Behavioural Insights from Mobile

Posted by Ross Coundon on May 7, 2013

It’s been a little while since I published a blog due to full-time customer commitments but now I’ve got a few moments spare I want to share my thoughts on establishing behavioural patterns from our use of mobile technology and how this might help savvy enterprises improve their level of service.

Are you reading this on a mobile device? The latest statistics suggest that you probably are. Our lives revolve more and more around our mobile devices. How we use our mobile devices reveals a staggering amount of information about us – our contacts, the websites we access, the social networks we participate in, the products and apps we buy, places we visit, the route we take to get there; the list goes on.

The digital footprints we leave behind as we live our mobile lives are highly valuable. In fact, very recently a television programme – Black Mirror extrapolated this for dark, dramatic effect ( if it’s still available). Dark character reconstructions aside, this information is highly valuable to marketeers who want us to buy their product. It has been said before that if the service you’re using is free then you’re the product, and this is particularly true of mobile applications. Many of the apps that are downloaded on to mobile devices or accessed via browsers are free to the end user. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare are all services that know your opinion, your location, your political leanings, what you do for a living and who your friends and business contacts are – manna from heaven for those that want you to part with your hard-earned.

Mobile network operators are also investing in technology that allows them to monetise the information they have regarding how their networks are used. As the owner of a website I can quickly determine, using Google Analytics or other similar service, how many hits or impressions my website has had. This gives me an idea of the popularity of my site and, with the addition of a click through from an email marketing campaign, can give me some data on where the visits are coming from. This relies upon me contacting perspective visitors to encourage them to look at my website, if I haven’t contacted you in the past and you’re visiting my website, I know very little about you.

If you have a mobile contract and you access my website using a mobile device over a 4G, 3G or 2G network then the network operator can tell me so much more information. I can learn your age, if you’re male or female, where you live, the cost of your contract and how long you’ve had it, how much data you use in a month. This in itself is useful data but the real value is in the behavioural insights that can be gleaned – which other websites do you visit, which media sites do you read – do you favour the Guardian or the Daily Mail, which videos do you watch on YouTube or Vimeo, and using Location Based Services, which mobile cells you are connected to when you use your phone. Of course, for data protection reasons this data is obfuscated, aggregated and blended so that it’s not possible to tell exactly who you are but this insight into customer behaviour is still highly valuable to those trying to sell their products because they can target their propositions much accurately. Look at this recent example for how mobile call data is helping to shape bus routes in Africa –

This focusses mainly on selling products to consumers but how is any of this of interest to enterprises with field services?
If you understand how your mobile workforce behaves then you stand a far better chance of being able to optimise the work in a way that will not only please your customers but keep your employees happy and engaged.

If I know factors about my employees such as

  • Where my workers are in real-time
  • At what times they tend to break for lunch
  • Which crews they’re most effective in
  • Their availability for overtime
  • Their first-time-fix rate
  • The NPS for work they complete
  • The accuracy of the data they collect in the field
  • Planned routes vs actual routes


I can begin to build rosters and schedules that optimise with these factors included. All of this information is made available through a combination of business intelligence and management information derived from the data collected by my mobile workforce management solution.

If your aim is truly world class service then, when choosing your mobile workforce management tool, it’s important to be confident that these factors can be built into your service plan.
As you can see, mobile technology unlocks interesting and powerful behavioural information. How and if we choose to make use of this information can be the difference between award winning service & increased sales and being left behind by those that do.