Research Highlights Key Factors for Mobile Service Success

Cardmobili, which operates a mobile loyalty program that enables consumers to put their retail loyalty cards on their phone, has released the latest results of an ongoing joint research programme, conducted in collaboration with the School of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP) in Portugal.

Over the past two years, the research project has focused on the physical and relational context of mobile service delivery, identifying several key determinants of the consumer service experience. The project’s findings to date highlight six important factors that contribute to the success of mobile service delivery. These are:

  • The ability to trial the service, via self-service tools
  • Accessibility
  • Convenience and portability
  • Ease of use
  • Security/privacy issues
  • Social environment

The research project, entitled Designing Mobile Service Experiences, is led by the School of Engineering’s Professor Lia Patrício,and also involves PhD student,Teresa Sarmento. It was initiated in 2009, with the aim of improving the understanding of customer mobile experiences, given the increasing usage of mobile technologies for service provision. Additionally, the ongoing objective is to translate this knowledge into a genuinely integrated design and technology process, helping to create successful mobile services in the future.

The methodology involved establishing a benchmark definition of what constitutes a good mobile loyalty service, and to identify typical user patterns and behaviour. This has involved extensive qualitative field research, involving a combination of semi-structured interviews and technology testing sessions, with both individuals and groups of consumers. 

“We have conducted a number of studies, using the Cardmobili service experience as the focus,” says Sarmento. “This enabled us to gauge a number of elements – including the overall mobile service experience, the interaction with the mobile application, and the context of the service usage, such as the user’s interaction with service personnel and other customers at the retail outlet.

“We surveyed and interviewed a wide cross-section of service users about their experiences with their loyalty programs, mobile phones and the Cardmobili service. The study results showed that while a good service interface is important, a more holistic perspective is also needed in order to enhance the overall service experience. This involves other factors, such as the service adoption process and using the service in a store. Besides accessibility, ease of use and security, all of which are traditional mobile interaction experience factors, we tracked the emergence of a number of other factors. These included service awareness for a smooth adoption process, and the social environment itself within which the service is used – in particular, how the store assistant and the other customers contribute to a good service experience.”

The research project has now moved into the next phase, with the team embarking on a 3-month quantitative study in southern Europe and the United States, using the Cardmobili service to assess how these experience factors influence satisfaction and loyalty with the service. The findings from this study will be analysed and announced later this year.

“From the outset, we knew that a good mobile application has to deliver on a number of levels – including, most importantly, the customer experience in terms of using a loyalty mobile service app in the retail environment,” explains Cardmobili CEO, Helena Leite. “Cardmobili’s original motives for sponsoring this research were twofold – firstly, we felt that there was a clear market need for good quality research data into the mobile service experience, which would be of benefit to the industry as a whole. We also wanted to establish a channel for a regular independent review process, as a platform for assessing the usability of the Cardmobili service through the various stages of its evolution.”