In this post, I’m going to think from a consumer’s perspective about the attitude I’d like to see a provider display when engaging customers through mobile. I think providers should always be asking themselves why someone would use their app or mobile site in preference to another. If they are not, then they will lose. In this post I’ve limited myself to just five approaches (though there are many more).
1. Make your purpose clear
Let me know what you stand for and how you will improve my life (this sounds a bit like branding). It’s not your product or service that is key, but the problem that you solve for me or the enhancement that you provide. For example, social networks enable me to keep in touch with my friends, tell them what I’m doing and know what they are doing. I recently came across an app called localmind that lets me tap into the local knowledge of complete strangers to ask for specific recommendations.
2. Take advantage of the fact that I am using mobile
When I use a mobile device, you have access to information such my location, so use it to make my experience simpler, quicker and (can I say financially) more rewarding. A great blog post on this subject, “Get More From Mobile With Location-Based Services,” looks at how others are using location. Take, for example, Starbucks, which uses location info to provide special offers, coupons or just a reminder to stop by. Or consider how the new Samsung S4 introduced a humidity sensor; will it know when I’m in the sauna?
3. Engender trust
I share information about myself with you, the provider, so use it for the purpose intended and keep it safe. Security and privacy are really important to me, so your policy (and commitment) should be clear—and not hundreds of pages long. There are lots of examples of where this has failed; a high profile example is Facebook.
4. Help me make an informed choice
I’m human and have only my own experience to guide me. Please help me make better-informed choices by making it easier for me to access information available online—for example, other people’s restaurant reviews. I’m a vegetarian and it can be difficult to find somewhere to eat, especially if I don’t want pizza again. In the past I had to search manually using Google and base my decision only on the menu. I now use an app called Happycow that allows me to see restaurant reviews from likeminded people, arranged in order of distance from my location. Not only do I save time, but I’ve also found some good places to eat.
5. Make it functional or make it fun
There are things I need to do, such as pay bills, and doing these through mobile should be simple and no fuss. There are other things I want to do that should be fun. Consider the example of my wife, who is planning to do an 18-mile walk for charity. She is using the nike+running app to keep track of her training (distance, time, improvement and so on). It adds an extra social layer to what could be a mundane activity, so that she can and her friends can compare their progress, making it more of a game.
Every organization will take their own journey on the road of mobile enablement, and they need to realize that the mobile user experience will be the premiere interaction point. It encompasses many facets, from relevance to simplicity. It is not about the same old; it is about the new and bold. Success will come to those that listen and adapt, but hasn’t that always been the case?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on user experience and how providers can better engage customers. Please respond in the comments below or connect with me on Twitter.Tweet