How many times have you checked your phone today? 25 times? 50? Do you even notice you’re doing it anymore? According to research from Tecmark, we check our phones an incredible 221 times a day.
The proliferation of mobile devices has transformed us into an app-driven society. Business apps, in particular, boomed in last year.
Businesses throughout the UK are embracing this – the average small businesses owner using 18 apps to run their company every single day. As this trend continues to rise, here are some top tips on how busiensses can use apps to enhance productivity and streamline processes
1. Overhauling customer interaction
The use of apps has totally overhauled business and customer interaction. Today’s customers want instant gratification – they expect concerns and errors to be addressed rapidly and sufficiently across multiple channels.
Twitter has completely transformed customer service processes. It allows SMEs to engage in real conversations with their customers no matter where they are in the world.
Meanwhile, apps such as Cases allow businesses to control and track all customer requests and interactions and there are several online dashboards available that can provide deep insights, enabling them to checkout conversations in-action, get information on clients in real-time and share company information and responses instantly.
2. Speeding up payment processes
Small business owners have arguably never worked harder but cash flow is still a major concern. There are now apps available that can improve payment processes by offering a unified view of a business’ finances.
Receipt Bank quickly extracts data from your receipts and invoices, reducing manual entry and Debtor Daddy a detailed list of what payments are due and when to enable you to stay on top of due or late payments.
Other apps can record billable hours as you work and generate invoices and reports based on this data. QuickBooks Online enables businesses to manage all their finances in one place, on the move, and integrates with many third party apps to make the process even easier. The upshot is that small business owners can spend less time balancing the books and more time focused on doing what they love – running their business.
3. Cost-effective marketing
In addition to improving cash flow, apps allow SMEs to embark on cost-effective marketing. Tools such as Hootsuite give instant and convenient access to all social media channels, as well as providing analytics to help increase following and traffic.
Other apps help you track and maintain relationships by unifying contact information, social media profiles of important connections and online conversations in one location.
WordPress enables users to write and edit blogs on the go and update their LinkedIn or Facebook profiles and pages using the apps to ensure they’re getting the right message out to clients at all times.
4. Enhancing productivity
There are thousands of productivity apps out there but the key for small businesses is to sift through and chose the rights ones for their business. For example, Evernote allows users to review, edit and share text on the move, while there are many action and project management apps that allow them to manage and prioritise tasks throughout the day.
There are also tools that help employees submit expenses on the road, get electronic signatures from clients on important documents and fill out work orders on the ground which can be sent immediately back to the office.
The last thing anyone who runs a businesses wants to do is waste precious time – use of these apps can open up a whole new world of efficiency and procedural improvements.
>See also: Mobile apps: A matter of life and death?
5. Aiding file storage and connections
It’s no secret that the flexibility to get work done at any time of day and from any location has become an essential part of modern working life. The rise of cloud-based tools and apps has made this possible, as businesses can store company files and share information with clients and colleagues through tools such as Dropbox.
VPN apps, such as Tunnel Bear, mean employees can connect to the office network from their tablet or phone no matter where you are, and can use apps to sync files between their tablet, desktop and phone, making sure they’re always working on the latest version of a document.
With technology continually changing the way we work, doing things the old way just isn’t an option for business owners determined to ensure they stay close to customers and grow their business in the face of increasingly stiff competition.
Sourced from Rich Preece, Intuit