Why have an app? 

Lots of people think they should have an app because it’s the latest thing and everyone’s doing it. But like anything in business, you should only do it if there’s a solid reason. We can think of six possible reasons you might really want or need one.

1. You have field staff who need to log their jobs

If you’re some sort of service company, like a cleaning business, a floor fitting firm or you have remote engineers, a key thing in your business is that you have staff going out to customer sites, and you need to schedule and log jobs.

Often companies like this struggle, because they have shared calendars that don’t work properly, they use group chats and text messages, and even paper job sheets.

Putting an app in place not only allows you to schedule work better, but it also allows people to see quickly what they have to do, and get sign-off and close those jobs down. That might include a customer signature, photos and a checklist. 

The great thing about this is that the data is uploaded in real time, you can see it instantly in the office and it can be reported on and give you management information so you can see what’s actually happening in your business.

2. You want to speed up your sales and quotation process

We’ve all been in the situation where we’ve had a salesman in our kitchen quoting for double glazing, heating or something. They’ve filled out a paper form in triplicate, used their calculator and got something wrong and had to check something with the office. Meanwhile you, the customer, has to sit and stare out of the window and wonder if you’re going to make the school run or that important conference call.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just open up a tablet, fill in a form really quickly, it would do all the calculations on the fly, and the quote is processed and can even be signed off right there and then on the device.

Then it’s already in the back office systems, ready to go and it just makes you as a business look so much slicker and the whole process is quicker.

If on the other hand you sit at your desk making quotes in Excel, and you have to copy and paste and it’s all a bit inaccurate and time-consuming because you have to remember which formula goes where, then we can put web apps in place that will help with that as well.

3. Coaches and consultants with a system

If you’d like to sell the system to clients and make it easier for them to implement it, an app can really help.

Most systems of this type have some sort of goal setting and tracking, some sort of to do list and also some kind of reflection. An app is in your clients’ hand and can remind them to do it and is easy to use when they have a few spare moments.

Not only is it a tool that you can sell to your clients (or include with their package) to allow you to help them better and for them to help themselves, but it’s also a ‘product for prospects’ which you can sell as a subscription service to people who are interested in what you do but aren’t yet ready to pay the full price.

Then, you’ll be top of their minds and they’ll be using your branded stuff every day so it’s a great way of raising brand awareness while also bringing in some revenue.

4. Niche manufacturers who want to have digital manuals and how-to guides

Paper manuals can be pretty horrible things – we all hate the manuals that come with our devices and often don’t read them and they languish in the bottom of a drawer.

If you’re making specialist equipment, clearly it’s important that your customers use it properly, and yet the kind of practical, hands on people who these are likely to be are probably not ones to sit down and read a paper manual.

You’re much more likely to get their engagement in an app on a phone, with pictures and video content that you can upload easily. Not only that but you can use the app to show latest updates, hints and tips.

5. You have small, repeat orders from the same customers

If your orders tend to be one-offs, then you’re probably better with a good shopping cart on your website, but if you sell a lot of small stuff that is basically repeat business to repeat customers, an app is going to speed up the process for everyone involved.

For example, if you run a cafe who does catering for local business, for meeting lunches or breakfasts, and you have an app where they can quickly order their sandwiches, vegan wraps, bacon rolls and croissants, that’s going to make it so easy for them to order and for you to fulfill those orders.

Another example would be a trades supplies business. If you supply consumables like glue, nails etc to tradesmen, again if they can re-order quickly from an app then the whole process will be easier and they are more likely to use you again and again, rather than popping in to whichever B&Q happens to be closest to their job.

6. You want a contact form that does a bit more

A lot of the time when people come to us, it turns out that all they really need is a contact form on their website with a good process behind it.

But, you can make a contact form that does a whole lot more because as well as collecting details it can install itself as an app on the customer’s desktop browser or phone. Then it can send notifications and reminders, tell you where a customer is and in general get them much more engaged with your business.

In summary

There are lots of reasons you might need an app, and these are just the ones we could come up with. If you think any of these scenarios apply to you, or they jog other ideas, please get in touch!