Mobility Can Energize Your BusinessBy Faisal Hoque Print
Here are six ways to make sure you keep your head “in the clouds” and your business mobile for the future.
4. Connect with the three Cs.
Your potential clients, consumers and competitors have handheld devices. It’s obvious that you can reach new customers with a mobile presence, but did you think about how essential it is to be available to clients at all times? Without an immediate response, many will go elsewhere. Nobody is waiting for a voicemail in the digital age.
Mobility can help you scope out the competition. It’s essential to keep your customers close and your competitors closer. As with any enabling technology, mobile marketing and sales need to be properly managed. Get a lead on clients and stay ahead of rivals by making your mobile presence stronger and more accessible.
5. Consider customer service and satisfaction.
Nobody but your Great Aunt Edna wants to call a toll-free number to get a problem resolved. More and more people are using their smartphones to shop because it saves time. Those customers will never go back to your site if you don’t make reaching customer service as easy as placing an order.
Busy people like the convenience of paying bills, contacting a representative, making an appointment or doing anything they can do on a laptop or desktop right from their handheld device. And the demand for such services is growing rapidly.
6. Look to the cloud.
Going mobile means ditching that dinosaur hard-drive and other old-time technologies that bog you down. For starters, it saves money on start-up costs because there’s no software or hardware to buy.
Cloud solutions are typically subscription, pay-as-you-go services, so your immediate and ongoing costs are predictable and manageable. There are no more maintenance and support fees or expensive upgrades. They come free and automatically in the cloud.
In addition, you’ll be more productive. With your data in the cloud, you can access it anywhere you have a browser and an Internet connection. Web-based data also enables collaboration, with every team member able to access the same information from a handheld device. As your business grows, you can quickly add new users and collaborators.
Choosing a cloud provider may be the trickiest part, because the market is new, and there’s no proven long-term track record. Here are few things to consider:
· It’s essential to understand both the capabilities and the limitations of each provider, and to be sure it’s the best fit for your enterprise.
· Depending on your existing enabling technology platform(s), you may need more than one cloud provider to meet your growing needs.
· As with any strategic decision, examine the future potential of your provider and its likelihood of staying afloat in a burgeoning market.
· Perhaps most importantly, investigate the provider’s ability to recover from hardware, software and network problems by studying its performance history with a focus on outages.
· As with any legal document, examine the service-level agreement (SLA) to be sure you’re getting what you need to support your technology architecture over time.
· Finally, look into the person behind the platform and make sure it’s someone you want to do business with.
No business owner or entrepreneur should wait before creating a mobile presence and offering the same services from a smartphone as from a desktop or laptop. Tech-savvy businesses are sprouting up in every industry and from every corner of the world, and they know how to court the new generation of customers. Existing businesses that haven’t already made the leap need to act fast or get swept up in history.
Whether you’re reaching out to your own neighborhood or to the entire world, you need mobility to connect with your customers.
Faisal Hoque is founder, chairman and CEO at BTM Corporation, as well as the founder of research think-tank BTM Institute. His newest book is The Power of Convergence. © 2012 Faisal Hoque. Follow him on twitter @faisal_hoque.
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