, but this can be achieved when utilising techniques of a robust CRM strategy.
As mobile consumers account for an ever-increasing proportion of the market, contact strategies must reflect these preferences. Using mobile is about nurturing a relationship with a consumer, where engagement and interaction takes place over the course of several years; building loyalty and trust. After all, the majority of mobile transactions are made by returning customers.
CRM’s role in improving the customer relationship
The flexibility and scope contained within a CRM platform makes creating and driving relevant contact strategies simple, so enhancing customer relationships should not be too challenging. As mentioned above, the solution’s ability to integrate with other systems can promote an all-encompassing and convenient marketing approach, one that communicates with mobile consumers at every stage of the sales life-cycle and improves customer experience.
A good example might be signing-up to online banking. The bank might implement an SMS marketing strategy to send out a welcome text, balance updates and warnings about going overdrawn. It could contact the account holder with information on other products that might be of interest based on their spending habits or location. It might issue reminders about collecting travel money or fire off security alert texts when a transfer has taken place. The range of helpful interaction is almost inexhaustible.
The result? The account holder believes their bank treats them as an individual, helps them manage their money, prioritises security and has their best interests at heart. Essentially, engagement skyrockets and the happy customer becomes a brand advocate, happy to refer a business’s services to friends, via an easy-to-understand referral CRM strategy.
The availability of real-time data, due to this integration with other channels, promotes a more comprehensive understanding of customers’ needs, enabling more effective targeting and proactive, quality communication, which in turn helps to build strong relationships.
Text is best
Of all devices, the mobile phone reigns supreme, but not for making calls. The Mobile Operators Association has discovered a decline in mobile call volumes, a trend that has been partly attributed to the increasing use of text.
Ninety-two per cent of British adults own a mobile phone, according to the MOA, which they use predominantly for the sending and receiving text messages. The average user sends and receives 50 texts per week and looks at their phone 150 times per day, according to marketing brand, JWT. Consequently, SMS marketing is a channel which ought to be most urgently incorporated into CRM contact strategies, serving as an efficient way to reach and engage with customers.
The findings are interesting as they suggest that consumers would rather be contacted via text and not cold-called. What’s more, a text will be opened and read pretty much instantly, whereas a phone call from an unknown number is likely to be ignored.
What are the benefits?
Using CRM to improve mobile consumer contact strategies provides businesses with myriad benefits. To recap, the platform can integrate with other software to collate more useful information about a prospect. This information can be used to create more targeted and customised communications which mobile consumers will find engaging and welcome. The information gleaned can be used to cross-sell other relevant products and increase sales.
In addition to this, CRM allows for easy monitoring and measurement of a campaign, enabling businesses to focus their sales and marketing efforts to achieve maximum return on investment.
Various studies have predicted that use of mobile devices is set only to rise further, with usage set to exceed that of the ‘fixed internet’. Thus the opportunities for businesses are endless. Of course, as far as the mobile consumer is concerned, convenience is key. If businesses can create strategies that make an individual’s life easier, they are far more likely to succeed and grow faster.
Essentially, for a company to build or maintain competitive edge, they must ensure they are using contact strategies that will be most capable of attracting mobile consumers. A CRM platform and the associated thought processes around it are key components of any such endeavour, offering flexible solutions which align perfectly with mobile consumer’s needs. Its importance in improving mobile consumer contract strategies cannot be underestimated.