Prioritising mobile first design

Prioritising mobile first design

Mobile first design is not a new concept.

It has been around for more than a decade and it’s used to refer to the strategy of designing and developing digital experiences for mobile devices at the very start of a project; rather than the traditional approach of first designing for desktop and consequently for mobile.

However, the term is possibly more relevant in the business world today than ever before.

As the information we consume online reaches us faster, wherever we are and as the growing use of mobile devices allows us to enjoy services and applications on the move, mobile design can no longer be an afterthought for businesses.

We are clearly moving away from desktop-centric communications to a mobile-centric business world; offering unique, seamless and trouble-free mobile user experience should be a priority for business owners who want to stay ahead of competition and keep attracting customer demand.

People’s increased level of interaction with mobile phones or tablets to access the Internet is rising at an incredible rate; in the UK alone, 74% of people now use a smartphone (up from 51% in 2012) and 65% of all adults use their smartphone as the primary device to go online. This trend inevitably affects daily user demand for features such as faster connectivity and user-friendly design and display.

Mobile user expectations are constantly evolving and businesses that do not want to be left behind need to think about how they can enhance their digital presence on mobile devices.

Despite this increasing pressure, businesses are still failing to deliver great user experience on mobile, suffering the costs as a result: 74% of mobile customers will return to a mobile-friendly site in the future; 67% are more likely to purchase a product or service from a mobile-optimised site than from one that does not display neatly on their mobile screen; and 50% agree that despite liking a business, they will not use them often if the website is not mobile-friendly .

Delivering great mobile user experience

Mobile first design exists to facilitate more than just a seller and buyer relationship. It is a holistic approach to consumer behaviour, it’s about thinking of a customer’s overall online journey on a mobile device. Sleeker structure and core functions such as faster access to information, pages optimised for smaller screens and increased performance across more than one mobile devices are all indicative of effective user experience when developing a mobile first strategy.

Here are some tips to consider when designing and developing a business site for mobile:

1. User understanding

Know who your customers are, their needs, wants, frustrations as well as the tasks they undertake and the context in which they interact with the site. Make your site enjoyable to use and provide relevant content to directly impact your online conversions.

2. One-thumb user centred design

People use their smartphones in various ways to accommodate the size of the device and the context of the website they’re visiting, with 75% being thumb-only users. This means that site content and relevant key actions on larger mobile screens such as tablets, require careful planning and design.

3. The inaccuracy factor

People can inaccurately tap their device screens. Therefore, functions such as ‘delete’, ‘undo’ or ‘empty basket’, should be kept away from other regularly used actions, to avoid accidental taps which can frustrate the user.

4. Centre screen focus

Mobile users have become ‘touch-users’ rather than ‘mouse-clickers’. To account for preferences for viewing and tapping information that is displayed at the centre of the screen, you need to consider the placement of key content and actions.

5. Ease of use

Make your mobile site as intuitive as possible to facilitate user journeys. Investigate ways to minimise the need for typing and focus on design for the touchscreen user. For example when it comes to form filling, consider reducing the number of input fields required.

6. Streamlined processes

Make processes such as signing up, logging in and checking out effortless, to minimise user frustration. Over half of users will quit rather than agreeing to yet another site registration and 92% will give up if they forget a username.

7. Mobile site speed

Speed is paramount when it comes to page load time on mobile devices, with 75% of people in the UK stating that the time it takes to load a page has the most impact on their overall experience. The faster your website loads, the more likely your customers will be to spend more time on it and even return in the future.

13 Smart Ways to Use Social Media for Customer Service

You and your business are likely already on all of the major social networking platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but are you using them to their full potential? One of the latest trends in the world of social media and business, is connecting with customers and audiences through social media to provide better customer support and services.

Social media has become a huge part of nearly every company’s marketing strategy, but it’s not enough to simply share content. Today’s consumers want brands to offer efficient customer service through their social platforms. In fact, according to Social Media Today, nearly 85 percent of consumers expect a company to respond to social media inquiries within 24 hours, and 72 percent expect answers within an hour when they reach out on Twitter.

To best serve your customers, it’s important to meet them where they are and give them the care and attention they need, on whatever platform they’re using. We asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council to share tips on how brands should be using social media for customer service.

1. Pay Attention to How Customers Interact With One Another

The best way to create a great customer experience is to allow your users to interact freely on social media. Your company should be aware of these comments as they give you the best opportunity to provide customer service. If an individual posts a complaint, step in to address that comment and either fix it right away or let the user know why it can’t be implemented.

– Julian Montoya, JM11 Investments

2. Offer an Interactive Experience to Collect Feedback

Social media platforms like Instagram are adding more features to make the experience interactive, such as adding polls to Instagram Stories. We’ve taken advantage of this feature to share new episodes of our podcast. We’ve gathered valuable information about listener interest and have seen our downloads spike as a result.

– Mark Krassner, Expectful

3. Monitor Your Business Name on Social Media

Not everyone who has a problem will contact you directly. Some people will just tweet about it or mention it on another social media site. That’s why it’s important to monitor your name, whether you use Google Alerts or a reputation management tool. This helps you stay informed if anyone has a complaint and shows that you care about satisfying your customers.

– Shawn Porat, Scorely

4. Implement Messenger Bots

Messenger bots are growing ever more sophisticated. It’s a great tool if implemented correctly. People can get their immediate concerns and common questions addressed. When it becomes more complicated, you must have an immediate measure to connect them to a live person. It also helps to mitigate harmful review posts on the public domain itself.

– Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

5. Encourage Customers to Take the Conversation Offline When Necessary

Social media as a customer service tool cannot be applied to all business cases. A quick phone call via social media messenger can provide good support to a customer in need. Social media tools can be used effectively in offering information about your product and services.

– Sachin Narode, Xeniapp Inc.

6. Use Twitter as a Q&A Tool

Avoid paying for third-party AI tools and utilize Twitter as a way to answer questions for your customers. This is also a savvy way to implement subtle advertising, as customers will scan your Twitter page to see if any of their unasked questions have been answered.

– Patrick Barnhill, Specialist ID, Inc.

7. Turn Upset Customers Into Advocates

In my experience, consumers are talking about products on social media more than companies can feasibly get involved. The most effective social media work you do will be serving your upset customers. By owning your mistakes and reaching out to make it right, you can turn loud complaints into praise.

Your audience will appreciate that you care to fix mistakes.

– Alexander Mistakidis, Gamelynx

8. Make It a Conversation

I always compare how you manage social media to how you’re having a conversation with a person in real life. If you’re just making statements about yourself, but not listening or responding to others, it doesn’t work. Make sure you’re listening and engaging with your peers and customers on social media. It can’t just be about you.

– Cassie Petrey, Crowd Surf

9. Foster a Community

Social media has been a very effective customer service tool for us thus far. Having quick response rates is a great way to encourage users to use your product when they may not want to deal with official customer service channels. Reddit can foster discussion between customers and employees, which can develop as a customer service guide for customers in need of a simple fix.

– Zohar Steinberg, token payments

10. Always Respond to Brand Mentions

Consumers use social media platforms for many different purposes. It’s essential to always acknowledge a brand mention or question on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. There are many automated tools that provide alerts for specific brand mentions. It’s good practice to set up these alerts and engage with your audience when you see a brand mention.

– Michael Hsu, DeepSky

11. Enable the Facebook Messenger Pop-Up Window and Use a Chatbot

On Facebook, you can have a message window pop up as soon as someone comes to your page and ask if they can help you. Having that around-the-clock availability to help can be a welcome sign to customers and potential customers.

– Serenity Gibbons, Calendar

12. Share Customer-Centric Content

Don’t solely use social media as a self-promotional marketing platform, but also as a platform to have meaningful conversations with your customers. We often encourage people to tweet us with their questions and concerns. It’s an easy, actionable way of getting in touch rather than emailing or calling. It also helps us put out information that is useful to our customers, such as product tips and tricks.

– Stan Garber, Scout RFP

13. Find a Tool That Integrates All Your Social Channels

Make it clear what channels your company has a presence on and understand that if you post on Facebook and Instagram, you’re going to get direct messages there and customers will expect you to reply just like you reply to emails. Good software that allows your team to see all emails and social messages in one place is the way to go.

– Jeff Cayley, Worldwide Cyclery

How to Make the Most of Your Social Media Efforts

With chatbots and social media now combining powers, it’s likely going to be easier and more effective than ever for brands to start using social media for customer support and user feedback. If this is something of interest to you, be sure to consider each of the options mentioned in our expert answers above.

Timeless content or a one-hit-wonder? Making your content work harder

Five years ago, brands were asking how they could mature their marketing strategy, creating engaging and meaningful content that really captivates their audiences. Today, brands are spending a lot of money on this content; often with huge success.

But others have found that even well-funded, quality content can be something of a one hit wonder, providing only short-term value.

The question is around how brands can extend the lifecycle of their content, to deliver longer term value for themselves beyond just gaining a transactional ‘click through’ when the content is fresh, whilst also creating a more fulfilling journey for the customer.

Here’s three things brands can do in order to achieve this.

Think about long-term engagement with your audience

It’s important that you think about how you want the relationship with your audience to evolve over time rather than just focusing on that first initial engagement. You need to create content which can flex and adapt to the journey that your audience is going on with your product.

Let’s take as an example, say an automotive firm. There is a long ownership cycle with car ownership which brands could tap into at multiple points. The brand-consumer relationship starts with researching, then buying the car.

The purchase is usually based on factors such as emissions, design, performance, price, running costs etc. that have made them select this particular vehicle. However, the purchase could also be influenced by having the opportunity to add things to their car in the future.

the aftersales relationship represents a huge opportunity

The aftersales relationship represents a huge opportunity, too. Some car firms, like Tesla, can make new features available via a software update. Others want you to come in for aftermarket care, everything from services through to vehicle modifications and upgrades.

What’s key here, in delivering these sales opportunities, is that brands stay in touch with their customers and get regular insights on how they use the car. Information about significant events in their personal life such as a big promotion or a new job, for example, can help brands target them in the right time and upsell new features to their loyal customers. When they need them!

Get personalisation right

There are still brands that treat all their customers the same, not tracking the customer journey or paying attention to their past behaviours. And there are some that have embraced personalisation, but fail to deliver the personalised experiences wanted by their audiences.

Research we recently conducted with consumers in the UK shows that they are getting frustrated with bad personal touches. They particularly don’t like it when brands use out-of-date information about them (66%) or get their personal details wrong (63%).

the same audience goes to different platforms for different things

To get ‘mass’ personalisation right, brands need to know their audience even better than they know themselves, and that is achieved by being able to gather, track and analyse customer data across any channel – mobile, social, the store and online –  so that any interaction with consumers is targeted and relevant.

As more brands tap into the power of personalisation, it’s particularly important they create a valuable presence on social media and integrate those with other marketing tactics. The thing to remember is that the same audience goes to different platforms for different things. This means that you need to tweak the content for each platform if we are to be effective and relevant to the audiences on each of those.

They can also embrace personalisation through a data-driven approach (driven by powerful content management and marketing software), which can tell them which topics, areas of interest or products are popular among your audience. This way you will be able to draw a clear picture of your audience and target different customer groups with relevant content.

Freeing data from its siloes

And this leads onto the third point. A lot of this data exists in the organisation today, but it is often locked into a silo (it lives in a marketing automation platform, or siloed application, or salesperson’s head, or in the website analytics alone) which can make it hard to act on.

The study found that the average company holds customer information in six different places. It also found that while brands face pressure to be data-driven they struggle to manage and mine customer data to both inform customer experience strategies and deliver on the promise of personalisation.

the average company holds customer information in six different places

For brands, poorly personalised experiences are often the result of trying to manage with an overwhelming amount of data – typically the ‘personalised’ experiences are based on a single data point rather than the greater whole, such as the jacket you just viewed on an ecommerce site or the last search string you entered.

With pressure from all sides to use data more effectively, many organisations don’t have the appropriate tools and knowledge they need to move forward and meet the expectations of their stakeholders, and, more importantly, their customers. It is these internal obstacles that need to be addressed first, if brands want to be able to deliver the experience their customers desire. Missing out on those valuable customer insights due to poor data management could damage the customer experience, and thus affect the sales.

Every marketer is grappling with these challenges today, and as the background noise reaches a critical level, it’ll take ever more investment in content to cut-through. Marketers need to make sure that the long-tail value of this content is worth as much if not more than the initial spike of success it’ll deliver. Today’s customers have more choice than ever before, so brands have to work incredibly hard to not only get their attention, but to maintain it – and to keep them loyal.