It’s perhaps not too surprising that growth of health and fitness app downloads was up 43% year-over-year in 2020, with more than 656 million downloads a month. And what the top ones have in common is telling about the types of experiences that consumers crave. Six out of 10 of the top health and fitness apps offer video workouts or video-guided exercises according to a recent Apptopia study reported in Forbes.
It’s easy to see why. Many types of workouts are an in-person sort of thing – with instruction, encouragement and the camaraderie of a class being central to the experiences.
Is your online customer engagement strategy truly working out problems, answering questions and providing solutions for your customers? Is your mobile experience able to provide the same sort of face-to-face guidance, instruction and encouragement that is offered in-person or in-store? Are you building long-term trust and loyalty by replicating the in-person experience online? Or, is there key functionality missing such that it fails to motivate your customers to get to the proverbial finish line?
You don’t need to be an Ironman to deliver outstanding ‘mobile’ customer experiences.
Keep your live engagement strategy fit and mobile
One thing is for sure – for your customers, mobile increasingly means being able to access your brand on a mobile phone. People are using their smartphone for more and more transactions. One study found that 59% of U.S. adults prefer to shop using their mobile phone, and our own data indicates that some 70% of live customer engagements take place on a mobile device.
But mobile can also mean virtually ‘transporting’ a customer from anywhere into your environment whether it’s a new car, furniture or luxury brand showroom. By equipping your agents to move around the space showing products and offering advice, they can replicate an in-person engagement online.
In thinking about how to keep your strategy fit, it’s important to consider how you want your customers to engage with your brand. And, allowing them to experience an immersive demonstration of your products or receive a truly consultative, concierge level of service can take your strategy to the next performance level.
Being mobile-ready requires the right equipment
Just as you can’t do a spin class without a bike, a sales agent won’t be able to deliver the best customer engagement without the right equipment.
Here’s one important point. Mobile-first solutions will enable businesses to deliver lots of different experiences for the customer regardless of the customer’s device. But what solution the agent is using and the device or devices they have can greatly expand what that agent can do and the customer experience he or she can deliver.
Equipment for customers. When the customer is engaging via a mobile phone, the sales agent on a desktop can optimize the customer’s experience by opening or closing a text chat session, moving the engagement to one or two-way video, changing the size of the video panel and moving it on the customer’s screen to give the customer the best view of the agent or to see the website as the agent drives cobrowsing. And, the agent can seamlessly move among multiple cameras to demonstrate product or highlight details providing a more immersive experience for the customer whether they’re at home, at the beach, or in a coffee shop.
Equipment for agents. Expanding the equipment sales agents use can further boost performance. With the desktop set-up and a mobile phone, the agent has ample functionality to progress a sales call by getting up and moving about a store. They simply switch smoothly from the desktop to the mobile camera. The mobile camera allows the agent to show customers products up close, and even change views and landscape orientation. The agent can easily two-way live video and text chat and perform basic functions. However, given the size of the screen, the agent won’t be able to co-browse and co-fill forms with the customer, or access additional customer data that will help close the sale without returning to the desktop environment. When the agent only has access to a mobile phone, the lack of real estate on the screen limits the full menu of live engagement experiences that agent can provide while he in ‘on the showroom floor’.
With more robust mobile equipment – such as a Surface tablet, iPad or Chromebook – and multiple cameras, a sales agent can deliver exceptional service without being wedded to a desk or desktop. The agent can walk a large furniture showroom with an online customer, move from sofa to coffee table to bedroom set showing fabric details, wood grains, and the detailed craftsmanship of each piece. Camera views can easily be switched from front to back, portrait to landscape and even to mounted cameras for a 360-degree view or product demonstration. The agent can take a photo of a product and immediately share it via file transfer. The sales agent can further guide the customer’s journey by cobrowsing the website and highlighting product specs or filling out forms together with the customer. The customer can share their screen if they choose to.
With more real estate afforded by the tablet, the agent can easily access customer engagement statistics – including browsing history during that session, how the customer reached the website, what type of device the customer is on and even notes other agents have taken from previous sessions with that customer, that are really helpful in converting that customer to purchase. With the right technology, an agent can even transfer the customer to another person to complete the sale or provide more information, without putting the customer on hold or making the customer start a new session. Or, the agent can add the customer’s friend into the call to help in the decision-making process.
With properly equipped sales agents that keeps them on their feet and moving, the customer experience becomes truly immersive and the agent experience becomes more engaging and streamlined.
Personalize the journey
Just as some people will need personalized fitness plans to meet their goals, certain mobile customer experiences will require customization as well. Building native mobile applications with an SDK can enable richer experiences for the customer beyond browser-based ones. Many industries – especially in financial services – are opting to build native mobile applications for live engagement. This includes a traditional application that the customer downloads, but also, for instance, building an app for a kiosk outside an elevator bank that offers live video chat capabilities. The best solutions offer functionality and support to extend these experiences.
The fitness app market is poised for continued growth, as this shift in how people workout is expected to gain a permanent foothold. A recent U.S. consumer survey from Gympass shows that 82.8% of Americans are willing to work out virtually post-pandemic. As such, these apps will continue to look for innovative ways to bring the best of in-person, online. Perhaps those beginning their fitness journeys likely won’t be able to swim a mile or bike 15 – but in time and given the right support, they’ll get there. In the same way, B2C businesses that work out how best to connect the in-store and online customer experiences will continue to build stronger loyalty in 2020 and beyond as they accommodate what very well may prove to be permanent shifts in these buying journeys as well.