The way we see the world
• The Cost of Showing Your Customers Digital Love
• The Cost of Keeping Your Loyal Customers Happy
• How to Cater to Your Loyal Customers
• Your Loyal Customers Expect Your Digital Love
In today’s consumer climate and with the rise of cyborg lifestyles, Apps rule.
Frankly, they’re sexy. Having a mobile app is like being with the hottest “Hottie” at the bar: your desirability automatically soars.
But is it always worth the effort?
HOW TO SHOW YOUR LOYAL CUSTOMERS TRUE (DIGITAL) LOVE
The most successful apps are:
• intuitive and easy to use.
• consistently serves great content users clamor for.
• contextually aware of the user’s needs.
That doesn’t come easily or inexpensively. But it is precisely why apps are the best way to deliver digital love.
What is digital love, you ask?
Well, I’ll start by telling you what it’s not: purely transactional. Sure, you can let your customers know about a flash sale and see a nice bump in revenue. The reality is that app notifications are currently engagement gold; cyborgs pay attention to and act on their notifications 12 to 14 times more than email, according to Emarsays.com. (Source: https://www.emarsys.com/en/resources/blog/key-takeaways-mau-2017)
But don’t overuse the opportunity on mundane messages such as coupons. Instead, focus on delighting them with useful, unique, relevant and timely information they can use to support their lifestyle. You’ll be (rightfully) seen as helpful, rather than intrusive and will enjoy higher retention and engagement rates.
DEVELOP YOUR APP FOR YOUR LOYAL CUSTOMER BASE
Based on my 10+ years of experience in mobile development, I believe that apps are best suited for companies who have a strong base of loyal customers who are absolutely in love with the brand (or who are on their way “down the aisle,” so to speak).
When a brand loyal customer is engaged through an app, they are more likely to share personal details about themselves to enhance their experience, such as their location or phone number. With improved knowledge of your customers, you gain more of their trust, and are able to serve them better. That will translate to continuing to earn their future business, and their ambassadorship.
Your most high value customers are expecting you to woo them with digital love. They want to be delighted, expect to be engaged with in meaningful ways and they desire to achieve their personal and professional goals using your products and services in a way that compliments they’re on the go lifestyle via your app.
But apps are a hungry (and fickle) content beast that needs to continually be fed. In order to count on your customer’s continued loyalty, you must be willing to make the appropriate investment of time, development, and (of course) money.
THE TRUE COST OF DELIVERING DIGITAL LOVE
Your company is already invested in the maintenance of your web 3.0 presence. But when considering designing, building, and maintaining an app, you must really plan for two apps: one for both the iOS and Android platforms. Those are separate line items in your budget.
If you want to out front, then plan to design, build and maintain content for the voice activated platforms Amazon Alexa and Google home. Adding two more line items to your digital love budget will have you deeply considering the ROI, but keep in mind your cyborg customers expect their favorite brands to be everywhere they are and on every device they own.
You must be committed to your mobile app as a long-term strategy. Once you have loyal customers tied into an app, you can’t suddenly take it away from them or let the user experience suffer because you don’t have the budget to continually invest in OS maintenance, better features, or more content. That will be a sure-fire way to lose their love.
If you are having trouble figuring out the best mobile strategy to pursue, talk to us at Cyborg Mobile. We are here to help you identify the best solutions for your unique customer set.
Cyborg Mobile Delivers Digital Learning Solution to Help School District Address Equity Gap in Student Achievement
Investing in Diversity Initiatives to Improve Equity in Education
A large public K-12 school district in the western U.S. realized they were experiencing a significant disparity in achievement between its white and non-white students. Academic achievement rates were far lower for Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders in English Language Arts and Mathematics. Meanwhile, the suspension rates relative to enrollment size were disproportionately higher for these groups.
To begin addressing the success gap, the school system invested in diversity training for its pedagogical staff. But they soon discovered that their beleaguered approach needed to be reimagined.
Ineffective Training Methods Required an Innovative Approach
The school district mandated professional development courses on diversity for all its teachers. The endeavor proved costly on a variety of fronts. First, there was a significant investment for the curriculum and trainers. Then, whenever teachers were required to be absent for their mandatory training, substitutes were necessary. It wasn’t helpful for students who were already underperforming to have inconsistencies in their daily instruction. Ultimately, with a limited amount of trainers available, it took a year to schedule all teachers to complete the course.
Additionally, the training didn’t reach every adult in the school’s ecosystem. Students don’t only interact with their teachers. Other school employees such as paraprofessionals, school administrative staff, cafeteria workers, security personnel and bus drivers interact with students throughout their day so they too were in need of the same diversity training
In response to the challenges, the school district formed a C-level office, EOG (Eliminate Opportunity Gaps), in its central administration with a dedicated budget committed to raising the achievement level of all students while addressing and eliminating the equity gap. The EOG office sought out a more innovative approach to the professional development training problem and selected Cyborg Mobile to help solve it.
A Digital Learning Platform Solves the Time, Location, and Reach Challenges
Cyborg Mobile began by directing a discovery phase to locate and align existing school district equity collateral with open source material. Using Agile methods, Cyborg Mobile corralled key personnel to meet and collaborate and as a result, was able to quickly identify the critical path and gain immediate traction in the project. Cyborg Mobile Principal Kobie Hatcher said, “The collaborative effort we used to get the job done was not the norm for the district. Everyone tends to work in silos there and the effort to innovate and build in a quick amount of time was new to them.”
In less than two months, Cyborg Mobile presented its findings to a cross-department steering committee, which received them enthusiastically. In response to the EOG’s delight with Cyborg Mobile’s fast pace, Program Manager Jennifer Rance said, “One of the biggest challenges that [Cyborg Mobile is] most effective at is moving very quickly to meet deliverables and produce results for the client.”
Fueled by the initial collaborative success, EOG then determined that they wanted a way to effectively distribute the content to thousands of school district employees, a much wider audience than it had ever dealt with previously. To meet the need, Cyborg Moble innovated a solution that resulted in a first-of-its-kind equity training application.
Designing an Engaging Learning Experience
The pilot program, named the EOG Digital Toolkit, is a fully mobile responsive web application designed by Cyborg Mobile. Now the training materials were easily accessible by each employee’s personal computer or mobile device at any time.
The training content was presented in short, easy to digest videos that were arranged into six modules which could be completed incrementally. The material is a blend of internal and open-source equity content covering six main areas:
- Awareness: Sharing statistics that reveal the true equity gap among district students, and EOG’s goals for reducing the gap.
- Caring: Revealing the findings from neuroscience of what it’s like to be cared for, along with tips and practical advice to create more positive relationships through caring.
- Trust: Showing how to gain trust by displaying curiosity in students and treating all students equally.
- Motivation: Bringing to light how raising expectations helps to raise the bar for students in the classroom.
- Beliefs: Unmasking some of the unfounded beliefs about what causes equity gaps in the nation’s school districts.
- Implicit Bias: Discussing the unconscious shortcuts in our brains that lead to quick judgments about race.
Each module contains practical tips on how to address these themes to create more equity balance throughout the school system, YouTube-standard videos that discuss important subject matters, and a section for users to write their thoughts on the issues in journal fashion.
Checkpoints were also built into the user experience (such as quizzes and on-screen prompts) to ensure optimal assimilation of the materials as participants progressed through the modules. Also built into the software interface is the ability to track who received the training so that future data correlation and feeder pattern tracking could be used to establish benchmarks and determine longterm success.
Measuring the Success of the Early Phase Roll Out
When addressing equality in education issues, it can realistically take several years to generate significant data which will allow the school system to truly determine how today’s initiatives have impacted on a large scale. But there are several ways in which the digital learning platform Cyborg Mobile created has already begun to prove successful in the short term.
The pilot program, named the EOG Digital Toolkit, was initially presented to a group of 32 educators and staff to explore and test by the end of the school year.
First, the teaching staff completed their training in just six weeks, rather than taking the entire school year. The platform eliminates the need for hiring instructors and substitute teachers. Better still, now the entire ecosystem of adult pedagogical and administrative staff have access to the training.
The trained staff have already begun to use their training to contribute to a more positive learning environment. One educator summed up many sentiments by saying, “I have always wanted to make a difference in regards to EOG. I have never really known what role I could take, but after seeing the toolkit, I feel like I literally have tools to start making a difference right now.”
Capitalizing on the success of the pilot and experiencing the early benefits of reaching a diverse audience, EOG ordered a full implementation of its new Toolkit. Cyborg Mobile delivered the full EOG Digital Toolkit in five weeks, prior to the start of the following school year.
Further Reaching Applications
- The toolkit Cyborg Mobile designed, developed and implemented was a first-of-its-kind in many aspects. It took traditional professional development and introduced it to an interactive, online, mobile responsive experience. It also made training more widely available and shortened training time frames while reducing the staff’s time away from their main work.
Cyborg Mobile’s ability to create digital content and learning management tools can be applied to support Diversity Inclusion Projects in other educational districts. Furthermore, this technology can support other types of training in corporate or non-profit environments, such as those that tackle Sexual Harassment or Gender Bias training.
Cyborg Mobile’s expertise is not only bringing the technology solution to the table but in helping the organization rally their resources and ensure that the goals they’ve set out are achieved in record time. We help entire ecosystems and communities to understand the same information and start using the same language.
“Alexa, what’s the news?”
“Alexa, dim the living room lights.”
“Alexa, ask Hoover Robot to start mission.”
Cyborgs have been dreaming about voice activated interactions with their technology since watching Captain Picard and the Star Trek: Next Generation crew access a plethora of information by simply starting off a sentence with “Computer…”
Amazon has delivered the hottest customer delight platform of the moment. Getting your news or controlling your home devices with a simple phrase while you stroll from room to room is the ultimate in convenience.
(Is it a little creepy that your technology is always listening to your conversations? Well, that’s a conversation for a different article!)
With Alexa running on 68% of smart speakers (according to data from Strategy Analytics), any brand that is looking to stay on trend will focus their efforts on developing Skills for the platform.
But a key question developers have is:
“Alexa, can I get paid for that?”
ALEXA’S VOICE COMMAND PLATFORM CURRENTLY LACKS A BUSINESS MODEL
Amazon has put its focus on creating a top notched experience for its users. Individual companies shoulder the cost of development and maintenance of the Skills while the content is free for users to consume.
But developers currently lack a viable way of recouping their investment in the platform. Amazon adjusted its policy to prevent advertising within Skills or on the skills home page, essentially shutting down a budding interactive ad network service from VoiceLabs back in June 2017.
Companies with a retail model currently have the possibility of profiting from its’ Alexa skill. For example, I can easily order a pie from one of my favorite spots, Jet City Pizza. But with only rudimentary analytics provided by Amazon, it can be challenging for them to accurately tally the percentage of orders that are coming through the platform or assess the total value of maintaining their Skill.
Amazon has tried to address the concern by beginning to give out cash rewards to top performing Skills but that leaves a lot of content creators uncompensated. Recently, Jeopardy! became the first Skill maker to receive access to create content for premium subscribers.
It’s hard to know when others will be given that opportunity, what revenue could potentially look like, or how consumers will respond to having to pay for more. Essentially, it will be a little while longer before developers can predict their income from this channel.
IS IT WORTH IT TO DEVELOP FOR THE ALEXA PLATFORM?
Without a clear path to calculating ROI, brands are right to closely examine whether or not to invest in developing Skills for Alexa, or other voice activated platforms such as Google Home, or Apple’s HomePod. Small and micro businesses in particular may see the opportunity as cost prohibitive for them to compete in this area.
But for companies looking to increase their market saturation with cyborg customers, it is important to be everywhere their audience is. Today’s consumers expect their favorite brands to be accessible to them everywhere they are and on every device they own.
Developing for this platform is best suited for companies for whom innovation is a core value. For those who thrive on creating customer delight and meeting consumer expectations before they even ask for it.
If you are considering your options for creating customer delight on web, mobile, trending, and emerging platforms, talk to us here at Cyborg Mobile. We are here to help you be everywhere your customers are in ways that benefits your bottom line.
When you hear the word “Cyborg,” does an image of self-aware, AI-learning machines starting World War III for our own good come to mind?
Don’t let it because the reality of cyborgs is actually much more benign. In fact, cyborgs have subtly become “the new normal” lifestyle.
According to cyborg anthropologists (yes, that’s really a thing! Check out this Ted Talk by Amber Case), cyborgs are simply humans enhanced with machine parts or technology. As we all know, these enhancements have permeated how we live and how we interact. And as a result, our user experiences and expectations have forever been altered.
Don’t believe me? Take this pop quiz:
- Do you feel uneasy when you’ve lost your phone, accidentally left it home, or the battery is dead for a few hours?
- Do you check your phone first thing in the morning or last thing at night before going to bed?
- Would you remember your appointments if you didn’t have reminders set on your mobile devices?
- Could you figure out an alternate route to work without using your phone’s GPS map service?
- Can you dial your best friend’s number from memory?
- Are you more active now that a device like your Fitbit or Apple watch is monitoring (and judging) you?
- Do you simultaneously record and experience special moments (like your child blowing out birthday cake candles or seeing your favorite artist perform at a live show) through your phone’s screen?
-John Blanding Boston Globe
If any one or more of those scenarios describes you, (and you know at least one does!), then just say it with me:
“I. Am. A. Cyborg.”
With the speed of technological advances since the mid 20th Century, the rise of the internet in the 1990’s, and the proliferation of smartphones and internet connected mobile devices within the last 10 years, we now live our daily lives through our technology. It doesn’t need to be surgically attached if you carry your machine parts with you all the time. This is the voluntary and consistent augmentation of yourself.
And its ok!
But just as you are now a cyborg in your everyday life, here’s something else to consider: the customers your business serves are cyborgs too.
How does that translate?
Well, just think of how technology has enhanced and changed your personal consumer behaviors (and expectations) in the last few years:
- Has online shopping with an in-store pick up become second nature to you?
- Do you expect your in-store experiences to be as easy as shopping online (from finding what you want, to checking out, to making a return)?
- Are you pleasantly surprised when you get useful recommendations for your next purchase based on items you’ve previously bought from your favorite stores?
- Have you gotten used to receiving email notifications from your car when it’s time for your next oil change?
- Does your pharmacy or Amazon.com remind you when it’s time to refill your frequent purchase?
Similarly, your cyborg customers have higher expectations. They are starting to expect that their favorite brands know them well. They expect you to remember their purchase history and seasonal preferences. They appreciate personalized recommendations tailored to their tastes.
As a business serving cyborgs, are you able to meet the demands of ever-evolving consumer behaviors and expectations? Your prospects and customers expect intimate, intuitive, and highly customized interactions with your business at every single touch point.
The cyborg customer’s digital experience must be seamless. Your customer service, marketing, branding, or sales prompts should never come across as exterior noise clambering for their attention; you’re almost guaranteed to be ignored.
Bottom line: if your business isn’t speaking cyborg and consistently delivering on the ever-changing user behavior expectations, then you are moving way too slow. Your business must assimilate and adjust to the realities of today’s behavior economics or risk annihilation; resistance is futile.
Are you having challenges with selecting or implementing the right technology that will help your company consistently execute pleasurable cyborg experiences? Then talk to us at Cyborg Mobile. We can help you build the products, services and infrastructure that will keep your business relevant in the future that is now.