Ten Important Considerations For Mobile Business Apps

Posted on February 23, 2012

1. How can your application help your business be more efficient?

A mobile application can make people within your business work more efficiently. This can go from reducing duplicate date entry, to having location based information automatically populating a form.

There are other potential ways of helping your people work more efficiently too, via improving communication between them to having mobile digital tools available as they are doing their job.

2. How can your application help your business to help their customers?

Mobile applications can help customers with their workflow. If you are in a B2B situation,   How can you make it easier for a customer to choose and buy your products? What does a customer need to do to know which of your products will be right for them?

For example, when you want to buy paint, how much do you need? Can an application help you enter the dimensions of your walls to calculate the surface area that you want to paint and hence the number of cans? Tie that to your paint’s ability to cover walls and you’ve made it more likely the customer will opt for your product in the store.

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3. How can your application help customers to help themselves?

There are some processes in a business where customers acting on their own accord provides value for both the customer and the business. For example, this is clearly the case in travel where self-checkin reduces wait time for a customer and the need for checkin infrastructure for the business. Mobile devices have made self-checkin even more effective by allowing customers to checkin from anywhere and keep their boarding pass with them in electronic format.

In your business there may be many such opportunities where mobile can provide advantage; and the development of a mobile solution can quickly pay for itself.

4. How can your application help customers prepare an interaction with your business?

Taking the concept of customer self-service one step forward, if a customer is coming to meet a representative of your business, how can they use their mobile device to make that meeting more effective? For example, can they take photographs and place them in a template? Can they use an application to provide other important information? Can an application help them navigate to the right departments as they come and see you based upon their needs?

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5. How can your application help customers give enough information to let your business provide a better experience?

A customer that has received information prior to an interaction with your company may be much better prepared for that interaction; thus rendering it more agreeable. You could send them information on who they are meeting, where, how long any wait will be, and ask them to prepare by answering a few relevant questions. You could also let them know who else they my know will be there, and even where the nearest available parking or coffee shop is. If the service side of your business is in constant flux, then this kind of transparency can provide a great jump in customer service and competitive advantage.

6. Can your application provide mutually beneficial monetary value to business & customers?

One way of having a potential customer engage with you is offering them monetary advantage to do so. There are many ideas on how to do this, from location aware discounting, or social discounting or even game-based discounting. For example, you could have an app where customers are requested to scan bar codes of certain items or display stands in the shop, so you direct them to areas you want them to visit; and you give them a prize for doing so. You can also reward users for sharing your app via social networks; typically again by offering a free extended service.

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7. Does your application reflect the brand values of the business it represents?

It’s very important that an application reflects the brand values of the business it’s supporting; from the level of sophistication to the workflows that it supports. If you have an upmarket brand and want an application to support that brand, it must do so in terms of both the graphic design and the smoothness of the flow through the application. A great example of this is the Nespresso application.

Likewise, if you have a brand that represents fun and a cool lifestyle, having a staid application is not going to cut the mustard. You need something fun within the application, from a game or an immersive experience that reflects the brand’s values.

8. Do your customer service staff support your application?

Customers will come and talk to your frontline staff about their experience with your application. Will your staff say the right things, or will they dis-the-app? Of course, if the application is great, then your staff will love it too, but if they have not been trained about it or haven’t been party to the ‘big picture’ they may resent it. Worse, your new app may make them fear for their jobs. Hence communicating with your staff about the new application is primordial.

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9. Are your customer service staff supported by your application?

On the other hand, a well designed mobile application will support the work that your customer service staff perform and enhance the customer experience. When the human processes and the technology processes just work smoothly together, the whole quality of the experience is raised. Apple are working hard at this by allowing pre-purchasing and pick-up from their stores, really melding the app experience into the retail experience.

10. How does your application fit into your multichannel engagement framework?

Today a customer can approach a business in many different ways, from walking into a shop to going online, placing a phone call or using a mobile application. From the customer’s point of view, however they approach a business they should receive a consistent high quality experience. If one particular channel, for example mobile, has not been well integrated with the whole, then that channel will feel lousy and reduce the overall estimation of the experience when engaging with that business.

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These 10 different concepts have been written to help any one in business to begin to think about how a mobile application can help them make the most of mobile opportunities.  Digital Possibilities offers marketing solutions to help you find and prioritize the particular opportunities in your industry, sector and commercial circumstances.