Consumers have come to expect all businesses, institutions to have a mobile option

June 14, 2013
Mobile engagement has become an expectation for many consumers.

Customer loyalty and engagement are driven by a number of factors, ranging from quality of services to cost. However, access is another driving factor, as are the availability of several different payment options. For example, many people shy away from institutions that only accept cash because it's inconvenient to those who prefer to pay via debit or credit cards.

As technology comes to play a larger role in global commerce, it appears that consumers now expect every industry, ranging from financial institutions and retailers to restaurants and schools, to have mobile capabilities. 

A recent article in Retail Customer Experience discussed this trend, noting that mobile apps are increasingly playing a role in how consumers gain information about an entity, monitor their accounts, make payments and stay engaged.

Noah Glass, founder of OLO online/mobile ordering, told the news source that not only is mobile technology the fastest-growing type of innovation – with 60 percent of Americans now owning a smartphone – but that mobile devices are now the new consumer engagement platform. In terms of building a brand and engaging customers, Glass equated mobile technology with the 1990s business trend of needing to create a website.

"Brands know they need to have a mobile app now, but in order for a customer to download that app, you have to provide them with utility," Glass told the news source. "It has to be functional and useful."

Should private and parochial institutions develop mobile apps?
With more businesses and entities developing mobile applications, many schools are considering whether it may be necessary to keep pace and establish their own mobile apps.

Competition among private and parochial schools remains aggressive, particularly as enrollment rates are in jeopardy in many parts of the country. Developing mobile capabilities may enable parents to learn more about various institutions, gain a quick snapshot of costs and payment options and stay on top of new events and activities going on within the school.

Most importantly, however, is the payment option capability. 

Many schools already use smart payment software that enables parents to connect to their accounts to monitor balances, pay tuition bills and print receipts for tax purposes. Enabling parents to log-in to these accounts via a mobile device may not be too far into the future for many schools that want to extend more convenience and access to parents. 

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