This month we polled you, our dear readers, on the importance of mobile in your Customer Experience Management strategy. The results are in and what we see is that mobile is rapidly taking a seat right next to your normal websites, and will likely soon move out in front.

Mobile is No Longer an Add-On

Mobile enabling your digital content and platforms is something many have talked about and done in some form or another for some years now. But mobile was often an afterthought.

Times have changed though -- mobile access is quickly becoming a primary concern. At least that's what our poll is telling us. Over 28% indicated at mobile and web are equally important. 14% said that mobile is their primary digital channel. A further 22% said it is important, but the website still takes priority.

Nearly 45 percent of respondents indicated that mobile is equally or more important than the desktop web experience.


Poll Results: Importance of Mobile in Customer Experience Strategy

The Growth of Mobile

To give a little perspective there isn't a day that goes by that we aren't reading some survey or research on how mobile devices have grown and mobile access has increased. IDC has said that there will be a billion smartphones shipped by 2015. In another report, technology analyst Chetan Sharma says that the mobile industry will account for 2% of the global economy's output in 2011.

Gartner Research has predicted that mobile web usage will exceed desktop web usage by 2013.

Whether it's a smartphone like the iPhone, BlackBerry or an Android device, or a tablet like the iPad or Playbook, mobile access to your website has likely increased significantly. This is something you simply can't ignore.

Supporting the Mobile Consumer

It's certainly not enough to offer your existing website on a mobile device. It's a good starting point, but make sure you refactor it for the device sizes.

Mobile users are different from website surfers, they typically have a reason to visit your site, are looking for something specific or have a particular thing they need to do. This means that offering a mobile view of your normal website is not enough. You have to rethink from the mind of the mobile visitor and design your mobile experience to support their primary tasks.

In our recent tweet jam, Managing the Mobile Experience, mobile was recognized as an important element to a digital marketing strategy. As Rich Blank pointed out in a tweet:

"it's about the 360 degree user experience."

Learning Opportunities

You have to reach your customers where-ever they are. Billy Cripe agreed that the experience is different for mobile: "Remember that mobile is quick, goal oriented & immediate. Your info, your system, your app should support that user paradigm".

Mobile Challenges Abound

Mobile web vs mobile app is probably the smallest decision you will come across when defining your mobile strategy. Yes the technology is critical, but the strategy itself still remains the toughest challenge.

According to Martijn van Berkum, "engagement on mobile is completely different, so most customers have 2 processes, design & process integration is not there yet". But it needs to be an integrated, seamless customer experience across all your channels.

Providing the right content at the right time across channels is still not easy.

When Mobile Isn't Important

19% of poll respondents said that mobile is not very important -- that their primary focus is still the desktop web. Many (most?) organizations still haven't figured out desktop web customer experience. So this is not terribly surprising.  

But we caution readers that ignoring your mobile customers is costly, even if they are a still a relatively small percentage of your visitors.

Noodle on this:

  • Mobile customers are early adopters who are probably more influential and probably spending more money online. Annoy them at your peril.
  • Designing for mobile requires different thinking. Mobile is the future. Start your learning curve now.
  • Designing for mobile teaches you to think from the users' perspective and prioritize customer tasks. This is incredibly valuable and will have positive effects across the board, even for your desktop web experience design.

A few articles to help you on the path: