When it comes to mobile, most people are confident that it’s the next, best tool in customer engagement. This week, it’s both the best and worst tool. Let us explain.

Mobile the Worst

A recent report by the Econsultancy, produced in association with Tealeaf, found that poor user experience is costing online business billions in lost revenue, due to site abandonment. Most notably, mobile was rated the worst of five channels for quality of customer experience.

 

Respondents were asked to rate their channels for quality of customer experience

Respondents were asked to rate their channels for quality of customer experience

The survey seems to suggest that poor customer service is the result of companies' lack of investment in mobile, and the fact that some are yet to see it as a valuable channel. However, it’s unclear whether their lack of investment is based on the fact that only a third of respondents said that mobile Internet was relevant for sales (30%) and contact or service (32%). With such mixed signals, it’s understandable how companies could be confused about mobile’s role in customer engagement.

Mobile the Best

In contrast, a report by comScore titled "The State of the U.S. Mobile Advertising Industry and What Lies Ahead” shows that mobile social media use nearly doubled in past year. Comparing usage between March 2010 and March 2011 shows that every category measured showed growth, with social networking and map usage on mobile nearly doubling.

Top 10 mobile categories

Top 10 mobile categories

As a result, comScore says that mobile is “a really big deal” and companies need to focus their attention on implementing more direct and indirect marketing approaches, using mobile platforms and mobile advertising to increase engagement. However, comScore’s report acknowledges that different consumer behaviors depend on what they’re doing. A majority of mobile users (34%) use their phones to talk and text. 21% are primarily using SMS, MMS or IM to communicate. In third place are super connectors (19%), who use their mobile devices to gain access to the Internet, at least weekly.

Types of mobile phone users

Types of mobile phone users

Regardless, You Need a Mobile Engagement Strategy

If you’re confused, you’re not alone. Depending upon your customers, mobile is either the best method for reaching them, or it’s not. Yet, it’s a good idea to develop an engagement strategy no matter where your audience is. Fortunately, Tom Hyden, chief marketing officer and co-founder of 44Doors, offered some tips for blending social media with mobile. Among his best advice, Hyden reminds us that mobile is just the beginning. After all, a mobile site should be a “touch point” and not an end point for interactions and conversations. Amen.