As more people use multiple devices like a smartphone and tablet to carry out their activities, businesses need to adapt to new methods of engagement consumers increasingly expect, according to a new study from Forrester Research.
Based on a survey of approximately 61,000 adults, 90% of the respondents who own multiple connected devices said they use an average of three different device combinations to complete a task.
Additionally, 51% indicated that they use more than one device at the same time for activities that complement each other. An example of this is the “second-screen” phenomenon in which people exchange tweets or other messages with friends about a television show while watching it.
The report also looked at the various places where US adults access the Internet. Nearly half (47%) the respondents do so on a smartphone at least weekly; 68% do so in the car, 63% in a restaurant, 50% in the bathroom and 31% in a home office.
These types of behavior, wrote senior Forrester analyst Tony Costa in the report, are “resulting in new patterns of engagement that blur the boundaries between customer interactions. As a result, customer experience professionals face new challenges in ensuring interactions maintain a continuity of memory and experience throughout the customer’s journey.”
According to Costa, companies are responding to these changes in behavior in three ways. Some businesses, like OpenTable.com, enable people to complete the same tasks, such as searching for a restaurant, reading reviews and making a reservation, from multiple devices.
Another trend is “continuous interactions” that “migrate across touchpoints.” Netflix, for example, lets subscribers pause a movie or TV show on their smartphone and continue watching from another device, like a tablet. The third trend is offering features specifically tailored to each device. For example, users can look up recipes at Allrecipes.com, shop for ingredients on its app and use a tablet to display the recipes like a cookbook.
These trends can also be applied to marketing, in that brands should provide a seamless message across multiple devices while keeping track of the actions users take on each device and possibly tailoring the message to fit each device’s unique characteristics.
The requirements for providing a seamless experience across devices can be boiled down to two areas, according to Costa: continuity of memory and experience. To accomplish this, firms must systematically collect a broad range of customer data. “Start with the customer’s identity, profile and preferences,” Costa wrote. Costa also advised businesses to capture user activities including the state of content, e.g. the last page that a user was reading in a Kindle book, and preserve sessions and history to resume the experience.
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