Businesses need to consider key points before deploying mobile apps

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Says Gartner

Although businesses are quickly trying to get their mobile application strategies out to the market, many must learn to walk before they can run.

That’s the latest recommendation from Gartner, which has identified four major areas and 10 major mistakes that are causing mobile customer service failure.

Johan Jacobs, research director at Gartner, said: “The desire of many organisations to extend their customer service to the mobile platform market has led to the misconception that any good application can also make a good mobile application.

“IT leaders should not assume that, because all smartphones have browser and web access, their content is ready for mobile devices. They need to plan for content with products and services that are specifically suited to the mobile channel, or users will be left with an indifferent or poor experience.”

In a bid to help businesses succeed with their applications, Gartner has put together ten pointers and covered four areas, which it thinks businesses need to address when developing this sort of strategy.

When it came to the four areas it recommended businesses first look at demand, in terms of what their customers want and need and what habits they have. Secondly it outlined supply as being a key consideration.

It said here that innovation was “a major challenge, demanding that organisations go beyond “me too” mobile applications.”

This meant that developers had to consider what staff and skills would be needed to manage external partners, and what services and partners should be used.

The third area Gartner recommends looking at is control, in terms of who manages the strategy and how it is managed. It also said services to track the progress of the product should also be in place.

And finally it recommends looking at what risks and issues are raised by mobility as well as what could derail the strategy.

“If done well, mobile solutions can expand the channels of communication with customers, employees and business partners, and can result in better customer retention, increased sales, improved employee productivity, and more,” said Mr. Jacobs.

“Done poorly, mobile solutions can very easily destroy your customer service reputation.”

And the analyst house hasn’t stopped there with its advice, claiming to have identified 10 major mistakes that lead to the failure of an organisation’s mobile customer service.

These include: Violation of the “three-click/tap/press” rule. According to Gartner, applications must not use more than three key strokes to get to the required functionality. It said that each additional keystroke typically adds complexity and often stops the user from returning to the application.

Difficulty with ergonomics, especially text input, is also seen as a mistake, with Gartner claiming that just because a businesses’ web content fits onto a laptop browser screen, this does not mean it is suitable for a mobile device.

“Mobile content needs to be simplified and repurposed for each user device,” it added.

Not reusing learned behaviours, such as soft keys, navigation, is also a no no, with Gartner explaining that mobile applications need to pick up the user’s habits on the phone. For example, if “autocomplete” was switched off on the phone settings then businesses should ensure they don’t use that option in a mobile application.

And security could also pose a problem, with Gartner recommending that encryption and secure login should all be part of any mobile application architecture.

Other recommendations by the company also include, ensuring navigation on a web page work well with a mobile device, ensuring all texts and fonts are legible in both everyday light and sunlight and making sure the application doesn’t drain the battery through too much data.

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