Here, Phil Mottram, enterprise director at telecommunications company Vodafone UK, reveals three strategies for unlocking the business power of a smartphone, helping readers run their company from the palm of their hand.
According to research by StartUp Britain, as many as 80 new companies were set-up per hour last year, driven by passionate entrepreneurs from Bristol to Birmingham and Edinburgh to Exeter.
And from day one, they probably all share the feeling of needing to be everywhere at once. Juggling numerous tasks at a time – from scouting shared work spaces to meeting product designers and potential partners – to ensure neither a moment is wasted nor a customer call missed.
In fact, our recent survey of employee productivity in the UK found that 72 per cent of employees use their mobiles for work. Devices that enable this mobility are essential.
Smartphones have transformed the way we work. It’s no longer about spending hours sitting at a desk all day, especially with just 15 per cent of UK employees working from the office. Instead, it’s about being able to run your business successfully while on the go.
The capabilities of today’s mobile devices, and the array of amazing digital technology platforms and apps, have introduced exciting opportunities to create better customer experiences and boost productivity.
Without legacy processes and systems to contend with, for a business in its formative years there is an opportunity to capitalise on mobility, making sure your business stays nimble and ahead of the curve in adapting to change.
Here are three ways you can maximise the business power of the super computer in your pocket:
Increase your responsiveness to customers at the touch of a button
It is no secret that being able to meet the needs of customers can earn your business a reputation for good customer service. From product availability and delivery updates to being quick to respond to a request, if small businesses want to keep up with the big fish, they have to play by the same rules.
Some examples of adding value to your customer service via your smartphone can include:
- Sending additional photos of products before purchase or to show that a job has been completed
- Offering opt-in communication services that add value to your relationship. This might include personalised texts, updating customers on changes to a product or service, or promotional offers
- Using video capabilities to provide more immersive customer experiences, from tours of locations and venues to 360 views of new cars
- Being able to respond instantly to queries coming in from any of your customer facing channels, whether your website, your office landline or your social media platforms (e.g. Facebook and Twitter)
In the set-up phase it’s good to experiment with how your customers prefer to communicate and stay in touch. Start conversations and showcase the products or services that relate to them in a useful or more interactive and visually rich way.
Being highly responsive to customers inspires trust, makes them feel valued and can be the make-or-break factor for your business, especially if you’re entering a competitive space.
Run your business more efficiently, one click at a time
The rise and reach of apps has not only transformed customer communications but opened up new ways to support business admin. Here are some of my top picks for making your day-to-day tasks that little bit easier and more efficient:
Eliminate paper waste by using Evernote to take, organise and share notes
- As you start to build out your team, keep an eye on the company’s payroll with Gusto
- Have an announcement to make? LocalVox lets you publish anything from news to events online and across various social media channels, based on your audience
- Run out of business cards? Try Bump, an app that allows you to save virtual business cards and share your business details by “bumping” the other device
- Simplify your finances and ensure invoices are paid faster using Inuit Quickbooks. It also enables you to take photos of business receipts and automatically calculates potential tax reductions
- And for those roaming the country gathering new business, Tripit organises all of your travel arrangements into one place. Plus, real-time updates on flights and the weather are sent to your mobile as well as directions for getting to your meeting on time
With the multitude of helpful apps now available and the ability to easily move from one to the other, you can unlock new levels of productivity that will stand you and your business in good stead.
Give your business more flexibility
For businesses with a growing team, smartphones give you greater flexibility in the way your team works as you scale-up.
One of the biggest opportunities for supporting business expansion is enabling people to work from wherever they are. So, if you have a team that needs to be on the road while continuing to be responsive to customers, use unified communications to connect their smartphones to your office phones and applications – ensuring a customer call is never missed.
In today’s business world, it’s important to develop a company structure that is flexible and enables an agile workforce, with mobility its heart. By equipping staff with the right tools and the ability to access company and customer information easily, both in and out of the office, employees can stay better connected with each other and deliver better customer service. A win-win.
Ten years ago the concept of being able to do your job from home or a café just using your mobile was completely alien, but look at us now. By providing the right tech for the job and creating a strategy that champions flexibility, your growing business can reach new heights.
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