Author: Brad Epker
Last month, Pew Research released it’s Mobile Fact Sheet*. It shows that while overall mobile phone ownership went up only 13 percentage points from 2011 to 2019, smartphone ownership increased by a whopping 46 points–from 35% in 2011 to 81% in 2019.
Smartphone ownership is even higher for the following subsets of the US population:
- Ages 30-49: 92%
- Ages 18-29: 96%
- Attending some college: 85%
- College graduates: 91%
- Urban dwellers: 83%
- Suburban dwellers: 83%
If any of these are your target demographics, you have a huge opportunity to improve customer experience. Adding bi-directional sms text messaging and Instant Apps–mobile pages that deliver an app-like experience–allows users to update data, sign documents, make purchases, reschedule appointments and more.
Reluctance to download mobile apps is a real trend
Keep in mind that with today’s privacy concerns, not everyone wants to download a mobile app. We’ve all downloaded apps from retailers, travel companies, restaurants and service providers only to uninstall later. Why? It was taking up space on our phones, and the same information could just as easily be accessed via a mobile-friendly website. Pew Research also found that 6 in 10 users decided against downloading a mobile app because of the data and permissions that were required from them.** Concerns about privacy are clearly on the rise.
The Mobile Fact Sheet also detailed how 1 in 5 Americans aged 18 and over actually rely completely on their smartphones for internet connectivity, meaning they did not have a broadband internet connection at home.
What does this mean for your customers, members, users, travelers, or students? It means that offering service and support options over mobile (via text and mobile browser) is essential. In addition, mobile engagement sees increased retention rates, improved customer service and satisfaction scores, and drives more positive engagement with your brand.
A Cautionary Tale
Maybe you have experienced something similar. You need a ticket for a bus, boat, train or other public transportation, but the app isn’t working for you, and you’re running out of time before departure. Of course, you don’t have cash, because who carries cash except for your great aunt, Harriet. This happened to @da_peter while trying to use a Long Beach water taxi service.
Peter could have quickly paid and received a confirmation, if had the option to text a number with his request for a ticket. The process be done in moments, requiring less total data usage than using a traditional mobile app.
The automated sms text messaging and Instant App shown above can be deployed without a developer in as little as an hour using the Chatbox enterprise messaging platform. This easy way to make a ticket purchase would have given @da_peter a far better customer experience. Instead, he vented frustrations on Twitter. Unfortunately for @lbtransit, it wasn’t the first example of users taking to the social medium to air grievances, even though they were understandable customer support challenges on Long Beach Transit’s part.
As long as there are trips to book, products to purchases, donations to make, and schedules to change, customers will be looking for better, faster options. And if they can’t find them, they can and will go elsewhere.
Brad Epker has over 30 years enterprise sales and sales management, with time split between Fortune 500 C+ sales experience and start-up sales and market development leadership. He received his MBA in Technology Management from the University of Washington and currently serves as Chatbox’s Chief Revenue Officer. In addition, Brad has extensive experience within the Salesforce ecosystem helping companies maintain strong, profitable ISV partnerships. He joined Chatbox after watching traditional communication effectiveness plummet, while text messaging effectiveness continues to increase. Chatbox now brings this power and efficacy to business.