Fifty years from now, society will look back at how we use mobile phones today “and they will think we were crazy,” Uwe Hook told attendees at CO-OP Financial Services’ THINK 16 conference Wednesday in San Diego.
That’s because peoples’ attachment to these devices is reaching unhealthy levels. Hook, founder/principal of Gretchenfrage, cited a Google survey that revealed U.S. consumers check their phones an average of 180 times a day, and many sleep within arm’s reach of them.
“Mobile phones are the cigarettes of this century,” Hook said. “They’re very addictive” and they’re becoming a social liability.
“They’re hampering our ability to socialize,” he added. “People want to get away from mobile interactions and have real interactions.”
This has led to the rise of “mindfulness meeting places” where no phones are allowed or where there’s no Wi-Fi.
“It’s just like with cigarettes,” Hook said.
Still, consumers will remain entrenched in “mobile moments” for years to come, and “companies have to address these mobile moments now,” he said. “You need not only a mobile site, but content and a way to contact people when they want to connect with you. It’s not about advertising, but about what adds value to them.”
Eighty-two percent of consumers use their mobile devices to make product decisions, Hook said. This requires an understanding of the consumer decision journey.
“You can’t just sell,” he said. “Mobile products must be something people can engage with.”
Hook advised credit union leaders to focus on mobile moments by:
1. Providing “little snacks of information.”
Don’t burden consumers with too much information; a few sentences will suffice. “We now disqualify before we qualify because there’s so much data coming in,” Hook said. “People can’t deal with massive amounts of data.”
Purpose-driven information, however, strikes a chord with consumers. “With credit unions, it’s their people-helping-people philosophy,” he said. “People are looking for purpose, and they want to engage with purposeful brands. They'll pay more and endure mediocre technology for a purposeful company.”
2. Finding your path to purpose.
Communicate your purpose and make it part of your organizational DNA. “Your purpose is your brand,” Hook said. “You should communicate it to the world.”
3. Realizing we’re in an “expectation economy.”
As technology and consumer experiences improve, so do peoples’ expectations. As Uber changed how people use cabs and Netflix altered consumers’ viewing behavior, consumers’ service expectations have followed suit.
“We expect things to happen very quickly,” Hook said. “This is a real challenge for credit unions. Opening a new account might take a couple of hours, but people expect it to happen in minutes. Expectations are increasing every day.”
4. Getting ready for “conversational commerce.”
This will be the start of mobile devices being our personal robots—they’ll do what we tell them.
“We’ll see them as our personal assistants,” Hook said. “This will be much more powerful than anything social or your phone.”