Technology has changed how businesses operate, even within the past decade. With the advance of technology has come mobility, and increased collaboration – with both clients and other businesses. Let’s look at these advances, and how your business, whether selling a product or a service, can take advantage of these concepts.
With mobility came something every client craves: convenience. Mobility often presents in an array of smartphones and apps. Mobile banking apps, for example, allow for managing your finances on the go.
You no longer have to visit an ATM to deposit a check, stand in line, make idle chatter with others in the queue, or fill out a deposit slip. This garners good will with clients, making banking convenient. We’ll come back to apps in a moment.
For retailers especially, mobile point-of-sale machines have added freedom of movement. No longer tethered to a register, as a retailer, you can walk around the store, showing off items, and make an immediate sale.
Own a restaurant? Take your food to the streets and sell at a local sidewalk fair – or just sell samples in popular areas and direct customers to your brick-and-mortar location.
Apps, part of the aforementioned mobility, cater to employees, as well. For example, there are apps that help employees log mileage and then report the numbers to the IRS. These alleviate pressure from the HR and financial departments, while making a numbers game easier for your employees.
But what about at the client level? How, for instance, can you make event tickets more convenient for the end user of a ticket service? Have the ticket contain a selfie of the buyer, meaning you don’t need to pull out your ID to prove you are you.
It’s convenient for the buyer – convenience that will make them a repeat customer of this ticket service rather than another that doesn’t cater as well to the end user.
Your company can also create its own app. For example, if you want a custom app for managing an internal database of client information, look to programs such as Filemaker.
For service providers, you can offer your services or support straight through the app, like the mobile banking example above. For retailers, you can offer coupons or notify customers of sales, drawing them into stores.
Technology has made it easy to collaborate with employees, vendors, or contractors around the world. Meetings no longer need to be in person, but can instead be done over Skype or Google Hangouts.
You can video chat with your business partner in Japan so long as you both have an internet connection.Teleconferencing and telecommuting have greatly improved as internet technology has advanced, meaning it’s easy to retain remote employees while still keeping them productive.
There are apps (for computers) for tracking progress of these collaborations, such as Asana or Trello. Asana, for example, allows a manager to meter out subtasks to team members, who in turn check off individual pieces as they are done.
Saving files to the cloud means easy collaboration around the globe.So long as an employee has an internet connection, they can access the network drive. From there, they can download and work on a file.
A visual effects employee working late in Los Angeles can save a video file to the server, and the sound effects lead in London can begin work as soon as the file uploads to the server and downloads to their computer.
Again, this boils down to convenience. It’s convenient for remote employees, and even employees within the company can take advantage of the cloud for quickly sharing files.
Let’s look at a specific example of how technology and business collaboration intersect at the product level. Companies creating internet-connected products, known as the Internet of Things, are partnering with insurance companies to offer discounts.
For example, Liberty Mutual is pairing with Google’s Nest for a lower rate if Nest smoke detectors are installed in a home. Quite literally, technology is breeding collaboration between companies adding convenience to the customer’s life, and incentivizing customers to choose these products and companies.
With mobility and apps, clients and customers find doing business more convenient. And the more a business offers only adds to the convenience. This, in turn, draws consumers back in.
Collaboration with employees increases retention, as they feel their needs are better met, such as with being able to work remotely. Collaboration with other companies adds another level of convenience for the customer.