Rise in Mobile Commerce Fuels Demand for Omnichannel Service

Omnichannel support and communications are becoming essential for brands, as consumers’ increasing use of mobile devices to make purchases and access content fuels their demand to be able to connect with companies or customer service when and how they want.

However, brands lack the necessary expertise and infrastructure, and are turning to mobile network operators, or MNOs, to acquire omnichannel capabilities, suggests data gathered by the CMO Council.

The organization considered the survey responses of marketing leaders, along with interviews with senior marketers at various major companies, plus comments from a CMO roundtable at the Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona earlier this year, to reach its conclusions.

Brand Marketer Perspectives

Among the CMO Council’s findings:

  • Eighty-one percent of brand marketers surveyed said their business relied on global customer connectivity, secure digital communication, real-time customer interaction and multichannel content delivery.
  • Forty-nine percent of brand marketers believed communications service providers could play a leadership role in omnichannel transformation by identifying engagement best practices and providing brands with an optimized framework for engagement.

Brand marketers wanted intelligence and insights into their customers from communications providers:

  • Seventy-three percent sought behavioral insights;
  • Forty-three percent sought location-related insights;
  • Forty-two percent sought social and messaging patterns;
  • Forty-two percent sought demographic segmentation;
  • Forty-two percent sought transactional data; and
  • Twenty-eight percent wanted information on Web or mobile activities.

“Brands aren’t asking MNOs to even necessarily lead by example, although there are several brands that look to customer experience commitments at T-Mobile as a best practice,” observed Liz Miller, SVP of marketing at the CMO Council.

“The opportunity here is a partnership that empowers the brand to know far more about their customer, thanks to the data MNOs have readily accessible,” she told CRM Buyer.

On the Carrier Side

Sixty percent of telco marketers thought there was potential for telcos to provide an optimized framework for omnichannel engagement.

However, telcos might not be able to provide the support needed as yet, because they also are struggling to keep pace with the need to transform:

  • Forty-seven percent of telco marketers said their organizations were evolving, but more effort was needed;
  • Fifty percent felt they were failing to meet subscribers’ needs for on-demand, personalized engagements;
  • 50 percent said they were committed to an evolved experience but weren’t there yet; and
  • 35 percent said they had a long way to go.

Keen competition from new players and Web-driven startups using disruptive innovation has made it more difficult for telcos to meet subscribers’ new demands.

Need for Talent, Tech and Processes

Telco marketers blamed lack of talent, technology and processes, as well as inadequate support from senior management and executives.

Paradoxically, telco marketers felt brands were well ahead of them.

“The answer for both talent and technology starts in the same place,” the CMO Council’s Miller noted.

“Know what you need before you buy what you want,” she advised.

“Far too often we grab a new piece of technology and pray it’s the silver bullet that will magically transport us from today’s status quo to CX nirvana. Then, when it doesn’t work, we bring on high-priced talent,” Miller said.

Siloed by Design

“Most brands can’t do omnichannel because they’ve built teams that are siloed by design,” maintained Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

“They have the mobile folks, then they have the Web folks, then they create a digital team — and it all gets very confusing,” he told CRM Buyer. “Eighty-seven percent of omnichannel efforts fail because they lack the right governance and organizational strategy for success.”

MNO Partnership Issues

Most MNOs “have come from traditional telecom roots — not really the pinnacle of innovation or customer service,” observed Rebecca Wettemann, research VP at Nucleus Research.

It will “take a different type of leadership for MNOs to be innovative partners,” she told CRM Buyer.

The CMO Council has teamed with Open Roads to develop an actionable framework with a common model, an implementation road map, and best practices and processes for more effective and consistent omnichannel engagement.

Adherence will be “100 percent voluntary,” Miller said. “It’s a guide, not a mandate.”

Richard Adhikari

Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard.

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