02/10/2014 11:33 BST | Updated 02/12/2014 05:59 GMT

Mobility: Making Customers Your First Priority

Mobile engagement is big business, with the market expected to top $32.4 billion in the next four years. This is largely in response to the fact that consumer expectations for always-on engagement are soaring. The result is that businesses are being run differently today - on mobiles.

And it's not just large enterprises: A recent survey of young entrepreneurs revealed that just over half consider their mobile to be a more important business tool than a desktop computer.

This trend for preferring mobiles to desktops is not due to mere convenience or novelty. Phones are growing in popularity as the "first screen" - an advertising term meaning the screen, which can also be a TV, desktop, tablet, or gaming console, in front of which consumers spend the most time. The significance of this for businesses is that, through smartphones, brands can speak directly to consumers across channels including social media, email marketing and apps. Similarly, consumers can engage directly with brands at any time of day and from any location, all through their smartphones.

It's no surprise, then, that the timeframe for excellent customer service is shrinking: in the last decade, it's reported that consumers waiting for responses from businesses have lowered their wait time tolerance from 10 days to just 10 minutes - that's a decrease of 99.93 percent!

Businesses simply can't afford to wait to respond to customer queries anymore. Anytime, anywhere, instant access and richer interactions with some brands have also fostered impatience across the board, as witnessed by the customer care streams on Twitter, jammed with customers thrilled by lightning-speed responses or appalled by slow ones.

In short, to delight customers you need to satisfy the new demands for rapid, anytime interaction - and this means always-on capabilities, with the information you need available at your fingertips so you can monitor issues, spot trends and react accordingly in order to deliver on service right there and then.

This is where mobile comes in, and not just delivery via mobile channels, but the use of mobile as a business fundamental. Companies today need single-dashboard mobile functionality when it comes to managing clients, employees and projects.

Let's face it, you're probably going to need a larger screen for around 20 percent of tasks - drilling into customer data and in-depth analysis just isn't practical on smaller screens. But the other 80 percent can be done easily on the move - as long as you have the ability to view and quickly analyse multiple streams of mission-critical information and not lose momentum once you've stepped out of the office.

The issues, trends and situation changes that impact customer service can develop in minutes, so it's essential to have the ability to divide and conquer and react to opportunities when away from your desk.

Customer interaction has never been more important, and as it continues to drive business goals and ideals, there are still more opportunities to impress your customers and win brand advocates. But to take advantage of the opportunities, businesses have to make themselves available for lightning quick responses - and that business solution is likely sitting right in your pocket, right now.