Mobile Tech: A Blessing or a Curse for Your Sales Funnel

Though it took a while to get there, mobile technology usage has finally surpassed desktop usage. In the United States, mobile time is now significantly higher at 51%, compared to 42% on desktop. While people are still using the mobile web, a whopping 90% of time on mobile is spent in apps. In the past, providing a mobile experience for consumers was a nice bonus feature; now, it is completely necessary to provide the best possible customer experience.

 

You must focus on delivering a memorable experience across all stages of the funnel, while still remaining relevant during the rapid innovation of digital and mobile.

 

How Mobile Empowers the Consumer

 

Traditionally, we’ve used the sales funnel to illustrate a fairly linear progression from brand industry to purchase. Marketers focus on the awareness and interest stages to generate the leads that sales takes through the rest of the funnel.

 

Mobile technology completely changed that funnel – because it puts the power in the hands of the consumer. They can research and learn about your company and products before they even set foot in your store, pick up the phone to call you, or send an email… if they even decide to take those steps to contact you.

 

The ability to research and learn more on their own before making any kind of contact with your company means that customers are skipping stages, entering the funnel in the middle, and some are even going through the stages out of order.

 

The unpredictability of the customer journey can create chaos for you as a business. Thanks to reduced attention span, among other factors, customers are no longer following the traditional linear journey – meaning you have to work harder to ensure that no matter what touch points your customers use, they get the experience they want.

 

More Competition for You

 

Because of the way mobile has changed the customer funnel, your business has stiffer competition. Tech giants like Google and Apple are ultimately the ones setting high customer experience expectations, and continuously raising the bar. If your business doesn’t embrace the new customer funnel – either by ignoring it completely, or waiting too long to jump in, you’ll fail to meet customer expectations. Poor customer experience costs US retailers an estimated $62 billion a year. That’s up more than $20 million a year from 2013.

 

Sales teams have most certainly always had their work cut out for them, but as time goes on, they’ll have to work smarter to capture and maintain their market share. But that’s where it pays to join your customers in the mobile revolution. Using a mobile CRM lets you connect with customers no matter where you are – at home, the office, or on a coffee run. Take notes, update files, and more in the moment – giving you a better chance of connecting with the prospect and furthering your relationship.

 

Mobile is a Blessing and a Curse – But You Can Make it Work

 

Mobile technology is a bit of a curse, because it makes the sales funnel more complicated. You never know where customers will enter or exit the funnel, so you can’t focus on a singular customer journey. But, at the same time, because it puts the power to research and learn about your company in their hands, if you put the right information out there to educate your potential customers, you can shorten the time they spend in each stage, and focus on delivering a great customer experience.

 

While you’ll have to do more to impress your customers and always stay one step ahead of the competition, mobile technology is really only a curse if you don’t know how to make it work for you.

 

Data Security in a Mobile World: 5 Top Risks & How to Avoid Them

The use of mobile devices has increased so rapidly that businesses struggle to keep up with appropriate security measures. Small businesses often assume enterprises are the only businesses who get attacked and leave themselves vulnerable. The ways mobile data may be compromised are myriad. While you cannot achieve bulletproof protection, you can take simple measures to drastically reduce data security risk.

 

Here’s what you need to be aware of and some tips to help you avoid being compromised.
Man-In-The-Middle

Known also as MITM, this type of cyber attack is exactly what it sounds like. A malicious person jumps into the digital conversation between two people. More specifically, information is stolen from the data being sent between two devices. These attacks are especially easy to conduct when someone is using a public Wi-Fi hotspot. Using apps that lack encryption and have too much access to personal data also opens you up to this type of attack.

 

If you or your employees conduct business via mobile devices, you may fall prey to this risk. Consider using a Virtual Private Network while working away from your secure network. Banning the use of open Wi-Fi to access business information is another way to help prevent this type of attack.

 

Physical Loss

Mobile devices are small. They’re easy to misplace or drop. They’re easy to steal. Despite our best intentions, these things are bound to happen. One of the best ways to protect your business data from becoming compromised in these situations is to use the fingerprint lock on your homescreen. It is arguably the most secure way to prevent someone from accessing anything stored on your phone. If you have an Android device with a removable SD card for expanded storage, be aware that it’s possible for someone to take that out and recover data from it without unlocking your screen.

 

Malware

On the opposite end of the spectrum from high-profile data breaches are the accidental type that befall small businesses. One employee connects to the company network, opens an email attachment containing malware, then all the data accessible on your network becomes vulnerable to theft. You probably won’t even know it happened. Malware can slow your network down and precipitate identity theft.

 

You likely have antivirus software installed on your computer, but that’s not good enough if you have mobile devices connecting to your network. Endpoint Security — having virus protection on every device — will significantly mitigate this problem. Software as a Service (SaaS) endpoint security is a good option for protecting laptops, smartphones, and other mobile devices at all times. This enables off site administrators to be responsible for monitoring and devices which are off site to be protected.

 

Updates

You know it’s vital to keep your computer software up-to-date due to security patches, but not everyone understands the same is true for mobile devices. All the software on your device is constantly being tweaked and updated, often those updates include security patches to fix vulnerabilities that put your data at risk. If you don’t have apps set to update automatically, they may be old versions. Sometimes even mobile operating system updates aren’t immediately noticeable unless you look for them. Even if your device is set to update everything automatically, you may still miss updates if you aren’t connected to Wi-Fi or you get signed out of the Play Store or the App Store. Make it a habit to check for regular updates. You can even set reminders for your team in a shared calendar.

 

Employees

Many of the risks above come down to a lack of education or of diligence on the part of your employees. Losing a device, failing to lock it properly, using third-party apps, or opening questionable emails on company Wi-Fi are all pretty easily avoidable. Train employees in best practices for mobile data security. Make training a regular event, but keep it brief and simple. Give your employees clear instruction, making sure everyone is able to implement security practices. On your end, limit access to sensitive data to only those people who require access. Consider a company policy regarding data breaches caused by careless employees.

 

The risks to your data are always changing. Fortunately, with vigilance and regular employee training, you can keep your data safe.

Acting on Feedback: What To Do With All That Data

While you may have every intention of taking customer feedback and using it to shape how your business operates in the future, that’s a lot easier said than done. While customer surveys can give you data and feedback on every aspect of your business, from your products and sales process to your website and stores, the fact is, it is a ton of data, and sometimes it’s so overwhelming you don’t know what to do with it.

 

It’s a common issue. Brands want customer feedback, and then they’re unsure what to pay attention to or what action to take from there. Here, let’s look at some strategies for leveraging data the right way.

 

Start with the Best Survey Questions

The longer the survey, the more likely it is customers will grow impatient and abandon it without finishing. Boil your survey questions down to just those responses you want to determine how your brand is doing. If you genuinely have 20 questions to ask, consider breaking the survey down into several and focusing on one aspect (the online checkout process, for example) per survey. (Bonus: the shorter the survey, the higher the response rate you’ll see!)

 

Consider What You’re Trying to Glean

You likely already know what your business hotspots are. Maybe you have concerns about the service customers are receiving in your store, or you’ve had issues with shipping orders out in a timely manner. These are the areas where you want to put extra attention once you get feedback. Input from customers can help you figure out how to fix what you already knew was broken.

 

By focusing on identifying and fixing your weak areas, you can improve the overall customer experience. End result: you impress your happy customers and win over customers who aren’t already crazy about you.

 

Get Your NPS On

Your Net Promoter Score® is a simple tool designed to help you keep track of your overall customer satisfaction. It measures the number of Promoters your brand has — those who go out of their way to tell others how great you are — against Passives (indifferent to you) and Detractors (tell others that they had a bad experience with your brand).

 

Keeping track of your NPS over time will give you a sense of how your brand reputation changes. Ideally it would continue to rise, but if it declines, it’s time to take action.

 

Actually Pay Attention to Survey Analysis

When you conduct a survey, you get tons of rich data. It’s up to you to assess it and take action toward improvement. For any area where you see trends, such as long hold times on your customer service line, create an action item. For that example, you might decide to hire more customer service representatives to take the load off your existing staff and shorten hold times.

 

If you consider customer surveys as an opportunity to improve your business, kudos to you. Just remember to know what you’re measuring and be ready to make changes to bump up your NPS and overall customer satisfaction. You can always send out a new survey after you’ve made steps to improve a situation, and hopefully then you’ll get better results.