Friendly, Fast, and Mobile: How Smartphone Use is Changing Customer Service
Websites that are not mobile friendly simply do not make the grade anymore argues Richard Jackson, the owner of Watch My Competitor, a program that automatically provides businesses with competitor intelligence.
In the US, 60 % of all internet access happens through mobile and ﹘ if this is the direction that the whole world is moving in ﹘ then there are many businesses out there in big trouble. With so many customers accessing the internet through their phones, the businesses that will succeed will be the ones with mobile friendly websites. This much may seem obvious, and yet 40% of the 500 largest companies in the world don’t have mobile friendly websites.
Google are leading the charge in this mobile revolution by punishing websites that are hard to access via smartphone. They are doling out bad Google rankings for companies who fail to be smartphone friendly and they have written quite a lot on the topic too. One of their boldest claims is that the mobile phone is the “new shop assistant”. Google is able to see the bigger picture, and understand that the mobile internet experience is not just a means to access the internet, but it is the new interface of customer service. It’s a decent insight, but it’s no less than you should expect from the largest website in the world.
Yet many other companies seem to be a lot less enthusiastic about what is happening. The figures speak for themselves: even though 60% of US internet access is happening through mobile, US companies are only spending 25% of their internet marketing budget on mobile content. This big gap in spending might be explained by a large gap in skills. In the UK, there are 750,000 technology and digital roles that are going unfilled because people are not trained enough to fill them. Across the pond, this same issue costs the US economy 1.4 trillion dollars every year.
With large companies unable to meet consumers’ demands quickly enough, the technology world is at an exciting crossroads. Technology journalist Jon Card argues that the next generation of employees and employers will be the ones to fill this digital skills gap and, in turn, deliver the mobile friendly customer service that we will come to expect in 2020. The birth of the internet saw the rise of many innovative companies, and the owners of those companies are currently some of the richest people in the world. However, this is the internet rebooted, the internet 2.0, and it is clear from customers’ behaviour that they are expecting something new.
Predicting what the next generation of customers want is always tricky, but it’s a rare thing when there is such a gap between what customers want and what businesses are delivering. For many though, this gap is a great opportunity. There are customers to be served, and money to be made, for those startups who are savvy enough to make the most out of the mobile internet experience. The rise in popularity of startup-made apps is a clear sign of what is already beginning to happen. There will be many more revolutionary ideas to come in the future before this gap in the mobile internet market, left by slow multinationals, is truly filled.
Richard Jackson is a writer and the founder of Watch My Competitor. As well as producing technology journalism, Richard’s company provides business intelligence software which allows people to automatically track the web activity of their business rivals.