Several decades ago the introduction of the personal computer revolutionised the business world. A similar phenomenon is again taking place, this time with the smartphone. This innovative device is providing new ways in which business owners and managers can connect with customers, it also allows them to stay on top of daily operations wherever they happen to be.
Interaction from anywhere
Relatively few employees these days have the luxury of sitting at their office computers waiting for customer emails to arrive. Instead, pressures to reduce business costs has led to a great deal of multi-tasking, with employees responsible for multiple domains in the business. Thanks to the smartphone, however, customer emails can still be answered in a timely fashion while the user is not sitting at his or her desk. This is particularly useful for workers whose other responsibilities take them far from the home office. Most importantly, it means that customers will not turn to a competitor because they feel their query is being ignored.
Marketing on the move
In the new world of social network marketing, email is far from the only way businesses use the internet to connect with customers and promote their product lines. Instead, websites like Facebook and Twitter are becoming powerful vehicles for customer interaction. Companies using these services to help build their brand and listen to customers’ opinions, find smartphone integration highly advantageous.
Using specialised apps that quickly launch update and status screens, employees can reply to comments and questions left on social networking sites. These apps also facilitate updating the main feed, allowing employees a quick way to post notices that will be disseminated across friends’ groups that may contain hundreds or even thousands of current and potential customers. Smartphones allow users to keep up to date with social networking from any location, again breaking the traditional tether that once kept workers glued to their office computers.
Likewise, smartphones apps can also provide WordPress integration, allowing individuals to quickly and conveniently update blog postings on a number of different services. These can be useful for everything from keeping customers informed about new product lines, to spreading the word about special sales and promotions.
Using GPS for business
Smartphones also enable employees to make more efficient use of their time while on the road. Previously, delivery workers needed to rely on traditional maps or printouts from a map location service when they needed to find a new address. Both scenarios required advance planning and could provide the employee with out of date information, yet few businesses could afford to invest in expensive GPS devices designed for use in vehicles.
Many smartphones, however, include an embedded GPS functionality, allowing workers to access up-to-date geo-location information as needed. This is invaluable in many kinds of businesses. An estate agent, for example, can now receive a text message about a new listing while she is out of the office and instantly access information about the property’s location so that she can see it and form a first impression.
Types of smartphones
Several major manufacturers make the kinds of advanced smartphones that are most beneficial for business. Among these are the Apple iPhone, the BlackBerry from Research in Motion, and several other kinds of smartphones that run on Google’s popular Android platform. When choosing a smartphone for employee use, businesses will want to keep price in mind since they may be purchasing dozens of units at once. The best place to look for iPhone deals is online because internet retailers often have lower costs than traditional phone shops.
Article for Uswitch