The use of smartphones has changed dramatically over the past decade: it’s gone from being merely a gadget to an increasingly used and important lifestyle and business tool. A report by Ofcom (the UK regulator for the communications services) referred to this change in our use of this technology as the ‘Smartphone obsession’. Ofcom’s Director of Market Intelligence, Ian Macrae, said: “Over the last decade, people’s lives have been transformed by the rise of the smartphone, together with better access to the internet and new services. “Whether it’s working flexibly, keeping up with current affairs or shopping online, we can do more on the move than ever before. “ The report found that 72% of adults say that their smartphone is their most important device for accessing the internet; 71% say they never turn off their phone; and 78% say they could not live without it. The amazing thing is that these figures still appear to be rising. So, most importantly for you, how can mobile phones and mobile apps support and help your business grow? We have six approaches for you to consider.
1. Access to tools and resources around the clock
In general, our demands and expectations towards finding information, and towards the length of time it should take to find it, have vastly increased. The information we need, should be readily available, and, buffering and tedious searching will often be cut short, so we can try something else. Generally, we’re always on the lookout for a better user experience. Apps provide you with the opportunity to compile your information and resources into one streamlined solution, which can be accessed whenever it is convenient for you – with no waiting time. Apps can provide solutions for all your downloadable resources, communication requests, client referrals, marketing incentives, video content, up-to-date news, software, secure content sharing, tax updates, tax calculators and so much more.
2. A new marketing and communications channel
An app can be an additional channel in your current marketing mix. Use it for targeted marketing, with geolocation tools which can filter customers according to where they are based. Your user can also set permissions and personalisations which tailor the app to be suitable to their preferred working methods. You can also send Push notifications to bespoke categories allowing only the most relevant alerts and reminders – for example, a deadline notification, an event RSVP, perhaps a special offer, or new content which is available in the app. Video content can be added to your app where your clients can access your most recent uploads with business advice, tutorials, and any other content you wish to include.
3. Gather consumer data
By fully utilising your app to streamline business processes, you can collect data on how your clients engage with the app. What content are they accessing, and how regularly do they use it? Which resources are most popular, and which resources are not used? You can then investigate what other services your clients require to get them more engaged with your service offering. Naturally, and in line with privacy regulations, this provides a directional view of your customer behaviour. In order to get more specific, you will then need to ask permission from your clients and to store their information securely, and in line with GDPR regulation.
4. A new contact and sharing solution
Today, there are plenty of quick options enabling your clients to get in touch with you, and any of them can be featured on your app. It just depends on what you would prefer. To name a few, you could take client referrals via an app module, through meeting requests, and even by video calling.
5. Optimising business workflows
Whether your business is a complex manufacturing process or whether it manages a sales pipeline, apps can provide a convenient and efficient way to optimise your business workflow. For example, consider your salesperson taking business cards, who later records your client information from them. Through an app, you could streamline this process, through an off-the-shelf CRM, or through a bespoke module which can take a photo and automatically scan the data into the system.
6. Improved user experience through Smartphone capabilities
When considering using or developing your own app for your business, consider how you can leverage the technology inherent in the smartphone device – whether that’s Bluetooth, GPS, face recognition, or voice recognition. A common example is to use your camera to interact with QR Codes. If you are a firm with stock management, this approach can be used so that you can quickly assess product details through a simple scan of the code. In addition, consider how you can use GPS tracking, for example, to indicate where your package is being delivered and the estimated time of arrival. Lastly, interactions don’t need to be limited to typing. With voice recognition, apps can take on more of an “assistant” role, which you can engage with through voice commands and instructions. In summary, whatever your business, there is an ever-growing need for the mobile workforce to have their office in their hand. Apps provide this capability, and, through bespoke development, your app can take on its own unique form and help accelerate and grow your business.
Lotuswise Chartered Accountants and Business Consultants can help you and your business succeed. To find out how, please contact us. To also get even more useful business and finance information and tax advice tips, check out our app on Google or Apple stores.