The iPhone 4S has achieved some very impressive sales figures since it was released just a few short months ago and the phone comes with some great features that have made it an instant success. One of the selling points of any iPhone has got to be the number and variety of apps available for download, adding new features and capabilities to the phone.
Now, there is an increasing range of apps available for business use – and this includes apps that can help users with their customer relationship management. Over the past couple of years, mobile CRM has been becoming increasingly popular, with vendors such as Sage and Microsoft developing mobile platforms for people to make use of. Apps are also developing all the time, which means that the latest crop of CRM apps are definitely worth taking a look at.
The specific features of your chosen app are likely to differ depending on your vendor, but generally speaking, they allow you to undertake much of your CRM work while you’re on the move.
For example, you never know when you might need access to certain records while you’re on the move, and your app can act as a portal to get just what you’re looking for. You can also use it to make important CRM updates so you don’t have to wait until you get back to the office to do it, send emails (such as those emails that require the use of a template), get online updates and check out various reports.
This means you get a great range of access out of the office, something that is sure to be useful for sales staff in particular, as they spend a lot of time out on client visits yet still need information at their fingertips to ensure they can offer the best service possible.
Probably one of the biggest benefits of using an app for CRM is that it is portable. No longer are employees tied to a particular computer or location for inputting data and making use of the CRM system. It is now much easier to update on the go, as long as a good connection is available.
It also means that important records can be updated much faster than previously; rather than being able to update only in the office, sales staff and others who work away from the office a lot can now use the relevant app to update things as they go, meaning that everyone back at base also has the most up to date information to hand.
However, there are a couple of potential downsides to CRM apps. One is that no matter how great and useful they are, they will never be as comprehensive as the main CRM system, so what you are able to with them will be slightly limited.
Also, from the vendor’s point of view, the take-up of these apps has not been particularly quick. One of the reasons for this is that the employees who might be able to benefit from mobile CRM are not necessarily the same people to whom phones such as the iPhone 4S and various apps appeal. Also, even when upper managers do make use of this sort of technology, they can find that the technology of the smartphone rather than the app limits what they are able to do with it. Some people may not find using the touchscreen convenient, often for reasons as simple as they are not particularly suited to their fingers.
Where do we go from here?
Despite a couple of downsides, there is no doubting that mobile CRM is becoming more popular, largely because of its convenience. The increasing ability of smartphones means that the apps are able to more than ever before, so hopefully we can expect to see their capabilities continuing to improve.
Also, the range of mobile devices that are able to connect to the internet is always growing, with tablet computers just one example. This helps to broaden what mobile CRM can do and tablets in particular could potentially be very interesting, especially as they tend to have good working browsers that can be utilised by staff needing to update CRM systems on the move.
Overall, the growth of the CRM app is definitely something to be welcomed and it has added yet another dimension to how people can work, meaning that they are less tied to one location and able do much of their job from almost anywhere – a flexibility that definitely appeals in today’s increasingly global business world.