To stay ahead of the competition in our increasingly mobile-centric world, CIOs and business leaders need to improve their mobile products and services.
By Samuel Greengard
Business and IT executives face the onerous task of unlocking ongoing gains from mobile technology. Here are five ways to dial into these gains:
Use responsive design. Too many businesses continue to rely on mobile sites that simply redraw a Website for a mobile device. Rejiggering text and graphics was fine a few years ago, but the landscape has changed dramatically. Responsive design means coding so that content—text, pictures, video and other elements—not only fits the screen optimally but displays in a way that makes it easy to use and navigate.
Unleash killer apps. It's perplexing how little thought goes into some consumer-facing apps. They're either clunky or don't work as advertised. Others border on incredible. They automate check-in at airports and hotels, let us deposit checks, and purchase items at the click of a button. Today, design and usability are critical, but they do no good if the app doesn't address a real-world problem or make a user's life easier or better.
Integrate across channels. Quite a few companies—retailers are among the worst offenders—operate online and brick and mortar functions as if they're two different worlds. You're unable to start an order online and, if the item is out of stock, check availability in stores. Or you can't begin configuring a product on one device and complete the task on another later. Even worse is the chasm between pixels and paper. You want customers to adore your brand? Create an experience where channels don't seem to exist.
Get real with real-time. Businesses have made great strides in providing boarding passes, loyalty program info and even accepting payments through apps. But there's often latency between the transaction and the information that displays on the device. For example, e-boarding passes for flights don't display current gate information while marketing promotions arrive in an inbox after they've expired. The most absurd incident occurred recently while renting a car in Miami. Hertz sent me a text telling me the space number to pick up my rental car. But I received the text after I had already stood in line at the Hertz booth and driven it off the lot.
Let the customer be king. The digital version of the old axiom centers on putting the customer in charge of his or her data. Let people decide what marketing materials—e-mails, text messages and push notifications—they want to receive. Let them select privacy settings and opt in rather than forcing them to opt out. You will have a lot happier and far more loyal customers because they won't feel bothered or bullied.
About the Author
Samuel Greengard is a contributing writer for CIO Insight. To read his previous CIO Insight blog post, "Being Intelligent About Your Assets," click here.