It’s bad: You’re in a traffic jam, running late, and you’ve got a customer with an appointment waiting for you in front of a locked shop. What did you do 15 years ago? Pound your fist on the wheel and sit back for a long morning. What do you do today? Reach for your cellphone and see if there’s an alternate route to get you out of the jam and save your morning. Mobile. It makes all the difference in your everyday life right? It’s the same for your customers. And if you don’t fully leverage mobile, it could be make-or-break for your business. Here’s why.

Customers have got the power, and they know it

According to the most recent data available, just shy of 70% of Americans have a cellphone in their pocket or purse, and 45% have a tablet. Another important number: Our time spent on mobile devices has increased a whopping 117% in the last two years. Basically, we’re glued to our mobile devices, and the world is our oyster. Have a sudden craving for a burger? Wondering which drugstores are still open in a sleepy town AND sell diapers? Need or whim—doesn’t matter— roaming customers have got something on the brain right now and the ability to satisfy that need or whim any hour of the night or day. Will your business answer the “call”?

Casual searchers will become your next customers (or not)

According to a recent survey, 3 out of 4 Americans make impulse buys – especially when they’re excited. Let’s say your prospective customer is considering putting blue streaks in her hair after seeing someone in a crowd who has them and is turning heads (our whim scenario). She finds the best reviewed salon for hair color (your salon) after a quick search. But it’s late and she’s got a long, busy day ahead. She might pin or bookmark your business — or make a note to call and book an appointment in the morning. But the reality is, she might lose her courage altogether and bag the idea. Imagine instead your salon has a mobile-friendly website with a “Book Now!” button. When you make it easy for your customers to act on their impulses and reach them while they’ve got that excitement running through their veins, your chances of turning a “window” shopper into a new customer shoots up.

You’ll turn new customers into repeat customers (or not)

Your new customer is now a satisfied customer with the blue streaks of her dreams. But you know that—like many new customers—she’s hopped around to your competitors’ businesses to test the waters. If she’s happy with her streaks, but she’s also happy with the last cut she got with your competition, who wins her repeat business? Most likely it’ll come down to convenience. What you can’t do anything about: the distance between your business and your customers’ home or office (once you’ve got a street address). What you can do something about: how fast and easy it is for your customers to grab a chair with their favorite stylist when a meeting gets cancelled and they find themselves with a free hour and change in the middle of the day.

You’ve seen how mobile has brought big improvements to your personal life and the lives of everyone around you. If you haven’t already, it’s time to bring those same improvements to your businesses. It’s critical to the success of your business, and it’s easier than you might think.