The Mobile Phone is Transforming the Customer Experience

By October 31, 2015 March 19th, 2019 Evolve Insights

As it appeared in the daily nation of September 22nd 2015

by Lucy Kiruthu intro

When I visited an electronics retail shop last week four out of the five ladies that were on the first counter were on their mobile phones. One was talking on the phone while the other three were either just scrolling through social media, photos or possibly just texting.  Is this how the mobile phone is transforming the customer experience? Is the mobile phone transforming the customer experience for the worse or for the better?  Could it be that the 3 ladies scrolling down their phones were actually transacting on the phone with their customers? Possibly not.

Several reports on the future of the customer experience have shown without doubt that people across the globe are increasingly becoming mobile. The mobile phone has transformed the customer experience in many ways. The debate on digitalization of customer experiences has been going on for years. It started first with computerization and today it focuses more on the mobile phone. A 2011 EY report titled “The digitization of everything” and a 2012 McKinsey report titled “Perspective on digital business” urged organizations not to be left behind but to adapt to changing consumer behaviour.  After lagging behind for example, Nakumatt recently got onto the “lipa na Mpesa” bandwagon.  Many others still remain behind in other basic aspects of the mobile customer experience such as sending an enquiry.

Many Smart Companies in Kenya especially those in the banking industry and off course those in Telecommunications were however early adopters.  I recall walking my sister who was visiting from the USA through our mobile enable banking with excitement because not often do we beat them in technology. A recent report by Altimeter-Group titled “The inevitability of Mobile-Only-Customer-Experience” states that the Mobile will become the standard for hosting the customer journey and thus prioritizing the mobile customer experience is essential to thrive in this new era. The Altimeter report further explains that “To win among mobile- and digital-first customers, organizations must focus on learning more about customer frustrations, expectations, and behaviours specific to mobile”. The report also explains four steps to creating mobile-first customer experience namely (1) Map the mobile customer journey (2) Re-Imagine a mobile experience (3) Measure and optimize and finally (4) Align everything & everyone. Has your organization already mapped the mobile customer journey?

The mobile phone will continue to transform the customer experience in many ways. Research firm Gartner recently reported that 89% of the marketers who intend to compete on customer experience will fail if they do not offer mobile-enabled interactions in real-time. My brother in law often says that if our grandmothers who passed away in the 1990 came back to life, the most fascinating thing would be the mobile phone. Many of us could not even imagine of a future with mobile transactions 10 years ago. Today, some smart companies are already thinking the future 10 years from now. One thing I am so sure about this future is that the use of mobile phones by frontline staff is certainly not one of the ways that the customers experience will evolve.

Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer and can be reached on or via twitter @kiruthulucy

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