Mobile Shifts Into Real-Time Gear

When I was 4 or 5 years old, I remember going to the bank with my Mom. She’d say, “hey, let’s go. I need to make a quick trip to the bank to deposit a check.” It was a big deal that the bank had a drive thru. We’d pull up in the car. My mom would manually roll down the window. A teller would speak to us. My mom would reach out and take the plastic tube. She’d drop in a few checks, put the tube back into the machine and it would be sucked back into the building. A couple minutes later, the pneumatics would work their magic, and money and a lollipop would appear. We’d drive back home. All in, maybe this trip took 20 minutes.

It took 20 minutes to deposit a check. My mom was thrilled – besides that she didn’t have to get out of her car, the bank was even open on Saturdays. I only missed one episode of Sesame Street. She was satisfied with this experience for probably two decades.

Fast forward 40 years. If it takes me more than 20 seconds to deposit a check, (And, yes, my 93 year old grandmother still sends me paper checks), I’m twitching … I’m staring at the app on my phone and wondering how the bank could get it so wrong. Just two years ago, I was fine with walking over to the bank and using the ATM.

Two things are changing. One, consumers expect to do things quickly. Two, their expectations of you – their bank, their store, their hotel – are shifting very, very quickly as the result of mobile.

Retailers, airlines, hotels, banks, restaurants, insurance providers, healthcare providers … all of you … your customers expect to engage with you in real time. They expect anywhere anytime access to content and services in their moment of need. Consumers expect you to understand their context. They don’t want to see options for buying new air tickets when they open your app at the airport to get their mobile boarding pass. They don’t want to see coupons for detergent if everything on their shopping list is for dinner tonight.

The time that you have to serve customers has been squeezed down. You have to prepare to serve or react in near real time. Are you ready?

I will be speaking more on the impact of mobile on your business operations and strategy at Forrester’s eBusiness Forum in Chicago on November 5, 2013. Hope to see you there. 

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