The Future of Customer-Facing Apps
By Kevin Gardner
Today's customers depend on mobile apps in nearly all aspects of their lives. As such, employees are eager to use any technology that improves their productivity. A few years ago, mobile apps weren't fun as they're today. People would only use their smartphones for calculation and reading the latest headlines. However, the opening of the App Store skyrocketed mobile app downloads to 10 million. By June 2015, App Store had over 1.5 million apps in the store and 100 billion downloads. Over time, mobile apps have evolved from entertainment tools to work and life-relied tools. You can now use mobile apps to adjust thermostats, shop for clothes, send and deposit money, and maintain your calendars.
Employees have become dependent on mobile-powered devices that it's only natural for employers to roll out mobile apps to improve customer engagement. Enterprises across a myriad of industries have adopted mobile optimization and continue to devise ways to add value to their customer relationships. For example, airlines have developed apps that allow clients to download mobile boarding passes and pay for flights. Furthermore, restaurants are using mobile apps to alert customers when foods are ready.
Improved Customer Engagement
Research has revealed that average American adults check in their tablets or smartphones at least 46 times in a day. That means brands no longer wait for clients to look for them. Instead, they're using mobile apps to create opportunities to engage target audience directly.
Besides improved customer service and engagement, mobiles apps allow companies to generate higher revenue. For example, e-retailers may use mobile apps to give their customers discount. Moreover, stream-processing apps such as Apache Kafka let companies gather customer data such as shopping pattern and use those insights to deliver more customized discounts. For example, shoppers that didn't finalize their online transaction might receive 10% discount on their next purchase. Online marketers could also use smartphones and tablets to gain a competitive edge in proximity marketing. For example, you can use mobile apps to send coupons to customers as they come to shop in a mall. Digital retailers could also use beacons to give targeted coupons based on the products that a customer has bought. Such customer-focused mobile apps can take customer retention to a higher level. With Android and iOS-powered apps, it's easier to track rewards and encourage repeat purchases.
Simplified Shopping Experience
Shopping apps allow customers to save their billing and shipping records. That makes it easier to place orders from any location. In fact, customers can use mobile apps to search and compare different product categories. That increases the chances of buying the right product within the shortest time possible. Some e-retailers have gone ahead to develop apps that allow customers to place orders in advance.
Improved Internal Processes
It's time e-retailers reflect how customer-facing apps impact the efficiency of their internal operations. Equipped with a smartphone, an employee can interact with customers, attend meetings and monitor work progress from home, and enter field data from any location. In the past, companies would spend a lot of money to train employees how to use the technology. However, the increased use of mobile apps has made employees more comfortable to adopt-work related technology. That has paved the way for the development of apps that can automate mundane tasks. Mobile apps have resulted in increased efficiency. Employees who spend much of their time in the field can now use their tablets and smartphones to compose reports and upload location coordinates and photos in real time. Sales representatives no longer take notes that need to be recorded or transcribed later. Mobile apps also allow field technicians to fill forms from any location, further reducing human errors and time wastage. Tablets and smartphones can also improve team collaboration and communication. In fact, employees can participate in video conferencing meeting from home or share files with colleagues using mobile apps.