Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Focus on a Premium Mobile User Experience

by Ray Greenan, Global Marketing Director, Symantec

If you step back and look at mobile carriers and what they offer, you will see that they are catering to both enterprises and consumers alike as consumers are bringing their own technology into the workplace. Mobile device users always want the latest and greatest – whether it is a 4G network, applications, more bandwidth, music, or mobile banking. Users want the best not only for their own personal use, but for business use as well. We want to be able to place orders like we do on our laptops, but with a handset and the ability to use the device at the cash register like we do our cash or credit cards. This is what I like to call retail with a twist.

With so many applications and features to make our lives easier by using our mobile devices, carriers can no longer say they have the best network, device or app – everybody has them. So what is left for the service provider to differentiate themselves from their competition? It is the user experience. Since the playing field has been leveled for mobile devices, the most important thing carriers can do is focus on the user experience to create loyalty and drive revenue. Providers know that you have choices, so they need to manage your experience in a positive way to prevent customer churn. Research has found that it takes a provider an average of two years to cross over into the line of profit with a new customer.

By driving revenue through extra services and going the extra mile for customers, they can shorten that line. According to Forrester research on mobile app design, it is important to know your customer personas, and take a walk in their shoes. The concerns of a busy business professional will differ from those of a 17-year-old music lover. When we as consumers feel we are getting value, options, worry-free connectivity, and the price is right, we tend to be more loyal because we feel we are being taken care of. It is what I like to call “the Nordstrom experience.”

The Nordstrom Experience

So you may be thinking, “What in the world is the Nordstrom experience?” Well, when you are in that premium department store, you know you will be treated well, the product quality is superior to anything else, and the store is bright and clean. You know if you have a problem it will be resolved quickly, and to your satisfaction. For this experience, you are willing to spend a premium because you know it will always meet your expectations. This is why communications service providers must drive to this type of model. When the playing field is level, making the user feel special and unique will help put you ahead of the competition.

Another way to help customers focus on quality is to eliminate their worry. We live in an always-connected world, so most of us have a device in our pocket or handbag just like we would a wallet or keys. The mobile device has taken on that exact same identity in our lives. When we are thinking about what we want in a device – good connection, no dropped calls, choice of apps, access to money payment services, location-based services, social media – we want it all at the press of a button. Users may want the experience to be simple, easy, and worry-free, and feel safe in knowing that their identity is safe. Users may also want messaging in a mobile world that allows them to check their bank account or health records with no privacy concerns – they don’t want to worry about someone getting their data when they hit a button on their phone.

Strategy Analytics in their March 2010 report indicate that at the end of 2009, almost 530 million users browsed the mobile web on their handset. They expect this number to rise to over one billion by 2015. When using a mobile device, we don’t want to have to think about if it is secure or not – if there is malware or a virus that can take down their whole system. We want to know that when we have a mobile device it always works –no virus, no problems. Just like when we get in our cars – when we turn the key, we don’t want to worry if it will start.    

Partnering With a Security Vendor

This is where service providers can partner with a security vendor that enables them to provide secure access to their customers’ devices and services. Consumers want their devices to be secure, but they don’t want to have to think about it – they want all of that taken care of behind the scenes. If customers want to make a call, send an email, or buy something online, they want to do so with security and privacy already handled. In addition, according to a Symantec mobile survey conducted earlier this year, end users don’t fully realize the potentially sensitive nature of the information stored on mobile devices such as your smartphone.

It is important for service providers to remember that security software specifically designed for smartphones can stop hackers and prevent cybercriminals from stealing information or spying on users when using public networks. It can also eliminate annoying text and multimedia spam messages, and detect and remove viruses and other mobile threats before they reach the user. It is also imperative that all software is up-to-date. Mobile devices need to be managed and monitored - this will protect the device from new variants of malware and viruses that threaten a company’s critical information by compromising employees’ mobile devices.
With the proper attention and focus service providers can stand out from the competition and give their customers what they need – a secure device that allows them to do what they want, all at the push of a button – always on, always available, and always secure.
About the Author

Ray Greenan, Global Marketing Director, Symantec Communications Service Providers, is responsible for strategy and implementation of Symantec marketing solutions designed to help Communication Service Providers transform their networks and businesses to deliver new applications and services to their customers in a secure and reliable way. 

Prior to his current position, Greenan spent 14 years at IBM where he held multiple positions including Marketing Program Director for the IBM Green Data Center group which focused on Green Technology and Sustainability for the Utility market and its customers. He also held the position of Power Marketing Program Director responsible for strategy and execution of marketing programs for the Greater China Region for IBM’s Power Architecture and IBM’s membership within Power.org.

 
Greenan was awarded a Masters in Business Administration in Management Information Systems from Manhattan College, where he also received his Bachelor of Arts in English. He has also earned certification from NJIT for Sustainable Design and Green Technology.
About Symantec


Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world. Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available at www.symantec.com.

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