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"The desire of many organisations to extend their customer service to the mobile platform market has led to the misconception that any good application can also make a good mobile application," said Johan Jacobs, research director at Gartner.

"Business leaders should not assume that, because all smartphones have browser and Web access, their content is ready for mobile devices. They need to plan for content with products and services that are specifically suited to the mobile channel, or users will be left with an indifferent or poor experience."

Gartner said organisations should develop a mobile application strategy that enables them to capitalize on the unique opportunities presented by mobile technology. There are four areas that need to be addressed when developing this strategy:

  • Demand. What do customers want, what does the business need, what devices and habits do customers have, and what will the competition do?
  • Supply. Innovation is a major challenge, demanding that organizations go beyond "me too" mobile applications. What staff and skills will be needed to manage external partners, and how will they be obtained? What services and partners should be used?
  • Control. Who owns and manages the strategy? How will the strategy be managed? What measurements will be used to track it?
  • Risks/issues. What risks and issues are raised by mobility? What could derail the strategy, what other factors will impact it?

"If done well, mobile solutions can expand the channels of communication with customers, employees and business partners, and can result in better customer retention, increased sales, improved employee productivity, and more," said Mr. Jacobs. "Done poorly, mobile solutions can very easily destroy your customer service reputation."

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