Today, more than ever, having an effective mobile strategy is key to effective customer communications. Mobile devices have become a way of life for consumers to get content, read mail and stay in touch with friends and acquaintances.

In fact, 50% of Internet traffic today is now performed on mobile devices, and 80% of this mobile Internet activity is performed using mobile apps.

These stats are remarkable given the relatively short life span of smartphones. Every one of our daily activities is converging to our smartphones, and pretty soon, almost everything will be accessible on your smartphone. Even wallets, physical credit cards and keys will be passé. Smartphones have already replaced, or are replacing, independent devices for listening to music, taking pictures, physical tickets to get on a train or plane and health monitoring equipment.

Keeping up with technological change is always a challenge, and supporting multiple platforms is complex and expensive. Not only is technology ever-changing and complex, but customers behave differently, with their own preferences for how they want to interact with companies they do business with: website, social media, apps and email being the big four.

Many firms think that they are all set because they have a superb web portal and a mobile app or two. However, these are the questions that management should be asking:

1. Is the web portal optimized for mobile viewing? What is the customer experience, and is it easy to navigate? How will it work when new devices are introduced (e.g., smart watches and Google Glass)?

2. Are mobile customers coming to the website in the numbers expected? How is the mobile experience when web browsing your site?

3. How much time are people spending on the website? Are they finding what they want? Are they staying and browsing or just going in and out to do one thing?

4. Are customers taking advantage of the portal for self-service?

5. Why do so many customers continue to choose paper and call the call center versus e-delivery and self-service options?

6. Does the mobile app appropriately support iOS and Android devices? How easy is it to keep up to date with all the changes/updates?

7. Does the mobile app bring together all of your social media and deliver relevant information on a personalized basis?

8. Does your e-delivery platform give customers the choices they are looking for? Has the level of paperless adoption plateaued, and what are you going to do differently to break through to the next level?

As part of the answer, companies are turning to mobile apps. Leaders are now looking at turnkey mobile engagement platforms that:
  • Can link up all content from across the different platforms and bring it together in one centralized location;
  • Monetize the app via location-based directories, as well as clickable banner advertisements to promote supporters;
  • Connect and engage with supporters on a time- and/or location-based manner and touch them via rich push messaging (i.e., video, map, interactive link, etc.), geo-fencing (messaging them when they cross a certain perimeter) and with iBeacons (low-energy Bluetooth transmitter allowing for indoor/close proximity messaging);
  • Allow customers to easily pay their bills and get the latest news conveniently and seamlessly from their mobile devices.
Mobile apps should be a component of any business’s communications strategy. While mobile apps may, or may not, lead to increased paper suppression, done right, they can make for a better customer experience and leverage investments already made in your website, social media and customer analytics.

Richard Rosen is the chief executive officer of The RH Rosen Group, a firm that provides solutions to help businesses improve processes and customer communications with the intent to create real, recurring benefits in: cost reduction, electronic payment, shipment tracking and printing/mailing. Contact him at or visit


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