Several years ago, the idea of customer engagement was much simpler. Merchants could interact with customers in-store or could send them marketing materials via post and email. Now it’s difficult to say for sure whether there’s even such a thing as a traditional touchpoint anymore. Because ‘everywhere’ is a potential touchpoint.

Brand-customer interactions can now happen all the time. While the customer is on the train on their way to work, while they are waiting in line for a coffee, or while they lie in bed before they go to sleep. The smartphone has forever altered customer engagement.

The new normal

The complete normality of the smartphone is arguably the most impressive thing about its emergence in the last few years. It really hasn’t taken very long for people to evolve. Now they are totally used to carrying a device around with them that means they are constantly connected. The device is often the first thing people see in the morning and the last thing people see at night. It knows our schedule. It knows our hobbies. It knows the products and services that we are interested in. The mobile now acts almost like a second brain.

And while millennials might be physically attached to their smartphone for longer than older generations, the device is a truly universal game changer. It’s altered almost everyone’s behavior.

Most brands now realize that they need to be visible on social media given that it’s a space where customers spend so much of their time. However not all of them have mastered customer engagement ‘in the moment’.

They really need to, however. The smartphone is increasingly the go to device for accessing social media. According to Ipsos MORI, in the UK more people currently connect to social networks using their smartphone than their PC/laptop. It’s been that way since the beginning of 2016.

Social media interactions key to customer engagement

Interacting with customers via social media is crucial for brands if they are to increase customer engagement in the long-run. But what data like that from Ipsos MORI tells us, is that the customer no longer needs to be in front of a computer to do so. Brands who truly understand this shift and begin to engage with their customers in a more fluid way will likely succeed. The near future will be one where providing customers with regular, useful information and showing an interest in them achieving their goals will become a normal expectation of brands.

Merchants therefore need to ensure that their online presence is mobile friendly. That it is as easy as it can be for consumers to interact with them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook while they are on the move. They also need to prepare to engage outside traditional working hours.

As the smartphone has changed the nature of brand-customer communications, so it is also changing the nature of loyalty programs. While some consumers have been able to ditch the loyalty cards that were bulking up their wallet in favor of loyalty apps on their smartphone, in the near future it is more likely that their mobile will become their wallet. For that reason we need to be thinking about loyalty strategies that exist in the Mobile Wallet.

Let’s future-proof loyalty programs

At Currency Alliance we believe that brands should always be looking to the future. That is one of the reasons why we created comcoin; a universal loyalty currency in the Mobile Wallet that customers can use everywhere. We are convinced that social media and the smartphone have increased customer expectations of brands, and those who don’t meet these rising expectations will likely get left behind.

The smartphone isn’t going away. Until you embrace the changes it has brought about, you won’t be able to engage with your customers as effectively as you need to.

If you would like to talk further, have any comments, or would like information about our universal loyalty currency, comcoin, please get in touch with us.