According to Wasp Barcode's Small Business Report, 43% of small businesses say improving customer experience and retention is their top strategy for revenue growth. When customer experience is a priority, mobile must be too - and here's why:
Mobile is a major touch-point
Martin Zwilling describes customer experience as "the cumulative impact of multiple touch-points over time, which result in a real relationship feeling, or lack of it."
With mobile search overtaking desktop search last year, and mobile social users more likely to interact with brands than desktop users, mobile isn't just one touch-point of many -it's arguably the most important touch-point.
Mobile social users are often multi-tasking - whether they're live-tweeting their thoughts on the TV show they're watching, or checking a restaurant's Facebook page while arranging dinner plans with a friend. The online and the offline converge, with each heightening the experience of the other.
In situations like this, mobile is more than just a touch-point - it's a way of becoming a part of the customer's offline word. Yet Wasp's report shows that only 80% of small businesses are using social media at all.
Being available when the consumer needs you to be is integral to a good customer experience: consumers should be able to reserve tables, buy products, and access information wherever and whenever they need to. If they can't do that with your brand, you can bet they'll do it with your competitor instead.
And while having a mobile-friendly website or a useful app is a good start, you also need to understand how mobile changes consumer behavior.
Mobile means new habits
Mobile means we're always connected, but it also changes the way we connect - and if you're not focusing on that, then you're not all that focused on customer experience.
When we consume content on mobile, our needs are different. Text is harder to read on small-screen-surface devices, leading brands and consumers to rely more on visual content to communicate. Video accounted for 55% of total mobile data traffic in 2015 - a figure that's predicted to rise to 75% by 2020. Platforms like Vine and Periscope make video more accessible to DIY marketers, and there are plenty of free online tools that can help with visual content creation. There's no excuse not to give customers the mobile experience they need.
The right experience for all customers
Conversely, the shift towards mobile also means that a good customer experience is often a minimal experience - particularly where eCommerce is concerned. The Amazon app does this brilliantly. If you know what you're looking for, you can find that product and "Buy now with 1-click" in about 60 seconds.
Busy consumers don't always want an "Experience with a capital E" - they just want to complete an activity as quickly and easily as possible. Only by understanding the kind of experience your customers want - be it entertaining and engaging, quick and painless, or somewhere in the middle - can you make sure you brand is providing it.
But it's not just B2C customers looking for a great mobile experience - this applies on the B2B front as well.
Over 70% of executives under the age of 40 say their mobile device is their primary communication tool, so if you're not engaging them on the go, your brand's visibility and sales will suffer.
From researching to reaching out, decision-makers are going mobile - and if you're nowhere to be found, your customers won't be either.
How is your small business using mobile to improve customer experience and retention?