The numbers don’t lie. Today, mobile working is the new norm and more important to businesses than ever. 72 per cent of UK SMEs claim that they are ‘always’ working mobile, with YouGov estimating that they benefit to the tune of 9.4 million hours per year in terms of additional productivity. It’s not just SMEs though; larger organisations also have roaming sales and customer support teams and staff that travel frequently to visit branch and regional offices.
With increasing reliance on cloud and internet services mobile workers need good-quality data connections at all times in order to collaborate and communicate effectively. And it’s not just about data either; unanswered or missed voice calls lead to lost business opportunities and poor customer experience. Inbound sales leads over the phone have a 30 per cent to 50 per cent conversion rate. This is a huge increase over the estimated 2 per cent conversion rate for leads from websites.
Mobile communications can be unreliable. Anyone who has been on a train or car passing Birmingham knows that there’s a dead zone affecting many mobile networks as you skirt the city. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only place with ‘mobile notspots’. According to OFCOM, 21 per cent of the UK landmass lies within either a partial or total notspot for voice and data. Using WiFi on the train at least means that you can keep up to date with emails and messages. Receiving and making calls, however is often very frustrating; a five-minute call can save 25 emails on the same subject and cuts down on miscommunication.
How to be truly effective
Being truly effective when mobile is about a lot more than simply having a signal, or being available to customers. There are a host of intelligent call handling options that you can use to make sure colleagues, customers and prospects can keep in touch when you are out of office. Voicemail can form part of this but remember that up to three quarters of people choose not to leave a message at all. Being able to simply redirect a call to a colleague can dramatically improve responsiveness and avoid lost business.
Conference calling can be used to replace many face to face meetings and can be very cost-effective as well as being more efficient and environmentally friendly. Recording calls can also help avoid expensive mistakes and save time in writing up notes and minutes.
For some businesses, the ability to choose the number which is presented when making a call is also important. A mobile number on a business card may not give the right impression, a local, landline number will give a much better sense of professionalism, scale and stability. Lost and stolen phones are a frequent hazard. The cost of losing your device is often just the start. Being able to rapidly ‘pull’ all your calls to another line or number in these instances can save huge amounts of time and money, let alone the risk of losing data if your device cannot be ‘remote-wiped’.
With around 59 per cent of SMEs seeing mobile solutions as critical to the future of their business, many of these challenges are moving rapidly up the agenda, and there are a number of solutions that address each of the various challenges individually.
Andrew Fawcett is product manager of mobility at TeleWare.