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Companies are struggling to keep up with the optimisation challenges posed by growing smartphone usage, according to research published today.

Although most companies are increasing their investment in mobile channels, consumers are facing significant customer experience issues while brands adapt to a multi-device world.

The third annual Reducing Customer Struggle Report, published by Econsultancy in association with customer experience management (CEM) and customer behavior analysis solutions provider IBM Tealeaf, found that almost three-quarters (72%) of companies are planning to ramp up their mobile investment this year.

A similar proportion of respondents say that mobile is either 'critical' (32%) or 'important' (42%) to their business objectives, while the proportion of respondents who say that mobile accounts for more than 20% of their traffic has more than doubled in the last 12 months, from less than a fifth (17%) in 2012 to 41% this year.

However, while an increasing number of companies are starting to grasp the role of mobile in the overall customer journey, they’re also realising that optimising the user experience for mobile devices is not as simple as ‘flipping a switch’.

Two in five (40%) companies believe that delivering customer experiences is harder on mobile than the web. Just under a third (30%) of companies surveyed describe their understanding of the mobile user experience as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, compared to 44% for the overall online experience.

Geoff Galat, VP Marketing at IBM Tealeaf, said: "Most organisations do understand and recognise the importance of mobile channels but they don’t always get it right. This has to change. Now. In the next two years everything will become mobile and access to the internet via a mobile device will become the norm. Companies only have one chance with mobile and if they get it wrong, they risk losing out in an increasingly mobile world."

A positive finding from the research was that the proportion of organisations rating the quality of customer experience via mobile as ‘poor’ has almost halved in the last two years, from around half (46%) in 2011 to 26% this year.

Moreover, the proportion of those describing their understanding as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ has almost doubled in the last 12 months, from just under a fifth (18%) in 2012 to 30% this year.

Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director at Econsultancy, said: "When looking at how companies specifically rate their understanding of the mobile user experience for their customers, compared to the overall online experience, it is evident that the gap between the two has started to narrow. But this isn’t happening fast enough.

"Growing mobile traffic reflects the increased importance of mobile both as a transactional channel and as part of multichannel customer behaviour. Companies need to get on top of the mobile customer experience before they lose business to competitors."

Other mobile-related findings include:

-) According to company respondents, serious issues encountered by visitors to their websites include bad navigation / poor ‘findability’ (36%), screen-sizing issues (also 36%) and form-filling problems (26%).

-) In terms of mobile optimisation, around half of responding organisations indicated they use responsive design (client-side), while only a fifth (22%) use adaptive design (server-side).

-) More than half (55%) of companies surveyed indicated they have developed a mobile optimised site, with around two in five (44%) saying they developed an iPhone app and 33% having developed an Android phone app.

-) Only 14% of responding organisations have a dedicated mobile team. For just over a third (38%) of respondents, the ecommerce team is ultimately responsible for the mobile experience. Marketing (25%) is the department next most likely to be responsible for this.

Get this report:

The full Econsultancy / IBM Tealeaf Reducing Customer Struggle Report 2013 is available for Econsultancy subscribers to download here: http://econsultancy.com/reports/reducing-customer-struggle

Media contact:

Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director, Econsultancy
(e: linus.gregoriadis AT econsultancy.com T: +44 (0)207 269 1450)

About Econsultancy

Econsultancy helps clients achieve digital marketing and ecommerce excellence through access to intelligence and capabilities development resources. These include premium subscriptions, research, training and elearning, consulting and events. Founded in 1999 and with over 200,000 registered users worldwide, Econsultancy is a leading authority in its field. Every day, it enables clients to make better decisions, find the best suppliers, look smart in meetings and accelerate the growth of their organisations through digital.

Web: http://econsultancy.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/econsultancy

About IBM Tealeaf

IBM Tealeaf is a leading provider of digital customer experience management (CEM) and customer behavior analysis solutions. IBM Tealeaf CEM solutions extend IBM's quantitative web and digital analytic capabilities in Coremetrics and Unica solutions with qualitative analytics capabilities to record, replay and analyse a customer's digital interactions.

To find out more about IBM Tealeaf’s CEM solutions contact us on +44 (0) 845 87 20 120 (UK) or +1 415 495 8000 (US) or visit our website http://www.ibm.com/software/marketing-solutions/tealeaf/.

Published on: 9:41AM on 18th June 2013