A recent study by ResearchNow, Connected Traveler: Mobile Satisfaction Report, details consumer response to some travel app pain, points that can be quite instructive for all marketers. (Note: downloading this whitepaper requires registration.)
Granted, there are unique challenges to the travel industry; however, when I looked at these results I noticed that all the significant issues violated best practices we talk about all the time.
First, it’s important to note that the study identified specific behaviors associated with mobile devices. For example, travelers tend to plan future trips using tablets but use their smartphones when on-the-go.
76% of those surveyed used smartphones to make travel arrangements when on the road.
What constitutes a bad mobile experience?
Although the specific percentages of dissatisfaction varied by device (tablet vs smartphone), there was remarkable overlap in the issues. In fact, the only difference was a longer list for smartphone users.
Here is the list in order of bad experience:
- Slow load time – research has shown consumers have little patience for sites that don’t load quickly; the window is a small one. My post, The Need for Mobile Speed, includes research about this: Consumers don’t like waiting in line, off line, and especially online. In the ecommerce world fractions of a second can cost you a sale.
- Search and selection options are too complicated – Many mobile experiences are simply website experiences on a mobile platform. When space and time are at a premium, simple and clear wins most every time.
- Poor navigation – Often poor navigation and complicated experiences are closely connected. If the content and experience aren’t tailored with a customer focus, the result can be confusing at best.
- Mobile experience isn’t connected to a loyalty program – Consumers expect a seamless experience across platforms; here is an important example where brands are making consumers do extra work.
- The site isn’t designed or optimized for mobile. While this was the lowest ranking percentage, it’s still an important factor.
What’s the impact of a poor mobile experience?
35% of those surveyed indicated they were less likely to use the travel brand again after a bad experience. Keep in mind, these are connected travelers, not just occasional travelers. These stats are consistent with other research; however, when evaluating apps alone, the cost of failure is much higher.
What’s the cure for a poor mobile experience?
First, create an experience that is customer focused and based on trust. Read The Importance of Trust in Social Business; in the current marketing landscape, helping customers is the most effective way to get them to buy your product or service.
A customer focused design is necessary to provide relevant content throughout the entire buying cycle. Helping customers is an excellent way to motivate them to tell others about their experience.
Hyper-connected and hyper-informed customers have high expectations, well beyond site loading times and simple navigation. Don’t get me wrong, these factors are most important; however they will only get you to the dance. To stay there, you’ll need engaged employees and colleagues.
If you haven’t covered the basics like site speed, check out your Google Analytics account. You can find helpful information there. The best way to check out navigation and load times is to experience it yourself. Find and purchase your product or service using mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
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