The mobile workforce expands as the mobile infrastructure affords workers the opportunity to accomplish work from any location worldwide. According to reports produced by IDC, mobile workers will reach 1.1 billion by the end of 2011. With numbers of this magnitude, mobile CRM has to adapt to address this work style. Several mobile CRM trends have emerged from the evolution of mobile marketing and the mobile workforce.
Trends of the Mobile Workforce
(Courtesy of Flickr User:Gauravonomics)
Social Media Integration
Sales and marketing professionals utilize social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Linked in to communicate with customers. The social media portals provide a ready group of people that are interested in the product and may have insight on how to improve the product or services. Promotional deals are offered to loyal customers in exchange.
Customer complaints and issues may also be addressed through Facebook and Twitter. Special mobile applications allow companies to transform both social media platforms into powerful CRM applications. Concerns may be addressed while traveling outside of the office. Conversations may be monitored to address concerns of the consumer.
Location and Context-Based Services
Mobile marketing has expanded to include real-time deals to customers as they approach a business. For instance, social media applications such as Foursquare reward repeat customers with free merchandise when they “check in” a certain number of times. Other applications will send alerts to the user’s phone to offer free or discounted merchandise. Discounts are an incentive to come into the store and shop for products.
Mobile payment software allows users the convenience of paying for their merchandise with their phone. This software combines with location-based marketing software to give customers an incentive for coming into the store. Upon payment with the mobile device, the coupon will be automatically applied to the payment. This is an important aspect of mobile CRM that will help marketers understand how customers shop especially with the rise of new mobile broadband technology.
Upgrading to the new mobile payment system will require a $13 billion investment, according to Winterberry Group. The infrastructure needs to remain secure to avoid theft and accidental transactions. Experts expect the new payment system would result in an economic boost for retail. Mobile payment must be embraced by more retailers before the investment will be made. Supermarkets and Starbucks are currently, the target markets for mobile payment systems.
Mobile CRM applications may send the user a message about a concert that may be playing near the user’s current location. Consumers may also receive information about a particular dealership offering deals on vehicles. The message may encourage them to come by for a test drive.
- Usability Improvements and Relevance
Focus groups are formed to increase usability of devices. Many companies recognize the importance of focus groups to provide devices that consumers want. Maximizer, for instance, developed a focus group to create a mobile CRM dashboard. The dashboard may be customized to maximize the user’s experience.
Currently, special applications and websites must be designed to increase usability of the device while on the go. Mobile touchscreens must also be enhanced to allow users to navigate the sites and applications quickly and efficiently. If the application takes longer to use than it would take to drive back to your office to complete the task, then the application is not useful. Of course, the exception would be in instances where it is not possible to reach the office or if the mobile worker is waiting for a client, flight or other appointment.
The ergonomics of the device must reduce fatigue when used for long periods of time. Otherwise, the benefits of the mobility will be diminished. As the technology improves, the mobile workforce expands.
New Face of Sales and Marketing
Mobile CRM has changed customer attitudes about interactions with companies. Consumers inquire, “What will I gain from shopping with your company?” Customers must be convinced and enticed to shop at a particular store and become a loyal customer. Companies not only need to be aware of how to offer promotional deals, but they must ensure that they can also operate the mobile devices.
Mobile marketing has many implications for companies. The concept focuses on warm leads instead of advertising deals to the masses. Once a customer is in the store, companies can assume that the client has a need for at least one of their products. If the company knows the buyer’s preferences through their mobile phone, companies can appeal to their desires and offer discounts to increase the opportunity for a sale. This decreases the company’s marketing budget and increases revenue. Increased revenue and improved CRM will improve the company’s brand image.
The future of CRM may become a lucrative endeavor. Mobile marketing will become more personalized to the consumer’s preferences. Companies must strike a balance between making the experience seem as though the customer is watched as opposed to simply offering a specialized deal to a consumer.
This is a guest article by Ruben Corbo, a writer for the website Broadband Expert where you can find internet service providers in your area and compare prices on different deals for your mobile broadband needs.
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