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The holiday shopping season traditionally is the time of year when most people give or get a new phone or tablet. So if your company has a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy, expect an influx of new devices in January. Or maybe your organization is looking at BlackBerry’s uncertainty or iOS 7’s debut as reasons to start the new year with a new platform.
Both changes are ideal opportunities to ensure that employee smartphones and tablets are stocked with apps that maximize productivity and responsiveness to customers. One place to start is by assessing apps that are linked to cloud-based services, which make it easy for employees to access and sync documents from a variety of devices: smartphones and tablets when they’re on the road, PCs in the office and laptops at home.
Cloud apps can benefit your bottom line by eliminating the productivity waste that occurs when employees need something but can’t get to it because, for example, it’s sitting on their office PC. If that something is customer-related, then cloud apps also can increase sales and customer satisfaction when they enable employees to respond faster than if they had to respond, “Let me get back to you.”
Another type of cloud app provides access to services, with similar productivity and responsiveness benefits. A prime example is enterprise-class VoIP services, where the app takes formerly office-bound PBX features such as presence, conferencing, extension dialing and call screening, and extends them to smartphones and tablets. Different mobile VoIP apps have different features, but here are a few common bottom-line benefits:
Suppose that your average employee salary is $50,000 and that they each spend 15 minutes per day listening and responding to voice mail. If the VoIP app cuts that to zero minutes, it’s a weekly savings of $30 per employee. If an organization has, say, 50 employees who spend most of their day outside of the office, that’s $78,000 of additional productivity per year.
Is zero minutes unrealistic? Not necessarily, even for employees who spend so much of their day on the phone that it’s inevitable that some calls will go to voice mail. If the VoIP app includes voice mail transcription, it eliminates the time spent dialing into voice mail, listening and taking notes. Instead, employees can skim the transcript and immediately act on it, whether that’s responding via email, SMS or with a call, or by doing whatever the caller asked, such as ordering a part.
Some VoIP services also provide the option of having several numbers associated with an app. For example, an architect could provide each major client with its own unique number. By making it easier for key customers to reach the right person right away, it also creates a sense of white-glove treatment.
Just as important, those savings aren’t outweighed by big cellular bills because the app can use Wi-Fi in the office. If the app supports seamless, automatic call handoffs between Wi-Fi and cellular, then there’s additional savings when, for example, an employee who started a call while driving continues it after entering the office. A VoIP app can minimize cellular bills, too. For example, instead of using cellular to make calls from a hotel room or airport lounge, employees can use the VoIP app over Wi-Fi.
There’s another reason why the end of the year is the ideal time to rethink your mobile strategy: budgets. By taking advantage of cloud-based apps for VoIP and other tasks now, SMBs can free up room in their 2014 budgets to develop new revenue-generating products and services.