MMW Op-Ed: Extend Your Showroom with the Mobile Home Screen

Extend Your Showroom with the Mobile Home ScreenThe following is a guest contributed post from Jon Jackson, CEO of Mobile Posse.

When a customer leaves the wireless store with their new smartphone in hand, that’s where the customer/carrier conversation typically ends in most cases. Communication from that point on is usually limited to direct mail bills, emailed bills, and perhaps the occasionally chat with customer service or support.

That shouldn’t be how it goes – carriers spend too many dollars and man-hours acquiring new customers to let their efforts not get the maximum benefit. By letting them walk out of the showroom door with a device and a plan – rarely, if ever, to be heard from again – is a misuse of much of that investment. (Let’s face it: the monthly bill is not the most effective vehicle for friendly communication). Carriers are missing out on myriad opportunities to add onto plans, offer additional accessories like car chargers or headsets, and inform subscribers of other promotions – offers that would typically be made in a store setting.

Carriers have a tremendous opportunity to extend their showroom to the mobile device they’ve just sold, and more importantly, to build a one-to-one relationship with their new customer.

Many carriers attempt to facilitate this type of relationship via their self-service app, their website, and through the occasional text or email. These channels work, to some extent but there are some problems with these methods: first, most users only go to the self-service app to pay their bills or quickly add on travel or text packages. Subscriber trips to the website are similarly purpose-driven. They’re looking to pay or fix something, not to browse and purchase.  Finally, the problem with texts and emails is that they’re often reactive rather than proactive, and often more about carrier news than customer needs.

The home screen and lock screen represents the best opportunity carriers have to reach consumers in a relevant, single-share-of-voice kind of way. The fact is, mobile users see their home screen/lock screen more often than anything else on their phone. It’s the place they check for notifications of missed calls, new email and texts. For most users, it’s how they check the time and the weather. For many, it’s become a real-life management dashboard. And yet, so few wireless carriers take advantage of their opportunity to reach their subscribers via this frequently viewed screen.

Carriers have access to unprecedented amounts of subscriber and handset data that can very effectively be put to use on the home screen. For example, a practical use-case might include an upsell: If a subscriber has left their home area, carriers can surface a message for a money-saving travel package. The call to action on such a message can drive the user to either call customer service or visit their self-service app to quickly add a package. Another example would be a user, who frequently exceeds their SMS limits each month, might receive a home screen offer for a better-fitting texting package. Similarly, carriers can offer new batteries or even handset upgrades at competitive prices at opportune times during the customer lifecycle.  Even messages as simple as: “thank you for your business,” sent to a customer on their anniversary date go a long way.  Messages like this not only benefit the carrier, they offer value to the subscriber and begin to build a relationship and helping to reduce churn. All subscribers will be happy to save money, and will appreciate an offer that is so relevant to their current needs.

Ultimately, home screen messaging can help carriers drive incremental business in ways that require minimal human resources and scale easily. By placing the offer on the most-viewed handset screen, carriers can reach their subscribers with rich, relevant messages. Calls to action, as mentioned, can include click-to-call, but can also drive users to mobile websites and self-services apps to keep costs down and profits up. With relevant, timely and helpful messages, the home screen will prove to be a profitable mobile extension to the showroom floor.