Getting on the Right Frequency with Personal Tech

It’s easy to overlook how profoundly smartphones and apps have changed our lives. For instance, on a recent international trip, I received notifications for gate assignments and saw when my bags were loaded onto the plane. I also had all my travel receipts and vouchers available at a glance in one place. All this information made the stressful logistics of travel a bit easier.

Likewise, receiving notifications and alerts for shopping, banking, messaging and more can help transform chaos into order. It can help a person avoid overdrafts, missed voicemails and overlooked deliveries. Combined with digital commerce and transactions — the ability to order a ride through Uber or Lyft or use mobile pay for a vending machine, parking meter or POS terminal — all of this can prove transformative for a business and its customers.

Yet, as airlines, entertainment venues, sports arenas and others adopt a variety of digital tools — that handle everything from purchasing and storing e-tickets to accommodating food and other concessions — there’s a need to think through the physical and digital loops in deeper and broader ways. It’s critical to identify specific value points, create new efficiencies and improve the quality of the experience for everyone.

What’s more, as both the frequency and intensity of information surges, the question becomes: How much is enough? What is the optimal amount of data and information to deliver to customers? Do you send a reminder — or two or three — about an upcoming concert or game? Do you send out notifications and alerts while a person is at the event? If so, what information should you send?

Tilt too far toward constant chatter and your messaging simply becomes noise — and it is ignored. Stay too quiet and you greatly reduce the value of the app or the service.

Clearly, there’s no cookie cutter approach — and every industry and business is different. Yet, there are a few basic rules. First, understand your customers and make your communications and transactions truly valuable. Second, let customers make their own decisions about how they use an app, what content they receive and what privacy level they desire. Third, never let technology get in the way of the actual experience. It should seamlessly enhance it. This means letting customers enjoy the moment — and be in the moment — by deciding just how much or how little technology they desire.

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