In the early stages of their inception, mobile phones were seen as expensive devices reserved for business executives. To have one, you need to be a company hotshot to have a ‘work phone’ issued to you. It means your inputs are needed anywhere and anytime.
These days, however, mobile devices have become extremely important to everyone, whether part of the workforce or not. With a few clicks of a button, one can get the information they need, communicate with the rest of the world, and purchase several items.
There are over four billion mobile phone users in the world today, with some owning other portable devices, such as tablets and netbooks. It is no longer surprising why business organizations rely on mobile technology for several business processes. This has changed the way enterprises approach mobile phone use in workplace settings.
14 Ways to Optimize the Power Of Mobile Devices for Your Business
An affordably priced Android phone can do more than just send short messages or calls. With so many applications and software made for mobile use, there’s no shortage of things that you can do outside of your office desk. For this reason, a mobile device has become a viable workspaces extension, allowing employees and businesses to do the following activities that promote growth and productivity:
1. Launch an Online Store
Thanks to mobile technology and cloud-based applications, a business idea can easily become a reality with the use of a mobile phone. Drop shipping, for instance, can become an additional income source for entrepreneurs who want to start a retail business but cannot afford to spend for a stock inventory and a physical store.
Because there are so many things that businesses can do online—from launching an e-commerce store, to contacting suppliers and shippers, as well as accepting payments—there’s no need to have physical stocks and store, or purchase costly machines.
Business analytics and investment database CB Insights discovered that as of 2011, it only took startups to spend GBP£3,200 (USD$4,500) to open a small business. This is only about 1% of the amount needed to launch an enterprise 11 years earlier, which was pegged at GBP£3.3 million (USD$4.6 million).
Industry estimates further reveal that technology has drastically reduced the time it takes for businesses to go international. From more than three years up until 2008, the figure almost halved to only 22 months for ventures established in 2009 and later.
2. Use Mobile Devices to Facilitate Flawless Communication and Collaboration
There’s no shortage of useful mobile phone apps that you can use to reach out to your staff, whether in times of emergency, regular and scheduled meetings, or if some of your employees are on the field.
Using mobile devices with a teleconferencing-enabled application, your team can stay in touch to discuss important updates, emergencies, urgent issues, and how to move past these problems (or successes). When it comes to regular meetings, perhaps, the only valid reason for absence is a non-existent Internet connection.
Not all your staff may be in a good location to receive broadband from their provider. A signal booster may be needed to improve your mobile signal.
Timely communication isn’t the only added-value for these apps. Some types of business software allow the management to track a team member’s productivity and work progress, ensuring that the program goes as planned. If facing snags, a member can flag the issue(s) to the supervisor, who’s expected to provide useful insights or address the issue moving forward.
3. Improve Sales and Marketing Strategies
With various integrated platforms that work across all mobile devices, it is now easier to improve marketing and sales strategies both online and offline.
- Promote Search Rankings
Whether a newly-established business or an enterprise that wants to build a stronger brand, every business should tap the power of search engines to increase brand awareness and strengthen its reputation.
Industry estimates suggest that more than 80% of the buyers turn to search engines to ask about a specific pain point and look for products that could address their issues. Simply put, the majority of the purchasing process starts with an online search—which, most often, is done via the use of mobile devices. Hence, in order to increase your brand’s online visibility, make sure your mobile site loads quickly and that you employ search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to attract web traffic and increase sales.
- Online Marketing
E-commerce and social media platforms all come in mobile-friendly versions. Thus, wherever you may be, you can check your website for performance and assess what makes other websites tick.
Study your competitors’ methods and compare them with your own to see whether your campaign is on the right track or if you need to tweak some methods. Study whether you need to employ paid online advertising, such as pay-per-click (PPC). Assess whether your site is user-friendly by using your own mobile device to navigate through it.
- Cold Calling Isn’t Dead
If you’ve been a victim of unwanted calls, you know how irritating they can be. With apps such as Drop Cowboy, however, you won’t have to wait for your potential clients to pick up the phone before being able to reach out to them. All you have to do is to record a voicemail message or SMS marketing messages and send them to your client list for a streamlined service.
- Reach Out To Your Market And Partners Better
Save on printing costs and the environment by reducing hard copies of your brochures, flyers, and product catalogs. When a customer has specific questions about your services and rates, you can reply through a chatbot or send an image of your sales and product information materials via email.
Mobile employees and remote workers who need to get in touch with clients, the different office units, suppliers, and other partners should go and have an app like Progressive Dialer installed on a mobile device. This app is compatible with all mobile devices and, thus, can be used while on the go.
- Using Your Tablet for Client Presentations
Time is money when it comes to business. This means you need to seize every opportunity to drive sales. For instance, if you need to conduct an impromptu sales presentation, you can just plug in your tablet to a power supply and show them to your clients as you discuss the benefits of your products and services. A bigger audience may require you to link your tablet to the projector.
4. Enhance Customer Service
Customer service is an important business component. While attracting new customers is essential to increase sales, so is retaining current ones. Client acquisition costs five times more than customer retention. Additionally, hiking the latter by 5% also increases business profits by as much as 95%, per research done by global management consulting firm Bain & Company.
Either way, customer service should be a priority for all types of business, and your mobile devices can help you achieve this goal through the following practices:
- Streamlining Repair Processes
Mobile phone cameras can be used to take photos of problematic issues and cut through all the bureaucracy involved in repairing specific home appliances and fixtures. Service contractors only need to snap a photo of the spare parts in need of replacement. This photo can then be sent to the team in charge of inventory or purchasing to either find out if it is available in the office or needs to be bought locally. This means the problem will be addressed as soon as possible, leading to happy customers.
When selling products, a high-resolution camera phone can take nice photos of the items. This helps attract more potential buyers.
- Tracking Packages
Courier companies offer tracking services on their website. All you have to do is prepare the package number or code and input it when you’re asked to.
This comes in handy when your customer asks for assistance in finding out the package’s expected delivery date. Because you can do this with your mobile device, you don’t need to keep the customer waiting before providing a shipping update.
- Using QR Codes To Provide Product Information
As part of the barcode family, a QR code is a machine-readable label that contains useful information about a specific product. Apart from a QR scanner, mobile devices can be used to get the information you or your customers need.
Businesses can also use QR codes to print marketing documents and other informative materials or redirect your audience to your website.
5. Access Business Documents Anytime, Anywhere
These days, document management apps can be downloaded on mobile devices with ease. Once you have any of these apps, you’ll have access to business documents wherever you may be.
Apart from viewing files, some apps have additional features, such as search, edit, print, share, and send functionalities. In some cases, you can even use your mobile device to directly print the document. Still, others have embedded data protection features. This feature allows your mobile employees and in-office staff to share and collaborate to make necessary amendments to documents, such as proposals, quotations, and contracts, as soon as possible. Your staff can also access the inventory files to check whether stocks are available before asking a colleague to file a purchase request.
With this feature available on all mobile devices, some documents no longer need to be printed, signed, and sent back, causing unnecessary delays in business processes.
6. Make Remote Work Easier
The new normal has required businesses to make remote work arrangements more prevalent. However, this shift to a virtual office is nothing new. In fact, this non-traditional work situation has been around for several years. Prior to the pandemic, offsite workplaces were thought to have increased by as much as 91% over the last decade, according to a survey by Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs.
A remote workforce brings a host of benefits for a business. Rental costs, electricity bills, among other business expenses, are expected to drop while increasing overall business productivity.
For seamless virtual operations, mobile devices and a strong Internet connection are must-haves, so are work-related apps, such as a few that were mentioned earlier: document management, time-keeping, and project management.
7. Provide Work Flexibility To Employees
Employees these days prefer the flexibility of working from home or working anytime and anywhere. Various researches show that there are various contributors to employee satisfaction. Opportunities for career growth and promotion, job security, adequate pay, and close relations with colleagues and bosses, as well as work flexibility, are elements often mentioned.
If you’re a business looking to retain your top talents, consider providing the benefits earlier mentioned. Work-life balance has become more essential these days as workplace stress levels among employees reached 83% in 2019.
8. Access Data and Business Analytics
Business analytics software can be installed on your phone to check the overall health of your enterprise. Business analytics can either be descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, or prescriptive in nature.
Depending on the features of the app you downloaded or subscribed to, as a business executive, you’d be able to see which department is the most and least productive and which business units can be streamlined.
In addition, businesses can have an overall view of mobile device use among their employees to determine if the current mobile software or apps are adequate or need to be replaced with a better mobile app. Auditing mobile device and platform use can also help enterprises determine potential security threats and opportunities for cost-saving practices.
How About Mobile Data Security?
Cyber hacking is a prevalent issue globally, and there’s not a day that passes by without at least a few thousand attempts happening. In fact, Web Arx Security has revealed that at least 300,000 websites are hacked daily.
Big companies have often been targeted as they can spend thousands, if not millions of dollars, in costly settlements. For instance, a ride-sharing mobile app fell victim to a data breach in 2016, forcing the company to spend USD$148 million in investigation and settlements.
For these reasons and more, business data protection and security should equally be given priority as soon as the use of mobile devices for work is allowed.
The following measures should strictly be implemented to protect and secure business information on your mobile device:
- Using a virtual private network (VPN)
- Avoiding public Wi-Fi use
- Mobile app or software updates
- Two or multi-factor authorization for each device
- Use of strong passwords
- Device encryption
- Antivirus application
Businesses should also have a well-thought-out file access system for an added layer of security.
Mobile devices have become essential business tools, especially with the evolving and more flexible work arrangements. Businesses and individual employees should all be aware of how to optimize mobile device functionalities to keep them going, as well as drive sales and promote business growth, all while keeping data safe and reducing costs.